The MAI are descendents of the Egyptian goddess Bastet, whose early depictions are of a female form with a lioness's head, later demoted to a more dimunitive feline representation.
Chloe King learns on her 16th birthday that she is, in fact, MAI. Adopted as a baby, Chloe was raised by typical humans and so had no idea about her supernatural genetics until weird things began to happen...like coming back to life after a mortal fall.
Chloe is played by Skylar Samuels who you might recognize from Disney's WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE. I can see why Samuels is a Disney-darling: Her face is as angelic as Sandro Boticelli's 15th century painting of Venus, not to mention her ability to pull off Buffy-esque moves. I don't think anyone can replace Sarah Michelle Gellar, but if anyone could be a contender, it's Samuels.
What I love about this new urban fantasy meets young adult adaptation is how it recognizes the innocence of teendom--and despite shows like Pretty Little Liars and Secret Life, other than the supernatural drama--THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING shows a Gilmore Girls-esque relationship between Chloe and her single yet professionally successful mom, shopping trips with her best friend Amy, and all while testing the sometimes turbulent dating waters...no teen pregnancies need apply. And although there is sometimes a taste of Disney's sickeningly sweet cultural sugar substitute, the overall storyline is really quite good.
The other actors include young people like native-born Brit, Benjamin Stone, who plays one of Chloe's love-interests, Alek. You may recognize Ben from 10 Things I Hate About You. If it's his voice you recognize, you play too many Harry Potter video games...and I pity you. Forty-two-year old Amy Pietz plays Meredith King, a more benign (and put together) version of Lorelai Gilmore. Amy's been a character actor on a varietal of television shows, including The Drew Carey Show and even Star Trek: The Next Generation (she has my vote!). Newcomers Grace Phipps and Ki Hong Lee delightfully play Chloe's best friends, Amy and Paul. Grey Damon plays Brian Rezza, the human boy Chloe not-so-secretly loves. Grey has played parts in 10 Things I Hate About You as well as Kitch Maynard in the pop culture love-of-my-life, True Blood. Alicia Coppola and Alyssa Diaz play a mother and daughter--Alicia's character is the stoically-strong San Francisco MAI leader while Alyssa plays Chloe's protector and friend.
The season finale left us wondering who was going to live or die. And I have some spoilers for you, assuming CHLOE KING gets a second season. Valentina, Coppola's character, dies but Jasmine, her daughter played by Diaz, doesn't. Brian looks like he's dead, too, but hold your breathe! It aint over 'til the fat lady sings. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Alek and Chloe may be siblings...explaining why Chloe loves him but doesn't feel "right" about their potential relationship. And no, I have not yet read the three-book series by Brit-born author Braswell....
In my pop culture book, the more kick-ass girl-characters, the better. We need more Chloe King's!
On the Housel-scale, THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING gets a heart-warming 9/10!