Cobra Kai Seasons 1 & 2 – quite overrated!

Cobra Kai Seasons 1 & 2 – quite overrated!

I might be a bit late to hop on this band wagon, but oh well! I’m finally up to date on Cobra Kai, that YouTube exclusive series which recently turned into a Netflix Original. It’s a continuation of the beloved 80’s The Karate Kid movies and if it wasn’t for the resurgence it has been getting thanks to Netflix, I probably wouldn’t be talking about it today.

Surprisingly I saw the remake of the Karate Kid before seeing the original three movies when I was a young teenager. It’s been years since I watched the movies, but I do remember the original Karate Kid was the best as it’s the most simple and it’s a fun and easy Saturday night movie. Cobra Kai kind of recontextualises the old Karate Kid formula by having a bit of a role reversal with Daniel-Sun and the bully character from the first movie and making it so there is no clear good guy. When I heard this, I don’t know but it didn’t seem to grab me, maybe it’s because I’m so over nostalgic reboots of classic franchises or it’s because I’ve just started watching The Boys on Amazon Prime and that premise is kind of similar to Cobra Kai. Anyway in the end I did watch the first two seasons of Cobra Kai, so I can say it’s super overrated.

 * Fun note some minor spoilers ahead…

Cobra-Kai-Season 1
Cobra Kai – Season 1

I can’t tell you what my favourite season of this show is as they both kind of share the same problems, but for the season that gets the most right it would be Season 1. Johnny Lawrence, the main bully of the original Karate Kid, makes this show. We start off with Johnny and he’s a dead beat loser and has basically let one tournament defeat from his childhood completely crumple his whole adult life whilst his old rival, Daniel LaRusso, is living the high life. So from the get-go we’re on team Johnny. Johnny has the most going for him as he just works off every character he interacts with, he easily has the best character arc on the show and he’s also really funny. Johnny seems to be stuck in the 80’s macho bully mindset so he’s pretty much out of the loop when it comes to what’s modernly acceptable and what young people do, but since he doesn’t give a hoot about any of that it normally results in him insulting people, and it’s hilarious!

The plot for the season one is almost a rehash of the first movie. We meet Miguel, new kid on the block, likes the girl who is dating the bully, so he gets beaten up by him and his goons. Johnny trains him up so he can get the girl and go in the big tournament at the end of the season. I guess the big difference is the stuff in between like there are more supporting characters to keep track off, family drama and some stupid high school romances. You spend so much time learning about these characters when it comes to the big final showdown in the season finale, it can be kind of hard to decide who to root for and who will come off on top. Until that point most of the show is very predictable standard TV drama stuff, so it’s nice to have some change for the big epic showdown.

A fairly competent first season, nice and easy show to binge over a day or two. Nothing overly bad or stupid happens unless you count how it takes Miguel most of the season to master karate while the other kids on the show take two 20-30 minute episodes to completely master the art.

Cobra Kai Season 2
Cobra Kai – Season 2

Season 2 is thankfully less predictable than the first as the story here is more of a ticking time bomb waiting for everything to go to hell in the finale. On the downside there was plenty of things I didn’t like this season, so maybe I’ve answered my own question when I didn’t know what my favourite season was.  This season focuses way too much on the teens, I don’t care about any of them, they’re either really annoying or boring, they’re more tolerable when they’re around the older characters. Also this season needed more intersecting love triangles for some reason. You know love triangles don’t do anything for the show or characters other than to waste time and add drama for the sake of it. I never really thought much of Miguel, but a reason for that is he’s constantly being dragged down by these pointless plot devices, that the show calls love interests.

On the plus side is the adult characters and the reason why the show is good enough to keep me coming back for more. Daniel reconnecting with his past life and training some students was great. Bringing back the old Cobra Kai master, to have a mini rivalry with Johnny was a nice way to remind us how far he’s come since the now 30+ year old movie. The season finale is my favourite episode of the series with the ridiculously entertaining hallway fight with all the different karate students and it’s got a really good cliffhanger that made “stubborn, not impressed by anything” me excited enough to want to know what season 3 has to offer.

Johnny & Danny in the Dojo

Overall I guess Cobra Kai is a well made show and I’ll keep watching, but I wouldn’t say it’s great by any means. I think people were expecting it to be just another Hollywood money grabbing reboot of a childhood favourite but then it turned out it wasn’t so it got more praise than it probably deserves. That’s just my two cents on Cobra Kai, if you like it then explain why to me in the comments. I’m open to a discussion especially for The Boys, looking forward to covering that when Season 2 is complete. This is the Blog Complainer, signing out!

