Season 1 of ‘Cobra Kai’ is a Revelation

Cobra Kai is a TV series that is a sequel to the Karate Kid films. Cobra Kai stars William Zabka as Johnny Lawrence, the bully from the original film. Johnny has fallen on hard times as the series opens, he has a dead-end job and money troubles. Despite his issues, he befriends a teenager named Miguel and re-opens the Cobra Kai dojo. 

Ralph Macchio returns as Daniel LaRusso, the hero from the films, and he seems to have it all. He is a successful owner of an automobile dealership and has a family. His relationship with his teenage daughter, Sam, might not be as good as it once was and his son displays bratty behavior.

Johnny means well and wants to do the right thing by his pupils, many of whom have problems with bullies. The local high school has a bully problem that it seems unable to handle, so he uses the methods and rules that his teacher used. The rules of Cobra Kai are strike first, strike hard, and show no mercy. 

Daniel is opposed to Johnny re-opening Cobra Kai.  Daniel does not think anything good can come of it. He also believes that nobody involved with it can be a good person, which seems a little judgmental. He does something in response to Cobra Kai re-opening that isn’t good. Even if Daniel means well, he can be hard to like at times.

Neither Johnny nor Daniel is always right. Neither one is wrong all the time.  The show could have easily made Daniel always right and Johnny always wrong, but each character being right sometimes and wrong sometimes is more interesting, in my opinion.

William Zabka and Ralph Macchio are good in this series. They do not have many scenes together but I liked the ones they had. Zolo Mariduena is good as Miguel. The relationship between Miguel and Johnny is one of the main elements of the show. The training scenes are good but I also liked the scenes of them just talking. One of those scenes has Johnny retelling the events of the Karate Kid movie from his perspective but the flashbacks show what really happened. 

There are references to the original films and there are some familiar locations seen and a familiar costume worn. Characters from the third film are briefly mentioned, too.  I think anyone can enjoy the show, even if they have not seen any of the films. The series reveals enough of Johnny and Daniel’s backstories to catch new viewers up.

The Lark Branch Library has seasons 1 and 2 of Cobra Kai available on DVD.

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