Newly Popular Netflix Show Cobra Kai Is Kicking The Competition


"Guy D'Alema "; Guy D'Alema

Ayla Yebba, Staff Writer

Cobra Kai is a super popular comedy-drama television series streaming on Netflix and based on the original Karate Kid films of the 1980s. Cobra Kai picks up the storyline 34 years after the infamous All Valley Karate Championship in which young Daniel Larusso defeats his karate bully nemesis, Johnny Lawrence. Now, Daniel is a successful car dealership owner and Johnny is a washed-up struggling and unemployed maintenance man when their paths cross again.

Returning in their original roles are Ralph Macchio as Daniel and William Zabka as Johnny. Throughout the series, there are special appearances from other actors/actresses reprising their earlier roles from the original Karate Kid movies.

This renewal of the classic and iconic coming of age story has taken the streaming world by surprise. YouTube Red launched Cobra Kai’s first and second seasons in 2018-2019. Netflix bought the show in June 2020 and released the third season earlier this month. Since launching on Netflix more than 73 million people have watched the series and have been giving great reviews to the director and actors of the show.

One thing that was very helpful on the director’s and editor’s part was showing flashbacks to climatic events in the original movies. It kept the story going and made it more understandable to viewers who may not have seen the original films.

According to Freshman Giselle Jaimes, “Cobra Kai is better than other shows in a way because it connects to a movie from a long time ago. Now the characters are adults and you get to see how they’re doing later on. I liked how they used the same actors as well.”

The writers of Cobra Kai have cleverly included many engaging and familiar scenes for viewers who saw the first Karate Kid movie. The discrete, but catchable humorous lines/actions shown have made it much more intriguing and captivating to watch.

Another interesting twist is that Cobra Kai has completely changed the way the audience feels about the characters. In the Karate Kid, Johnny is the antagonist and is seen as a really awful person. He continuously gangs up on Daniel with his fellow Cobra Kai dojo members. Fast-forwarding into their adult lives Johnny is portrayed as a much more likable character and you actually feel sorry for him. The show also gives a small backstory explaining why Johnny acts the way he does because of the way he was raised and even how he got into his love of Karate. Sophomore Cameron Marvel says that between Daniel and Johnny, he “…[likes] Johnny better because he feels like a more relatable character”.

Critics and fans of the show encourage people who have not watched Cobra Kai yet to at least see the first Karate Kid movie to better their understanding of the show. Cobra Kai does an amazing job explaining things that are important to know during the show, but by watching the original movie you will catch many things that other viewers won’t.

Junior Jacob Malinchak has seen the first Karate Kid movie and thinks “…you have to understand why [these characters] hate each other and why they are the way they are. Like why Johnny is apprehensive about Creese and so on”.

So just after three seasons, Cobra Kai has soared to the top of streaming shows. Its community of both new and old fans is eagerly awaiting the arrival of season 4 which is currently in the works. Stay tuned.