Title screen from the first episode
|Based on||The Karate Kid film series|
by Robert Mark Kamen
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22–36 minutes|
|Original network||YouTube Premium|
|Picture format||4K (UHDTV)|
|Original release||May 2, 2018– present|
|Official YouTube Channel|
Cobra Kai is an American comedy-drama web television series, based on The Karate Kid film series created by Robert Mark Kamen, that premiered on May 2, 2018, on YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium). The series was created by Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg, and Josh Heald and stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka, reprising their roles from the films, who also serve as co-executive producers. It takes place 34 years after the original film and follows the reopening of the Cobra Kai karate dojo by Johnny Lawrence and the rekindling of his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso. On May 10, 2018, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a second season of ten episodes that is set to premiere in 2019.
- 1 Premise
- 2 Cast and characters
- 3 Episodes
- 4 Production
- 5 Release
- 6 Reception
- 7 Soundtrack
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Cobra Kai takes place 34 years after the original film and follows a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence, who seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now successful Daniel LaRusso, 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."
Running parallel to the conflict are the story arcs of Johnny's and Daniel's students. Johnny opens a new Cobra Kai dojo that attracts a group of bullied nerds and social outcasts who find a camaraderie and self-confidence under his tutelage, but who take his aggressive philosophy too far, in particular his star pupil, Miguel Diaz. In contrast, Johnny's estranged son, Robby Keene, comes under the wing of Daniel, who hires the boy at his car dealership, initially not knowing that Johnny is his father. Daniel eventually proves a positive influence to the boy, teaching him Mr. Miyagi's philosophy of balance. Meanwhile, Daniel's daughter, Samantha, is caught in the middle of these conflicts as she learns who her true friends are and a better path to follow.
Cast and characters
- Joe Seo as Kyler
- Jacob Bertrand as Eli "Hawk" Moskowitz
- Nichole Brown as Aisha Robinson
- Connor Murdock as Kev
- Griffin Santopietro as Anthony LaRusso
- Hannah Kepple as Moon
- Gabe Bowles as Tim
- Owen Morgan as Bert
- Annalisa Cochrane as Yasmine
- Gianni Decenzo as Demetri
- Cameron Markeles as Frank
- Denzel K Williams as Caleb
- Bo Mitchell as Brucks
- Bret Ernst as Louie LaRusso Jr.
- Dan Ahdoot as Anoush
- Jonathan Mercedes as A.J.
- Susan Gallagher as Lynn
- Kwajalyn Brown as Sheila
- Terayle Hill as Trey
- Ed Asner as Sid Weinberg
- Vanessa Rubio as Carmen Diaz
- Rose Bianco as Rosa Diaz
- Diora Baird as Shannon Keene
- Erin Bradley Dangar as Counselor Blatt
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Ace Degenerate"||Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg||Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg||May 2, 2018|
|Thirty-four years after losing to Daniel LaRusso in the 1984 All Valley Under-18 Karate Championship, Johnny Lawrence struggles to make a living as a handyman while Daniel runs a successful car dealership chain in the San Fernando Valley. One night, Johnny saves his teenage neighbor Miguel Diaz from a group of bullies at a nearby strip mall before he is arrested for assaulting them. After being released from police custody, Johnny gets a visit from his wealthy, bullying stepfather Sid Weinberg. Sid gives Johnny a check and officially disowns him. A drunk Johnny drives to the All Valley Sports Arena and relives his last encounter with his former sensei John Kreese when his car is wrecked in a hit-and-run incident. Despite his protests, his car is towed to one of Daniel's dealerships for repairs. The next day, he goes to the dealership in an attempt to take the car back, only to run into Daniel. The meeting not only reignites Johnny's smouldering enmity for Daniel but he also finds out that Daniel's daughter Samantha was one of the passengers in the hit-and-run incident. He returns home and tells Miguel that he will be his sensei and opens his own Cobra Kai dojo with the money he received from Sid.|
