“Cowboy Bebop” Review: John Cho Epitomizes Cool in Netflix’s Bounty Hunting Space Opera

Daniella Pineda, John Cho and Mustafa Shakir in “Cowboy Bebop.” Photo Courtesy: Netflix

Rating: 7/10

I may have already mentioned that it doesn’t get any cooler — or sexier — than John Cho enveloped by a double-breasted indigo blue blazer, slim pants, white shirt with the collar up, headphones made-for-music-lovers on and, oh yeah, smoking.

The Star Trek alum exudes equal parts charisma, charm and cynicism as Spike Spiegel. He’s an intergalactic bounty hunter — a.k.a. cowboy — who’s partnered with the maligned ex-cop Jet Black (Mustafa Shakir) and trying to make a meager living by catching bad guys across the solar system. They are business partners and roommates aboard the Bebop — a ship made of salvaged parts that’s barely staying together, but that boasts an impressive jazz vinyl collection. They soon cross paths with Faye Valentine (Daniella Pineda), an impulsive and vivacious bounty hunter with a mild case of amnesia after a cryogenically induced nap that went wrong. The three characters and the whole live-action show are based on the original Japanese animated TV series of the same name. Cowboy Bebop premieres on Netflix on November 19.

If, like me, you’re new to Cowboy Bebop’s world, you’ll need to get acquainted with this particular universe in which earning your keep and being middle class seems even harder than in current times; having a dog is a high-taxing activity, only affordable to the super-rich; and there’s a syndicate of villainous criminals co-led by the hot-tempered Vicious (Alex Hassell). But the 10-episode first season of the series has an uncomplicated way of not relying on exposition and letting the audience know new information about this singular universe and our lead’s backstories on a need-to-know basis that’s also engaging.