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.
Cobra Kai – season twoCobra 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.Continue reading “Review: Cobra Kai – season two (YouTube)”