Samurai Girl: Heaven for female action fans

ABC Family has ordered a pilot for a new drama that gives me hope for the kind of female kick-ass action we haven’t seen since Alias and Buffy left the air. The show, Samurai Girl, is based on the popular young adult book series by Carrie Asai (not to be confused with the Samurai Girl manga and anime series).

The pilot is based on the first book in the series, Samurai Girl: The Book of the Sword, which tells the story of Heaven, a girl rescued from a plane crash and adopted by a wealthy family headed by not-so-upstanding businessman, Konishi Kogo. The real action starts at Heaven’s wedding, an arranged marriage that will unite the Kogo family with another powerful Japanese family. During the ceremony, a ninja assassin attacks, killing Heaven’s brother Ohiko as he fights to protect her. Heaven runs away and begins to train as a samurai – in L.A. – in order to exact revenge on her brother’s killer. If Heaven’s bloody wedding motivates her half as much as Uma Thurman‘s did in Kill Bill, we’re in for quite a ride.

How evil is her father? What is his real business? Why does her mother turn a blind eye to her father’s questionable activities? What really happened in that diner when the screen went dark? Oh, wait.

Actually, this series has real potential. Luke McMullen, who wrote the pilot, worked on Alias. And the quality of Kyle XY reassures me that ABC Family can produce a worthwhile drama. We’ll just overlook Greek for the moment. The prospect of an Asian heroine is certainly appealing, given the dearth of strong female (or male, for that matter) Asian characters on television. An editorial review on describes the book as “cinematic and sarcastic” and says Heaven is “American-culture and film-obsessed.” I like it already.

Shooting begins this fall, so the next step is casting. Devon Aoki (D.E.B.S) comes to mind.

Or Rinko Kikuchi (Babel).

Both have sword-fighting skills and probably can pass for 19. Who else? I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of young Asian actresses. The fact that I’ve only come up with two shows how badly we need this show to be great.

Have you read any of the Samurai Girl books? If so, what you think about turning it into a TV show? And who should play Heaven? If it’s someone we don’t know, post a picture. Strictly for research purposes, of course.