There were four Karate Kid movies plus a Karate Kid reboot, and yet I guess there’s still more to say for a series movies where people learn karate to beat up bullies. YouTube has announced that they’ve ordered the 10-episode half-hour comedy series Cobra Kai, which will reunite the stars of the original The Karate Kid, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka. The series is set to debut in 2018.
Per the press release, “Thirty years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now successful Daniel LaRusso (Macchio), who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi. The show is about two men addressing past demons and present frustrations the only way they know how: through karate.”
To be fair, I think a comedy is probably the best route to go with this kind of series. It’s already kind of silly to bring Macchio and Zabka back together, and there’s good material to have two middle-aged dudes bickering over karate. Additionally, they’ve got solid talent behind the scenes with Josh Heald (Hot Tub Time Machine) working alongside Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg (Harold and Kumar). Hurwitz and Schlossberg will direct the bulk of the series.
The question then becomes if the series is good enough to get people to sign up for a YouTube Red subscription. YouTube would be wise to put out the first episode for free for all of YouTube and see if that can entice viewers to pony up for the rest of the season.
Also, if you’re wondering why the series is called Cobra Kai instead of a variation on Karate Kid, YouTube global head of originals Susanne Daniels explains, “If The Karate Kid was Daniel’s story, Cobra Kai is equal parts Daniel and Johnny’s story. Also because this is a series and not a movie, we really wanted to reimagine how the story was told. Changing the name made sense as part of that.”