Cameron Black

I review stuff and hate on everything you ever loved. But I’m still a super nice guy and make pretty entertaining content.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Todd Russell

    You seem conflicted 😉 It’s “super overrated” and yet you admit to liking it and are interested in season 3 based on the ending of S2? If it was super-overrated, doesn’t that mean you think it’s not nearly as good as the reviews? And yet it’s good enough to maintain your curiosity and interest in season 3? Not criticizing, just curious how you’re connecting these dots. Rather, I think based upon the rest of your post — and this is my editor’s hat, forgive me — you meant to say it was a “little overrated” That would fit more in line with the rest of your commentary.

    I like Cobra Kai because it doesn’t follow the traditional reboot model. It checks in on the original characters years later and there is time to see the characters much more fleshed out and growing from their childhood personas. Has Daniel, with is his wealth and success, now become the somewhat out of touch villain and Johnny the down and out character who followed a false prophet that we now root for? Maybe Johnny wasn’t as bad as he seemed in the original movie after all. It’s a clever twist and one that my guess is they will continue to exploit as the series continues.

    The other possibility is that Daniel and Johnny join forces to take down the new Cobra Kai. Among my most favorite episodes in season 1 and 2 were the ones where Daniel and Johnny spent time together, talking over their past and bonding (at Daniels house in S1 and at the Mexican restaurant in S2). These guys could be great friends and allies, if they would stop letting the petty past overtake them.

  2. Cameron Black

    That’s alright, sometimes I do like to overdramatise things a bit.

    I see Cobra Kai as a very easygoing show, with the right amount of laughs and thrills to make me not want to give up on the show, but where the show fails is it doesn’t have too much to offer outside its initial premise and there is also plenty stuff going on that I just don’t care about. (Such as the teen romances.)

    I guess another reason for my mixed reaction could be the episodes are really short so it’s super easy to bash them all out in a few days. Lastly with the season 2 finale, I think it’s okay to not be too impressed with the season, but the finale had such stellar cliffhanger that you find yourself feeling curious to see where on earth is this is all going. I also felt that way with the most recent season of Rick and Morty, which I covered in a whole other post.

    Sorry for the slight confusion I hope this comment clarifies your questions. 😉

  3. Todd Russell

    It’s all good. What you like is what you like and vice verse. Personally, I feel differently toward Cobra Kai. I think it’s one of the better done TV series based on a movie in recent memory, anyway. Another TV series I enjoyed based off a movie is Dead Zone with Anthony Michael Hall.

    The older actors need those kids to have substories and fight scenes. Johnny Lawrence and Daniel can’t square off in every episode or it would all get old.

    Romance is in the DNA of the Karate Kid. Daniel couldn’t seem to find love in any of the movies (Ali, Kimako, Jessica, and so on), so it only makes sense that Cobra Kai will have romantic subplots.

    They have a lot of places they can go with this series. There are two other Karate Kid movies worth of material and characters to explore, including Ali with an “i” coming back or not coming back, there’s Okinawa and the characters over there and of course Mike Barnes and Terry Silver. Meanwhile, they need to resolve everything that happened in the season 2 cliffhanger.

    I think they wanted to stay with 5 hour seasons (10 episodes, 30 minutes per episode) to keep the season stories tighter. I appreciate that vs. adding a bunch of unnecessary padding just to say they made episodes 45 minutes to an hour each.

  4. Cameron Black

    I’m not against having the kids in show it’s just how they have chosen to keep them occupied just doesn’t interest me and I feel is the worst aspect of the show. When you started listing off characters from the Karate Kid sequels I legitimately had no idea what you’re talking about. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them and I’m not too sure if they’re ever going to bring them back because the sequels have only been briefly callbacked to only in this season, but never say never. Maybe when Elisabeth Shue comes back on the show the other two girlfriends will rock up not long after. Then the bully in the Karate Kid two befriends Johnny and the evil guy from the third reunites with Kreese. But then in the series finale where it all goes down Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan from the remake Karate Kid rock up to take on everyone and it will be like an Avengers Endgame type battle it’ll be awesome!

  5. Steve

    Just wondering how they can be white belts then next episode black belts ?

  6. Cameron Black

    That’s a good question, and it’s probably for the best to overlook that little detail. My answer for that is they’re all just really good Karate!! 😉😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.