Kung Fu: The Legend Continues

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Name: Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
Abbreviation(s): KF:TLC, KTFLC
Creator: Ed Speilman
Date(s): 1993 - 1997
Medium: television
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: wikipedia, IMDB, epguides, KF:TLC Online FAQ
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Contents

Canon overview

Kung Fu: The Legend Continues was a sequel (of sorts) to the 1970s series Kung Fu. The basic premise was that Kwai Chang Caine's grandson -- also called Kwai Chang Caine (and played by the same actor, who was now 20+ years older) -- also a Shaolin priest, had been raising his young son, Peter, in a Shaolin temple that was attacked and destroyed.

Each was told the other had died in the destruction, in an attempt to keep them safe from the evil men who'd attacked the temple. Peter was taken away by an older priest to be raised, but the priest died shortly after and he wound up in an orphanage, to be taken in as a foster son by a police captain and his family. Peter rejected his Shaolin past and became a hot-headed detective instead, serving in his foster-father's squad. Meanwhile, Caine had been wandering the world (or at least North America) in his grief, looking for something to remind him of his lost son.

The series pilot picks up fifteen years after the temple's destruction, when Caine wandered to the city where Peter was a cop, and they were reunited, much to both their shock. The series is the story of Peter rediscovering his past and trying to connect his two lives, in the midst of lots of shooty action and near-magical mysticism. The underlying theme running through the series is facing and overcoming one's demons. The secondary theme is Peter dealing with repeated abandonment, as Caine left, apparently for good, at the end of each season, and Peter's foster father also eventually left him (due, unfortunately, to the actor's death).

The show unabashedly mixed emotion and action, and was a hurt/comfort fan's dream.

KF:TLC fandom

KF:TLC online fandom started up on Usenet, on rec.arts.tv and alt.tv.kungfu. By August 1994, it had started the move to mailing lists, when Laurie Salopek started up the KFTLC-L discussion list[1]; the KFFIC-L fiction list soon followed, owned by Camille Bacon-Smith.

Several other lists got formed in the late '90s and early '00s when free mailing lists became readily available; many of them can be found (along with their archives, including fic posts) here, although most have gone quiet since the mid-'00s.

The series was re-run occasionally during the late '90s after it was cancelled, but by the early '00s had largely disappeared from tv schedules. With no DVDs available to bring new fans in, the fandom began shrinking. David Hewlett's success in Stargate Atlantis in the mid-'00s later brought in some fans who wanted to see everything he'd ever been in; he played a recurring character in KF:TLC, Nickie Elder (the somewhat hapless coroner).

Still, while things have slowed down, the fandom hasn't vanished completely. There are still some active lists and forums around,including:

  • Fu Renegades, an apparently still-active discussion and fiction list.
  • CP & KFTLC Fans United, a German-language forum (English is allowed on the boards, but German is the primary language). (The pre-2008 version of the forum is here.)

Fanfic

A lot of KF:TLC fanfic was in zines that never made it onto the 'net; more got posted to mailing lists, but the original fanfic list's centralized archive vanished when the list did. The result is that for what was at the time a reasonably large, active fandom, there's very little trace of it left on the web.

Much of the fanfic was gen with a focus on the relationship of Peter with his father, and also his adopted family, much like the series. Het fanfic featured either the canonical Kwai Chang Caine/Mary Margaret Skalaney pairing or Peter/OFC pairings. Peter/Jodie was rarer (I think?) because in canon Jodie's interest was not requited by Peter.

On the slash side there was some "Peter/Pop" incest fic, but at the time incest fic was generally less popular and accepted than currently. Still, KF:TLC may be the first fandom to have had a mailing list specifically devoted to an inter-generational incestuous pairing: Tender Loving Care, whose archives go back to 1999. The other slash pairing was Peter/Kermit, which had more public traction than Peter/Pop but never really took off, either, perhaps because Kermit was more often paired with their later-seasons captain, Karen Simms.

After the series ended fans wrote a Virtual Season.[2].

The fandom also has an active, if small, archive: KFTLC Fan Fiction. It accepts all fiction including adult (het) and slash, but is in effect a gen archive. (Still active as of February 2009.)

Fanzines

Cons

KFTLC had its own cons, called Fu Fests, that ran for several years in the late '90s and very early '00s. They were actor cons, held in Toronto.

References

  1. List announcement on rec.arts.tv dated August 7, 1994. Accessed February 21, 2009.
  2. Kung Fu the Legend Continues FanFiction Season (Waybackmachine link)
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