The Legend Of Monkey

The Legend of Monkey comes to life for ABC, TVNZ and Netflix
New TV series produced by See-Saw Films and Jump Film & TV

Production is underway in New Zealand on the major new live action television series The Legend of Monkey, which will premiere on ABC, TVNZ and on Netflix around the world in 2018.

Inspired by the 16th Century Chinese fable Journey to the West, the 10-part half hour series follows a teenage girl and a trio of fallen gods on a perilous journey as they attempt to bring an end to a demonic reign of chaos and restore balance to their world.

The talented and diverse young cast includes Chai Hansen (Mako Mermaids, The 100) as Monkey, with Luciane Buchanan (Filthy Rich, Blue Rose) playing Tripitaka, Josh Thomson (Terry Teo, 7 Days, The Project) playing Pigsy and Emilie Cocquerel (Lion, An Accidental Soldier) playing Sandy.

The series is being filmed at stunning locations in and around Auckland, New Zealand, as well as on spectacular purpose-built sets that bring to life the magical fantasy world our characters inhabit.

The Legend of Monkey is being produced for ABC, TVNZ and Netflix by the Oscar and Emmy-winning production company See-Saw Films together with Jump Film & TV. The series is an official New Zealand/Australian co-production with principal investment from Screen Australia in association with Screen NSW, Fulcrum Media Finance and the New Zealand Screen Production Grant.

Head writer is the acclaimed Jacquelin Perske (Seven Types of Ambiguity, Spirited, Will) with both Craig Irvin (Nowhere Boys) and Samantha Strauss (Dance Academy) providing additional writing services. Gerard Johnstone (Housebound, The Jaquie Brown Diaries) is the lead director and has worked closely with Jacquelin to realise this unique story. Additional episodes are being directed by Craig Irvin.

“The mythical tale of the Monkey King is a story that continues to captivate global audiences,” said Michael Carrington, Head of Children’s at ABC Television. “Our production partner See-Saw Films is bringing The Legend of Monkey to life through incredible locations and sets, an acclaimed production team and an exciting diverse young cast. We can’t wait for fans to see this new series that features the heroes they love and we are just as excited to introduce this reimagined magical and exciting world to a whole new generation of viewers.”

Rachel Gardner, for See-Saw Films said:

“Jacquelin has adapted this classic literary work in such a way as to create an original fantasy world that is occupied by charismatic and interesting characters that will entertain all ages. Brought to life by the vision of Gerard, the story and setting will not be like anything we’ve seen before.”

Robin Scholes, for Jump Film & TV, said:

“Gerard has the best people working at every level beside him so the production values on screen for cinematography, design, costume, and make up, are breathtaking as are the performances of a largely New Zealand cast. We’re also thrilled that Australian and New Zealand audiences will see it first on ABC and TVNZ.”

Andrew Shaw, TVNZ’s GM of Acquisitions, Commissioning and Production, said:

“This is an extraordinary project to be involved with and we can’t wait to be the first to bring it to New Zealand audiences. Shot in New Zealand, with a team of Kiwis taking key roles in front and behind the cameras, The Legend of Monkey is big budget fantasy drama series that will surprise and delight family viewers globally and locally. We’re a business built on highly original content and this ticks all the boxes: it’s a tremendous tale, visually imaginative and made by talented people. Kids are going to love it.”

Andy Yeatman, director of global kids content at Netflix said:

“We’re thrilled to distribute this world-class local production to young audiences around the world. The legendary Monkey King and his epic journey have mesmerised fans for ages. We’re delighted the creative team at See-Saw Films and Jump Film & TV are bringing this reimagining to life for ABC and Netflix.”

Jamie Laurenson and Hakan Kousetta of See-Saw Films said:

“A wonderful team of creatives and a crew of master craftsman are bringing an astonishing fantasy world to life. With ABC, Netflix and TVNZ we hope to bring an international audience of all ages to Jacquelin and Gerard’s reimagining of an amazing story."

The Legend of Monkey will air on ABC, TVNZ and on Netflix around the world in 2018.



I wanted so badly to get as excited as the rest of social media about The Legend of Monkey, the upcoming reboot of the hit 1980s show Monkey, but I can’t. Damn it.

I’ll agree 100% with the opinion there. Seems pointless… Has the world ran out of original ideas?

Well Ten is bringing this bloke back - so yes. Yes it has.

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Episode 1:
Intriguing beginning to the series.
This sees after a tragedy a girl searching for Monkey.
Monkey appears at the end of this opening episode and the girl introduced herself as Tripataka.
The original tales of Monkey had Tripataka as a man and funnily enough the old Monkey series that everyone is familiar with was played by a woman but the character is still presented as a man.

Episode 2:
Noticed Pigsy here and surprised to see Sandy as a woman.
Tripataka discovered her power with Monkey’s crown. Wondered when that was going to come up.
Oh dear what a trap that was sprung at the end.

Episode 3:
Amazing seeing Pigsy help the others out of their confinement and then leading to that fight against the princess.
The fight is a sight to behold.
This all sets up nicely the journey that begins at the end.

Episode 4:
The travellers meets a group led by someone adopting the guise of the Monkey King.
The so-called Monkey King discovered Tripataka’s power over our Monkey King.
With the use of a truth serum the fake Monkey King learned from Tripataka that she is a fake monk and the prayer to control Monkey.
Surprisingly the prayer did not work for the fake Monkey but perhaps not surprising that he gets killed off due to him knowing Tripataka’s secret.

Episode 5:
Intriguing episode in which the gods have been abducted and placed in a dreamscape in which they play a game.
It is therefore left for Tripataka to wake them up.

Episode 6:
Intriguing episode in which Monkey is still in a dreamscape as he revisits his past.
Interesting seeing Monkey’s past here which is soon witnessed by Tripataka.

Episode 7:
Monkey is reunited with the god who placed him on trial 500 years previously.
The god discovered Tripitaka is a woman and unsurprisingly this god gets kills off here.
Not bad in which a bit of Monkey’s past comes to the present here.

Episode 8:
Antepenultimate episode of the series/season.
Sandy now knows Tripitaka’s secret as the latter herself revealed that in front of other people.
Tripitaka found her long lost mother and sisters.
However it is soon revealed that it is not her mother and sisters and not bad turn of events on this.

Episode 9:
Intriguing episode as we near the end of the series/season.
Monkey finally discovers that Tripitaka is a girl and funny that the former thought that magic had turned what he thought was him into a her.

Episode 10:
Series/season finale.
Enjoyable ending to the series/season.
Now everyone knows that Tripitaka is a girl and curiously enough just as the battle here is concluded she still calls herself Tripitaka and I don’t think that we ever knew what her real name is.

Graveyard of the Gods:
Season 2 opener.
Enjoyable opener to the second season especially at the start when the gang were running away from people chasing them.
Enjoyable plot about the search for sacred scrolls.

Season 2, Episode 7.
Nice allusion to Masterchef with the episode title with Pigsy performing this very function.
Although Pigsy’s task as Masterchef is not entirely successful in his task against the General, it does however set up interesting developments afterwards.