On the Small Screen with Cobra Kai
Written by Ana Jones
They say you should never go back. But that is certainly not the case with the TV series Cobra Kai. Revisiting The Karate Kid movies from the 1980s – and the story of Danny LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and high school/karate rival Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) will only bring you smiles and demonstrate how well acted and developed characters can be revisited and grow up long after the writer’s pen has been put down (yup, they probably still used pens back then).
The series is peppered with movie flashbacks (and previously unseen footage), easy to achieve when you have the original casts and movie franchise owners support. These scenes are used to help remind or provide the backstory for who those who don’t remember the original stories. This dramedy TV series does stand-alone though in the 21st century and doesn't rely on the flashbacks. It tackles some thought-provoking storylines and real-life issues played out such as bullying, homelessness, violence and, of course the misuse of karate. That said, who doesn’t love a good dose of nostalgia when it is Ralph Macchio lining up for that monumental crane kick from the first movie!
Cobra Kai takes place 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, where a now successful Danny struggles to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of Mr Miyagi and finds himself facing off once again with his old adversary, the down-and-out bad-boy Johnny – who has reopened the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo.
Also playing out is the lives of their children Samantha LaRusso (Mary Mouser) and Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan), who have their own teenage issues and are invertedly caught up in the decades-old rivalry.
Brian Wright, Vice President, Original Series, Netflix best summed up the series when it moved from YouTube Premium to Netflix after season 2:
“The rivalry between Daniel and Johnny is one for the ages and the show has a ton of heart and is a lot of fun.”
Cobra Kai is written and executive produced by Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine franchise), Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold & Kumar film series, Blockers) via their production company, Counterbalance Entertainment. It is important to also recognise Overbrook Entertainment (actor Will Smith’s production company) in association with Sony Pictures Television – who are executive producers. Macchio and Zabka serve as co-executive producers. The reason for listing all these players is because, until now many proposals, scripts and ideas had come across Macchio’s desk to reprise the iconic character but none deemed worthy enough – until now.
Rated PG, each episode is just under 30 minutes long. IMDb rates it 8.6, a little low in my book! It was named 2018’s Best Drama by Rotten Tomatoes, earning a rare 100% Fresh rating for its first season. It has also received several Emmy nominations.
The show also stars Courtney Henggeler (The Big Bag Theory, Mom), Mary Mouser (The Fosters, NCIS), Tanner Buchanan (Designated Survivor), Xolo Maridueña (Parenthood), Jacob Bertrand (Parenthood), Peyton List (Gossip Girl, 27 Dresses) and Gianni DeCenzo (100 Things to Do Before High School).
Be sure to binge watch season 1-3 before season 4 launches soon, and if you are still not sure, see the YouTube channel of the same name for clips and some full episodes!
Watch The Trailer
The Karate Kid Story Continues The Karate Kid Story Continues