|2||"Strike First"||Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg||Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg||May 2, 2018|
|Miguel begins his karate training with Johnny bullying him for his asthma and low self-esteem. Johnny is informed by the health department that the dojo needs a lot of work before he can officially teach students. Meanwhile, Daniel and his wife Amanda get into an argument after Daniel scolds Samantha for inviting her friends over to their home for a pool party without their permission. Reconciling with his daughter, Daniel finds out that Samantha is romantically interested in a boy called Kyler and offers to invite him to a family dinner. At school, Miguel befriends two social outcasts named Dimitri and Eli. During lunch, they talk about the rich girls Samantha hangs out with and discover that Kyler is one of the bullies who attacked Miguel a few nights ago. Johnny is informed that his son, Robby Keene, has been caught with drugs at school. During dinner, Daniel notices Kyler's bruises and learns that he received his injuries from Johnny. Kyler however, lies about why Johnny attacked him and Daniel goes to the dojo to confront Johnny over the incident.|
|3||"Esqueleto"||Jennifer Celotta||Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg||May 2, 2018|
|Johnny tries to recruit more students to the dojo and Daniel decides to chaperone Samantha to the school Halloween dance. Miguel's karate training is stepped up as Johnny urges him to use the Cobra Kai creed of "Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy" in his everyday life and gives him a skeleton costume for the Halloween dance. Daniel embarrasses his daughter Samantha during the dance and Miguel overhears Kyler and his friends talking about Samantha as a sex object. Miguel attacks Kyler, but he is overpowered and severely beaten by the bullies. Johnny, who has been at the school handing out flyers for Cobra Kai finds Miguel in the bathroom and takes him home to his mother Carmen, who warns him to stay away from her son.|
|4||"Cobra Kai Never Dies"||Jennifer Celotta||Story by : Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg |
Teleplay by : Jason Belleville
|May 2, 2018|
|Robby learns of the new dojo and is embarrassed by his father's recruitment methods. Meanwhile, a LaRusso Auto billboard is vandalized and evidence leads Daniel to suspect Johnny as the culprit. Samantha sees Kyler bullying Dmitri and Eli by mocking Eli's deformity and throwing Dmitri's backpack in the trash. Kyler and Samantha go to a theater where he aggressively attempts to coerce Samantha into having sex, but she embarrasses him in front of everyone and leaves, making him furious. Johnny tries to confront Robby after he learns that his son has been skipping school. When Johnny tells him not to throw his life away, Robby rejects him and points out that Johnny left him as a child and that Johnny's own life is wasted. After seeing a father eating with his young son, Johnny pleads for Carmen to let him continue Miguel's training, vowing not to fail him again. When Miguel comes back, Johnny tells him to work on his defense and counter attacks.|
|5||"Counterbalance"||Josh Heald||Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg||May 2, 2018|
Miguel shows improvement in both his karate skills and his general health. Daniel tries to make a shady deal that could shut down Cobra Kai, but hurts innocent business owners in the process. Samantha's heavy-set classmate Aisha Robinson joins Cobra Kai, despite Johnny's initial misgivings about training girls. Samantha discovers that Kyler has been spreading nasty rumors about her in school. When Kyler embarrasses her at school, Miguel stands up for her and attacks him and his friends, defeating them all in an impressive display and gaining Samantha's respect. Robby decides to try and reconcile with his father, but when he sees Johnny acting in a fatherly way with Miguel, he feels he has been replaced. Amanda notices the changes in Daniel's behavior since the reopening of Cobra Kai, leading Daniel to visit the grave of Mr. Miyagi to reflect and ask for wisdom. As Daniel begins to drive away, he recalls a discussion he had with Miyagi about maintaining balance in life, not just karate. Some more new students flock to Johnny's dojo after seeing Miguel's fight.Note: This episode is dedicated in memory of Noriyuki "Pat" Morita.
