When it was first announced a few months ago, quite a number of reactors online were leery at the concept of “Cobra Kai”, a YouTube Red TV series spinoff of the venerable 80s franchise “The Karate Kid”, and focusing on the now-adult rival characters Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence as reprised by their respective actors Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. Part of the reason was the plot concerning Johnny reopening the Cobra Kai karate dojo which taught its students to be bullies. Remarkably, the May 8 premiere of “Cobra Kai” was positively received, enough for YouTube Red to renew it.
Entertainment Weekly has it that YouTube Red, the paid subscription service of video streaming giant YouTube, has announced on Thursday May 10 that they have renewed “Cobra Kai” for a season 2, following a magnificent showing of its inaugural ten episodes in viewer reviews. In fact, as of this writing the series has a 100% approval rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, while its first episode, which is free to view along with episode 2, now clocks at over 20 million YouTube views. This is good news considering how the surprise cliffhanger finale of “Cobra Kai” played out.
YouTube global head of original content Susanne Daniels tells The Hollywood Reporter, “This series had all of the right elements from the very beginning — compelling characters, a storied rivalry and the talented original stars.” She also noted how audience received the twist in that the former antagonist from the films is now the viewpoint protagonist. YouTube Red, Sony Pictures Television, Hurwitz & Schlossberg Productions and Overbrook Entertainment will commence production of the second season, also billed at 10 episodes, late in the year, with a planned release sometime in 2019.
“Cobra Kai” follows Johnny Lawrence 30 years after the events of the first “Karate Kid” movie, a divorced deadbeat dad who is inspired by rescuing a bullying victim to reopen the eponymous Cobra Kai dojo with him taking in similar bully magnets and teaching them the aggressive style of karate from his youth. This attracts the scrutiny of Daniel LaRusso, now a successful car dealership owner who feels himself at a spiritual crossroads after the death of his sensei Mr. Miyagi. Tying their stories together are their respective children, who are caught in the middle of a decades-old grudge and the storm of neighborhood bullying at the root of it.
In the season finale “Mercy”, the twists to the “Karate Kid” mythos come to a head with the Miyagi karate-ka – Johnny’s own estranged son taught by Daniel – being beaten by Cobra Kai; but the ending scene takes a sinister undertone with the unexpected return of Johnny’s sensei Kreese (Martin Kove).
Photo courtesy of variety.com