In the now distant Internet’s past, someone took the Karate Kid trailer apart and turned the hero of that movie – new kid Daniel LaRusso – into the antagonist who had locked his sights on ruining the life of fun loving Johnny Lawrence, SoCal native and karate aficionado.
It is a ridiculous premise that works largely on the sincerity of the trailer. You can read more about the theory here.
Now, what that trailer managed to do was to tap into the nostalgia of 1984. Sure, there was a horrendous attempt of a new Karate Kid that starred Jaden Smith as the “Daniel” type and Jackie Chan as the “Myagi”. But while that flopped, something about the Karate Kid story still resonated.
So, when YouTube was looking for programming for their Red Channel streaming service, it greenlit the web series Cobra Kai, which brought back the two main characters (and the actors who played them) and jumped their story 34 years forward.
But then it leaned into its CW, added some teen casting and rubbed some teen angst like a dry rub on ribs. The show Cobra Kai was born.
The two old dojos are back and battling one another! And while it was a mild hit on the YouTube platform, the show, like many of the Red Channel endeavors, found a new buyer. So this summer, Netflix acquired the first two seasons, making a major push as the third season was being finalized.
Now, a confession. I was avoiding this show. It seemed to be to be cheesy and quite frankly, I don’t want the memory of Daniel LaRusso’s crane kick to victory to be tainted. But I heard from a couple of the Nerds in Discord that the show is way better than you would think and…NERD ALERT: Cobra Kai is really good.
In an effort to keep this spoiler free, I don’t want to give away too much. The cast, especially the students of both dojos are a good mix of talent and potential. The leads, Robbie of Myagi and Miguel of Cobra Kai are exceptional and Sam LaRusso plays the girl stuck between them. (See, that CW stuff makes a difference.)
You watch as friendships are formed, are ended and revamped. In the midst of it, you watch Johnny and Daniel work out their issues as adults, as LaRusso has gone on to be a major car dealer and Johnny’s life has largely faded away.
The end of the second season has a major plot twist and sets up much to be dealt with and potentially resolved in season 3, which released on January 1, 2021.
So if you are looking for a show to binge through, that has some fun nostalgic beats from an iconic movie and gives some twists and turns on the story as it moves forward, you should strike first, strike hard and show no mercy to Netflix, as you hit the “Yes, I am still watching button” on Cobra Kai.