This New Netflix Adventure Series Continues An Ancient Chinese Tradition
The New Legends Of Monkey, which premieres on Netflix on April 27, is a family-friendly live-action program that follows a god known as the Monkey King. Over the course of the first season, Monkey and Tripitaka will seek out seven sacred scrolls while fighting evil demons — but will The New Legends Of Monkey have a Season 2 to continue their quest?
So far, The New Legends Of Monkey has not been confirmed for a second season by Netflix, nor by ABC or TVNZ, the latter of which co-produce the show with Netflix and broadcast the episodes in Australia and New Zealand, respectively, per News.com.au. The piece also points out that The New Legends Of Monkey is actually just the latest story inspired by a classic Chinese novel Journey To The West, which itself was adapted into a popular Japanese television series called Monkey, which became a cult phenomenon amongst youth in Australia when Monkey made up a considerable portion of the nation’s after-school viewing. While fans eagerly await a renewal announcement for The New Legends Of Monkey, those who are coming to the series for the first time could get their fix of Monkey King content from other shows that pull inspiration from the same source.
Journey To The West retells the story of real Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who made a journey of his own from China to India in the 7th Century. In the 16th Century, Author Wu Cheng’en used that pilgrimage as the basis for his novel, gifting his fictional version of Xuanzang — re-named Tang Sanzang — with three mystical disciples. These disciples include half-man half-pig Zhu Bajie, the obedient and formerly celestial Shā Wùjìng, and Sun Wukong, The Monkey King.
If you’re looking for more Journey To The West-inspired stories, here are a few pieces of media that fans of The New Legends Of Monkey will want to check out.
Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons
This Chinese film based very loosely on Journey To The West is less of an adaptation and more of a re-imagining. Conquering The Demons, from Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle filmmaker Stephen Chow, takes the over-the-top comedy that the filmmaker is known for and applies it to the iconography of Journey To The West. While not an exact re-telling of the story, it’s an amusing and goofy way to become familiar with the characters that have inspired adaptations centuries after they were first introduced to the world.
Into The Badlands
Into The Badlands, currently in its third season on AMC, bring Journey To The West to American audiences through another loose retelling of the story. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the journey from China to India with Tang Sanzang and the Monkey King is transformed into a journey from the titular Badlands to a supposedly utopian city of Azra. If you’re not interested in reading subtitles to get your fill of Journey To The West adaptations, Into The Badlands will likely be your best bet.
If you’re looking for the most accurate recreation of Journey To The West, the novel Monkey is the best you can do without reading the original Chinese text. Monkey is a translation of Journey To The West, and is considered the best translation of the novel for English readers. Teaching organization Learners.org recommends the translation above all other translations, claiming it is a "superb abridgment of the very long original."
Whether you’re looking for comedy, action, or history, there’s likely a Journey To The West adaptation that has everything you’re looking for. And whether The New Legends Of Monkey returns for Season 2 or not, it probably won’t be the last take on this ancient tale.
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