7:30 pm EDT, March 17, 2017

‘Iron Fist’ isn’t great, but these 6 Asian-led television shows are

If Iron Fist wasn’t quite what you were hoping for, never fear! We’ve got some other shows like Iron Fist that may fill the void.

Iron Fist has debuted to some lukewarm reception. This is uncommon for Marvel and Netflix, who have knocked it out of the park up until now. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage were all met with rave reviews, which makes Iron Fist’s flop all the more apparent.

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We already talked about why we think it didn’t work, and if you find yourself looking for another series that either better handles Asian representation or has a kickass cast — or both! — then you’ve come to the right place.

6 shows like ‘Iron Fist’ — but better

Recommendations from Karen

‘Into the Badlands’

Iron Fist wishes it was Into the Badlands. This show is seriously epic and I just can’t. stop talking. about it.

The story revolved around Sunny and M.K., and their journey to escape the Badlands for a better life. Sunny must protect the woman he loves and the baby that’s on the way, and M.K. must learn how to control his powers and find a way back to his mother. There are a lot of secondary characters, both heroes and villains, who have their own stories and are compelling in their own ways.

What I love most about this show is two-fold. On the one hand, the cast is incredibly diverse, and puts an Asian American actor (Daniel Wu) at the center of the story. The crew behind the series boasts the talents of Master DeeDee, whose stunt choreography is something of legend, which leads me into the second main reason why I love this show — the action. They stay true to the story they’re telling and bring a new kind of technique for filming action that we rarely see in American television. And it’s totally kickass. In terms of shows like Iron Fist, this one definitely fits the bill.


Netflix’s original series Sense8 is also wonderfully diverse and incredibly action-packed. This one is about eight strangers all across the world who share a psychic connection. Not only is the concept of the show intriguing and unique, the series pushes boundaries in terms of sexuality and shows off the brilliance of other cultures. Story aside, Sense8 is a beautiful show to witness.

What this series does best is tell a sprawling story over the course of a season that takes individuals and makes all of their lives connect in a fascinating way. Not only do we have to worry about the antagonists catching up with our heroes and finding a way to manipulate them for their own gain, we also get to see how the relationships between these eight people change and evolve. It’s a lesson in human nature, to say the least.

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

Marvel has notoriously had trouble with Asian representation in its television series and films, with Doctor Strange and Iron Fist leading the way. However, one show that has done it right from the beginning is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Chloe Bennet leads the series as the powerful Daisy, aka Quake. We saw her transformation from lost hacker into team player and finally becoming a superhero in her own right. Couple that with the wise and powerful Ming-Na Wen leading the way into battle as Melinda May, and you can see how S.H.I.E.L.D. has chosen to incorporate diversity into this show in an organic way. It’s not only refreshing as a whole, but particularly so for Marvel.

Recommendations from Donya


Where to begin with Nikita.

Starring the incomparable Maggie Q as the titular Nikita, the show followed the character as she goes from government assassin to a revenge-bent, rogue agent determined to bring down the organization she previously worked for.

Nikita herself is a strong, yet vulnerable woman, but she is certainly not perfect. Despite her flaws, she is still a character you root for from the moment you meet her — and so much of that can be credited not only to the stellar writing, but Maggie Q herself.

If you’re looking for a show with some seriously kick-ass action (Maggie Q even did most of her own stunts), alongside an incredibly compelling plot — though it maybe feels like it ended too soon — then Nikita is the show for you.

Fresh Off the Boat

It usually takes one heck of a sitcom to impress me, and Fresh Off the Boat certainly fits that bill.

Loosely inspired by the life of chef Eddie Huang, Fresh Off the Boat follows the lives of the Huang family as they make the move from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Florida, in order to open a cowboy-themed restaurant. It follows their struggles as they attempt to find a community in an unfamiliar place, whilst both subverting Asian stereotypes as well as celebrating and highlighting their culture and experiences.

Fresh Off the Boat challenges perceptions of race, power and identity, and is an important show in a television landscape that is severely lacking in showcasing Asian-American voices. Not to mention, Constance Wu is a gift we don’t deserve — and she needs to be on our screens all the time, always.


Boasting a cast that featured some firm favorite actors — such as Merlin’s Colin Morgan — and an eerie sci-fi theme, it was almost a given that I would check out Channel 4’s HUM∀NS when it was first released back in 2015.

HUM∀NS is set in an alternate, present-day England, where artificial intelligence — known as Synths — has become the “must have” commodity for most of the British public. It deals, as most media about artificial intelligence does, in Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, but also in the question of what makes us truly human. The show is incredibly thought provoking, and balances suspense and thrilling action to near perfection. But there was one particular aspect of HUM∀NS that kept me coming back for more: Anita.

Though Anita isn’t technically Asian, being a Synth, the strength of her arc is a credit to HUM∀NS — and Gemma Chan, who plays the character, is arguably the true stand-out of the show. If you’re looking for a new sci-fi, particularly to fill the Westworld void, this is certainly one to catch up on — STAT.

What shows like ‘Iron Fist’ are some of your favorites?

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