Those who are fans of the fantasy adventure storyline should be able to find joy in Disney+’s American Born Chinese series, which follows the tale of a young Chinese boy born and raised in America. However, while Jin Wang wants to be a normal teenager in America, he ends up getting swept into a wild and crazy war between Chinese deities after he meets Wei-Chen, the son of the legendary Monkey King Sun Wukong.
While it may be easy to breeze through all eight episodes of American Born Chinese, some are still looking to scratch that fantasy adventure itch as we await confirmation of whether there will be a second season of this new series. So, with that said, let’s look at some of the shows that are similar to American Born Chinese.
8. Shadow and Bone (2021 – Present)
IMDB Score: 7.6
What It’s About: Shadow and Bone is based on the novels written by Leigh Bardugo and is set in a fictional world where people with magical powers exist but are persecuted for their abilities. In that regard, these magical people called the Grisha, use their control over the elements to try to end the persecution against them. And they believe that Alina Starkov, the legendary Sun Summoner, could be the key to bringing peace back to the world.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Aside from the fact that Shadow and Bone is helmed by an actress of Asian heritage, it is similar to American Born Chinese because they both follow characters in a coming-of-age story that sees them growing and maturing while learning more about their own powers and capabilities, that means they both target younger audiences that want to see themselves in the characters’ shoes.
7. I Am Not Okay With This (2020)
IMDB Score: 7.5
What It’s About: The story of I Am Not Okay With This is unique because the series follows the journey of a teenage girl who regrets having superpowers even though most teenagers only wish to have powers. In that regard, she learned that she could manifest her own anger into telekinetic abilities that are quite difficult to control. And the fact that she was still growing up and learning more about herself made her powers much harder to manage.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Like American Born Chinese, I Am Not Okay With This follows the story of a teenager still learning more about what it was like to be a teen. Of course, the characters of both storylines get caught up in something that’s initially beyond their capabilities. And the characters both find out they are in control of their emotions and fate.
6. Willow (2022)
IMDB Score: 5.6
What It’s About: The Willow series is the successor of the beloved Willow movie released at the end of the 80s. It allows us to see a new band of heroes that continue the journey left off by the characters of the original Willow series. As such, this allows us to see the next generation of young heroes still learning more about themselves while trying to figure out how to stop a great evil from plunging the world back into darkness.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Of course, like American Born Chinese, Willow focuses on the journey of young characters that have powers and abilities that they are still trying to learn. They are on an adventure that will test their grit and dedication to themselves and one another, just like how American Born Chinese follows the story of teenage boys looking to stop a divine war that could put the entire world at risk.
5. Avatar: The Legend of Aang (2005 – 2008)
IMDB Score: 9.3
What It’s About: Often called the GOAT of animated TV shows, Avatar: The Legend of Aang follows the journey of a young Airbender that’s the Avatar, the only person that can bend all four elements and unite the entire world. However, the entire world’s fate is on his shoulders because Aang now has to speed up his training and learn how to bend all four elements to stop the dreaded Fire Nation from plunging the world into war and chaos.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: While it may be set in a fictional world, Avatar: The Legend of Aang is very similar to American Born Chinese because they both follow the storylines of characters that have the fate of the entire world on their shoulders despite how young they are. Of course, let’s not forget that Avatar is inspired by Asian culture, just like how American Born Chinese takes pride in Asian inclusivity.
4. Hawkeye (2021)
IMDB Score: 7.5
What It’s About: Hawkeye is a follow-up story to the life of Clint Barton of the Avengers as he embarks on a new journey as a former Avenger that now wants to focus more on his family. However, he gets caught up in a huge fiasco in New York as he now has to unwillingly take on the role of mentor to a young archer that grew up idolizing him. In a sense, the Hawkeye series passes the torch from one sharpshooter to another.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Even though Hawkeye focuses a lot on the elderly Clint Barton, let’s not forget that Kate Bishop is also involved in this series as she is a young girl that’s trying to find her way in the world while searching for her own path. As such, it is similar to American Born Chinese in that a young hero is trying to follow her own path in life while an older hero serves as a mentor.
3. Cobra Kai (2018 – Present)
IMDB Score: 8.5
What It’s About: In the same universe as the original Karate Kid movie series, Cobra Kai takes place 34 years after the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. In this regard, Johnny Lawrence is trying to redeem himself by reopening the Cobra Kai dojo. This reignites his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso, who was the very same person that defeated him more than three decades ago.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Even though Cobra Kai follows the older characters we met in the original Karate Kid movies, it also focuses on the journey of the younger characters that were made to carry the torch of the entire franchise. As such, it is similar to American Born Chinese in that younger characters are now trying to learn more about themselves in a world focused on martial arts.
2. The Umbrella Academy (2019 – Present)
IMDB Score: 7.9
What It’s About: The Umbrella Academy follows a group of misfit siblings that the same person adopted due to their extraordinary supernatural abilities. They grew up as superheroes forced to become perfect by their overbearing adoptive father, but they became estranged upon reaching adulthood. But the death of their adoptive father forces the group to reunite as they try to resolve unresolved issues that go all the way back to their childhood years.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Even though The Umbrella Academy focuses on adult characters, it is like American Born Chinese because they both have supernatural themes. Of course, the characters in The Umbrella Academy are still in the middle of learning more about themselves even though they are already adults. That is why this series isn’t too different compared to American Born Chinese.
1. Ms. Marvel (2022)
IMDB Score: 6.2
What It’s About: Ms. Marvel follows the story of a comic book geek and Avengers fan named Kamala Khan, who wants to become a superhero and follow in the footsteps of her favorite Avenger, Captain Marvel. An ancient family heirloom ends up in her possession as she discovers she has superpowers. As such, Kamala needs to find a way to use her superpowers to stop a catastrophic event from happening.
Why It’s Like American Born Chinese: Both Ms. Marvel and American Born Chinese follow the main characters of an ethnic minority group. Of course, the characters in both series are also teenagers trying to live normal lives in America but end up getting caught in something that has the entire world at risk. That’s why they need to be more than themselves while discovering the hero within them to save the entire world.