A ragtag crew of bounty hunters chases down the galaxy's most dangerous criminals and they'll save the world, for the right price, in Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop. André Nemec serves as the showrunner for the 10-episode series, which is an adaptation of a beloved anime series. Fans can find solace in the fact that the original anime series director Shinichiro Watanabe is a consultant on the series, and original composer Yoko Kanno returns for the live-action adaptation as well.
Sometime in the future, three bounty hunters, aka “cowboys,” are all trying to outrun the past. As different as they are deadly, Spike Spiegel (John Cho), Jet Black (Mustafa
Shakir), and Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda) form a scrappy, yet snarky crew ready to hunt down the solar system’s most dangerous criminals — for the right price. But they can only kick and quip their way out of so many scuffles before their pasts finally catch up with them.
I’ve never seen Cowboy Bebop, so I wasn’t that familiar with the source material. And I will say, while John Cho showed respectable range in Searching and showcased some believable athletics during the drill fight in 2009's Star Trek reboot, I know him primarily for comedy. However, within the first fifteen minutes of Cowboy Bebop’s first episode, Cho makes me a believer. Hopefully, this opens more doors for Cho to break away from comedy.
Mustafa Shakir, who nearly stole Season 2 of Luke Cage with his portrayal of Bushmaster, is also impressive as Jet Black. Cho and Shakier's back and forth dialogue is the show's heart, and their chemistry is akin to an eighties buddy picture. I want to keep my review as spoiler-free as possible, but I will say that Alex Hassell does a commendable job as our big bad guy, Vicious, and the storyline kept me invested for the most part. I also liked that the series employs a bounty of the week approach while revealing layers to our primary antagonist.
If I had one gripe with Cowboy Bebop, it was the pacing. I didn't have the desire to watch the show in one sitting. Instead, I split it over a few days. Nevertheless, the show should appease fans of the source material and new ones as well.
Final Grade: B