by Diana Vaccarelli
—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—SPOILER ALERT—
May 2, 2018, YouTube Red released the first season of Cobra Kai, a TV sequel (well, YouTube is sort of TV) to the classic Karate Kid films. I’ve binge-watch Season One and was surprised and delighted by what I viewed.
The series begins thirty years after the last Karate Kid film that ended with the very satisfying All Valley Tournament between Cobra Kai dojo leader, Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) and Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio). Daniel (Macchio) was the victor, defeating the bully, Johnny.
As this series opens, Johnny is a drunk and at rock bottom when he witnesses Miguel Diaz (Xolo Mariduena) being bullied and decides to take him under his wing and reopen the Cobra Kai dojo. This reignites his feud with Daniel and brings changes into both their lives.
- The team of writers led by co-creators and showrunners John Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg and Josh Heald nailed the characters and came up with an unexpectedly sharp storyline. Johnny’s drive to change the image of Cobra Kai dojo into something positive and his mentoring of those he once would have called nerds is believable and exciting.
- The change in Daniel to the successful arrogant businessman was a big surprise, as was how hard he tries to stop keep Johnny’s new Cobra Kai dojo out of the Ally Valley Tournament. I really wanted to know, “Why, Daniel, Why!” (And shouted it out a few times, I admit.)
- What a relief when Daniel redeems himself when by mentoring loner Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan) in karate. It turns out Robby is none other then the son of Johnny (Zabka) and wants to get back at him at all costs. Daniel decides to coach him the way Mr. Miyagi did for him.
- I appreciated the twist in the story arc in which the nerds turn into the bullies of the school at the end of the season, much to dismay of Johnny.
- All this conflict makes this show one to watch and keeps you clued to the screen.
- I wasn’t disappointed at all in this series and am glad to learn at the writing of the review that is has been renewed for another season.
If you’re a fan of the Karate Kid films and/or a lover of martial arts and insightful TV writing, you won’t want to miss out on Cobra Kai.
Diana Vaccarelli is TVWriter™’s Critic-at-Large and a TVWriter™ University grad. Find out more about her HERE