Cobra Kai - season 2
Internet TV

Review: Cobra Kai – season two (YouTube)

Available on YouTube

The first season of Cobra Kai was far, far better than a modern-day sequel to classic 80s movie The Karate Kid had any right to be.

Set 30 years after Danny Lerusso (Ralph Macchio) defeated former school bully Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) in the All-Valley Karate Championships in California, Cobra Kai sees Zabka down on his luck, divorced, estranged from his son and unemployed. But when he uses karate one night to defend a put-upon kid (Xolo Maridueña), he’s soon finding a new calling in life and reopening the karate school that caused him so much pain as a kid – Cobra Kai. Could he put the mistakes of the past behind him and learn from his failures? And would the man who once defeated him be willing to forgive and forget?

One of TMINE’s Top 14 shows of 2018, the first season of Cobra Kai was a sort of American Flashman for the streaming age. It managed to be faithful to the original and its characters, referring back constantly in flashback to the most famous moments of the first movie and its sequels and embodying their philosophy and attitude to karate.

Yet at the same time, it was clearly a show that knew it would have two audiences. The first is the standard youthful YouTube viewer who only ever saw the movie on reruns, if at all, and would be less interested in Macchio and Zabka than their students and children, their relationships and rivalries, and their experiences as they followed the paths walked by their elders 30 years earlier. The second is a middle-aged audience who saw the movie when it first came out, have had children of their own, and know full well that life’s no simple parable of good and evil. Bullies become bullies for a reason and the oppressed can become oppressors, and heroes villains – and vice versa.

Jacob Bertrand, William Zabka and Xolo Maridueña in Cobra Kai
Jacob Bertrand, William Zabka and Xolo Maridueña in Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai – season two

Cobra Kai and Impulse were the first/only two incontestably good shows produced by YouTube’s premium ‘Red’ service – subsequently renamed YouTube Premium and soon to not be premium at all. It therefore wasn’t a big surprise when both was renewed for a second season. The question was whether a second season could be as good as the first.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report that Cobra Kai‘s second season is every bit as good as its first. Mild spoilers for both the first and second season after the jump. And in the trailer.

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It’s that moment you’ve all been waiting for: it’s the TMINE Top N programmes of 2018!

As usual at this time of year, TMINE is busily packing its bags to get ready for its annual Christmas break. We’re not there yet, though, as everything will continue until Friday. 

But barring minor miracles, unless it turns out Chicago ILLDogs of Berlin or Tideland have been cruelly overlooked, there’ll be no shows that are both new and excellent for me to review this year, which means I can at last unveil this year’s TMINE’s Top N programmes, where N is a positive integer that I’ve more or less picked at random each year. This year, N=14, you’ll be excited to hear. Can you guess what they are?

There’s certainly been some interesting new arrivals, whose presence in the Top N you’ll probably have been able to predict in advance – I’ve certainly dropped a few hints throughout the year. But there’s a few surprises in there, I think.

As always, a caveat: I’ve not watched every TV programme broadcast or acquired in the UK this year and I barely watched any live TV, so there are almost certainly some good shows that that I’ve left off the list. There’s also a show or two that got made ages ago but which never made it to the UK or my viewing queue until this year, so it’s entirely possible some quite oldies have made it onto the 2018 list. And, of course, there are a few shows that started well but I’ve not finished yet, so aren’t eligible for the list (honourable mention to the likes of Plan Cœur, for example)

So best not to think of this as the definitive “Best new TV shows from around the world of 2018″, so much as just the top “TMINE would recommend to a friend shows of the ones I’ve watched in 2018”.

As always, too, feel free to leave your own recommendations in the comments, on your own blog or on the TMINE Facebook page. Just for reference, here are previous years’ Top Ns:

And now, to the top N…

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International TV

What have you been watching? Including Jongo, Cobra Kai, Shooter and Condor

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

Gosh. Isn’t a quiet? I can’t remember when a July was this quiet for TV worldwide. I wonder what’s up?

There have been a least a few new shows for me to review in the past week. Elsewhere, I cast my eye over the first episode of What We Do In the Shadows spin-off Wellington Paranormal as well as the whole of Netflix’s first Indian original, Sacred Games.

But given the sparsity of viewing options, I had a look over Amazon to see what I could try to play catch up with. First stop was the second season of You Are Wanted. All was looking good for about a minute before I discovered that despite being an Amazon Original and despite the first season having been available with its original German dialogue, season two is only available dubbed in the UK.

FFS. No, thank you, Amazon.

Or so I thought until 10 seconds ago. Turns out that you have to specifically seek out the separate “English subtitled” version, rather than the normal version in order to get the German dialogue. Seriously, Amazon, could you not just have two audio tracks on your video?

You Are Wanted

I’ll probably watch the proper German one on holiday then.

While I was busily and inaccurately cursing Amazon, though, I did find something else to try, so after the jump, following on from TMINE’s first ever Indian show, I’ll be talking about the first African TV show TMINE’s tackled in rather a long time: Jongo. And on top of that, I finally got round to watching the rest of Cobra Kai.

However, that’s about it. I hope they’re not saving all the new shows for August when TMINE is on its holidays.

Upon which subject, this is going to be the last WHYBW for a good while, since TMINE’s holidays start next week! No reviews, no news, no slightly niche TV observations from next Monday for at least four weeks, I’m afraid. However, I’ll be back from mid-August, so although the Daily News probably won’t be back until September (on the general grounds there usually isn’t much news since everyone’s on holiday) and it’ll take me some time to play catch-up (although, thanks EU!), blogging could resume at any time from that point onwards. So stay tuned. At least from mid-August.

Normally at this point pre-holidays, I’d play my usual July game of “Can I be bothered catching up with this show when I get back?” However, all the usuals are now on the recommended list, so you can probably guess that I will definitely be catching up with Condor, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger and Shooter when I get back. Oh well, so much for that fun. Maybe next year.

Anyway, I’ll be telling you about their latest episodes after the jump, too, so see you in a mo.

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