Cobra Kai fans now have reason to rejoice, as the Karate Kid revival series has now found a new home on Netflix.
For months, we’ve known that the third season was completely made but without a release date in sight as the producers of the show that started on YouTube shopped around for a new streaming service for the show.
This show deserves an even bigger fandom, which is why we are thrilled that on Netflix it will be in front of a larger audience. It’s so good that season 1 won 2018’s Best Drama by Rotten Tomatoes and received a 100 percent “Fresh” rating.
About the Show
For those of you who do not know, Cobra Kai is set 30 years after the events of Karate Kid and that fateful karate tournament where Daniel used that crane kick against Johnny. The rivalry between the two is reunited as they both take on new students.
This show has everything – shipping, teen angst, redemption arcs that are more like roller coasters. And what it has most is a lot of heart. You will love these characters, and sometimes want to smack some sense into them.
Here are our top five reasons we think you should watch this series when it premieres on Netflix sometime this year.
1. We love this problematic fool
As mentioned above, Johnny Lawrence’s redemption arc is not really an arc – it’s a zig-zagged line, or more like a roller coaster. For every step forward he takes, there are two back and one to the side. It’s equal parts entertaining and frustrating, and we want more of it. He’s going somewhere, and despite all his flaws, we somehow can’t help but hope his redemption becomes complete.
Johnny says offensive things, but tries to learn from Miguel. He is an amazing mentor to a young teen that is not unlike Daniel was at that age, but at the same time a neglectful father to his own son. The man teaches underdogs how to fight and have self-confidence, but then they themselves become bullies.
Add on top of that, he is an alcoholic who makes very poor choices and is terrible at communication. We love him regardless. It’s the strangest thing, but we’re not going to fight it.
But despite all of his obvious issues – Johnny is trying, and we would like to see this problematic man get something right. We would love to see Johnny go to AA, step up more as a father, and work with Daniel rather than against him. The two of them need to team up against Kreese.
Honestly the scenes where Johnny tries to figure out modern technology and how to not be offensive are comedic gold. It’s a crime that William Zabka hasn’t gotten an Emmy for playing this role, because frankly, he knocks it out of the park.
2. We are shipping this bromance
Look, we didn’t know we needed a slow-burn enemies-to-besties bromance like the relationship between Johnny and Daniel, but honestly, it is one of the best things on television. We platonically ship the hell out of them.
These two idiots started out the series as rivals out for revenge, but there are moments where you think that they might be at the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And then, of course, one of them does something stupid that the other misinterprets and we are back at square one.
It’s maddening, and we love every minute of it. You know who else wants those two to get over it? Daniel’s wife. Her exasperation at her husband’s Johnny-related tantrums gives us life. Use your words, guys, not your fists. It will save you so much drama.
With Season 3 coming up – is it too much to ask that these two finally become friends and team up against Kreese? Their two fighting and teaching styles seem like opposites, but blended together it might make for a powerful dojo. Could Robby (Johnny’s son and Daniel’s student) be what finally brings these two together as friends with a common goal?
Also, can we have some more carpool karaoke with these two?
3. Shades of Gray
The writers of this show are brilliant when it comes to creating compelling characters that are so multi-layered and flawed that you don’t know how you feel about them. Nearly every person on this show has moments where you love them and moments you hate them. Sometimes you wonder who you are really rooting for. It’s an absolutely stunning journey.
Take Hawk, for instance. When the show starts out, he is a much-bullied kid for his cleft lip. Johnny even calls him “Lip” when he first starts at the dojo, but quickly teaches him to give people something else to talk about. We all cheered with joy when he showed up with a mohawk and new confidence – earning the nickname “Hawk.” But now? He has become frankly, a nightmare. His insecurities, arrogance and karate abilities combined with the leadership of John Kreese have made him what he loathed before – a bully.
The adults are not immune to this multi-layered character development. Even Daniel Larusso, who we all grew up loving from the original movies, is kind of an asshole at times in this series.
And the scene when Johnny tells Miguel what happened between them in high school from his point of view – well, it will blow your mind. Would it surprise you to realize that Daniel was actually the one that threw out the first punch and started the violence? Because when you go back and watch the movies – it is true! We’re not saying that Johnny and his gang were not awful too, but we were originally told that entire narrative from Daniel’s POV.
And then you have moments in this series where you have Daniel as a genuinely good guy whose biggest flaw is he can’t get over his grudge with Johnny. He takes Robby in and gives him a job and training when he learns he has been abandoned by his mom. He tries to teach his kids the Miyagi way of karate, with peace and mercy.
There are so many more examples of this type of stellar character development throughout the series – which is why you really need to check it out.
4. Delicious Angst
This show is heartwarming, but there is also some angst that keeps you hooked. Daniel’s daughter Samantha (who is a total badass, by the way) has feelings for both Miguel and Robby. Season 2 also brings in the wild and tough girl Tory (played by Disney Channel’s Peyton List in a complete departure from her previous characters) who starts dating Miguel and has no love for Sam.
On top of all that, there are the jealous feelings Robby has over his father’s relationship with Miguel. Johnny was a deadbeat parent to Robby, but has invested a lot of time and support into his karate protégé. This makes tensions high between the two, on top of being romantic rivals.
Add to that the former bullied kids becoming the bullies, and one kid in the original friend group not into the karate thing at all. The tension between the Cobra Kai and the Miyagi Dojo kids is palpable, leading to a school rumble at the end of Season 2 that left Miguel in the hospital.
What will the fallout of this fight be – and how will all the shipping drama turnout? We have no idea, but we are here for it.
5. Cobra Kai takes you back in time
If you love a show that brings back the nostalgia of the 80s (like Stranger Things), you will also be a fan this series. Not only does it show clips from the original movies to help tell the story, there are so many other throwbacks.
The soundtrack features tracks from the past from bands such as Poison and REO Speedwagon. There is a playlist on Spotify if you want to check it out. On top of that – there is even an 80s costumed themed night at the roller-skating rink that truly feels like it could have been set during that time period.
And not to mention the guest appearances that bring us back to that the original movies. The addition of John Kreese in season 2 has us feeling like history is repeating itself. There is a whole episode in which Johnny and his old Cobra Kai buddies (same actors) spend a weekend with one of the guys who is dying of cancer.
While we don’t see Elisabeth Shue in this series, the character Allie is talked about frequently throughout. And at the end of Season 2 we see Johnny reaching out to her via Facebook (watching him try to navigate social media is hilarious). Dare we hope that we will see her in a future season? Especially now that Cobra Kai is on a wider platform?
Future of the series
With the move to Netflix, Cobra Kai’s producers have noted in a press release that this story is far from over. They also said that this provides an opportunity to explore other stories within the Karate Kid universe. We can’t wait to see all the possibilities as they unfold.
For now, we will wait patiently for the first two seasons to start streaming which Netflix says will happen sometime later this year.