|6||"Quiver"||Josh Heald||Story by : Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg,|
Joe Piarulli, & Luan Thomas
Teleplay by : Joe Piarulli & Luan Thomas
|May 2, 2018|
|Daniel tries unsuccessfully to persuade Samantha to take up karate again. The footage of Miguel's fight at school goes viral and brings many new students to the Cobra Kai dojo, but Johnny cannot suppress his old ways and bullies them, embarrassing Eli in front of the entire class. Thanks to Miguel, Johnny is forced to remember what it was like for him as an outcast with an uncaring stepfather before discovering Cobra Kai. The next day, Johnny admits that he has been tough and cruel to his remaining students, but refuses to apologize, telling them that life is not fair and they must overcome the challenges that life will throw at them. Eli returns to the dojo with a distinctive mohawk haircut, which makes Johnny nickname him "Hawk". Meanwhile, Robby gets a job at LaRusso Auto with the sole intention of making his father mad and Miguel and Samantha slowly become friends at school. Robby finally decides he wants to learn karate under Daniel's tutelage after seeing him practice his karate forms.|
|7||"All Valley"||Steve Pink||Story by : Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg,|
& Stacey Harman
Teleplay by : Stacey Harman
|May 2, 2018|
|Johnny uses painful methods to train his new students. Miguel asks Johnny for advice on girls and Johnny manages to give him a boost of confidence which leads to Miguel asking Samantha out on a successful date. Johnny tries to enter Cobra Kai in the All Valley karate tournament only to learn the dojo is banned for life due to the transgressions committed in the 1985 tournament by John Kreese, Terry Silver and Mike Barnes. When Johnny goes to the meeting of the athletic committee to try to persuade them to reverse the ban, he is opposed by Daniel, who is a committee member. Johnny tells the committee that his teachings are different from those of Kreese and Silver, revealing that Kreese himself is dead. He says that he has learned from his past mistakes and that his dojo is now a place where people who get bullied are taught self confidence and how to stand up for themselves. The committee is convinced by what seems to be Johnny's genuine sincerity and allows Cobra Kai to compete, which infuriates Daniel. Meanwhile, despite initially agreeing to help his friends sneak inside the dealership at night, Robby stops them from doing so using his karate skills and a security camera.|
|8||"Molting"||Steve Pink||Story by : Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, Hayden Schlossberg,|
Stacey Harman, & Michael Jonathan Smith
Teleplay by : Michael Jonathan Smith
|May 2, 2018|
|Despite Daniel's strong objections, the All Valley Sports Karate Board decides that Cobra Kai is allowed to compete in the karate tournament, so Johnny steps up his game with additional training and unconventional methods. Daniel's family learns about Cobra Kai being in the tournament, and only Samantha thinks that Cobra Kai has changed because of Miguel. Daniel's cousin Louie decides to take action. Johnny warns Miguel about Samantha and the LaRusso family, telling him about how Daniel involved himself in his past relationship with Ali Mills in 1984. While skateboarding to Daniel's house, Robby meets Samantha. Johnny is invited by Carmen for dinner, where he learns more about Miguel's family. Daniel bonds closer with Robby, but Robby refuses to divulge the info about his father. Miguel works up the confidence to go to Daniel's house even though Daniel hates Cobra Kai to introduce himself as Samantha's boyfriend in order to ease the conflict between Johnny and Daniel. When Miguel goes to Daniel's house, he sees Samantha and Robby bonding, leaving him heartbroken. Louie and his thugs destroy Johnny's car before Johnny defeats them and heads off to confront Daniel.|
|9||"Different but Same"||Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg||Story by : Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg |
Teleplay by : Jason Belleville
|May 2, 2018|
|Johnny arrives at the LaRusso residence to confront Daniel over Louie destroying his car, but Amanda quickly defuses the situation by inviting Johnny over for breakfast. Daniel decides to fire Louie and compensate Johnny with a car in the dealership's trade-in lot. Daniel and Johnny then bond together during the test drive where they visit Daniel's old apartment and reveal their stories before they met. Meanwhile, Samantha is grounded after Amanda learns she was previously involved in the hit-and-run incident with Johnny, causing her to miss many calls from Miguel. Meanwhile, Aisha gets several kids in school to attend a party at the park ahead of Yasmine's planned birthday party. Robby breaks Samantha out and they head to the party, but a drunk Miguel confronts Robby and accidentally hits Samantha during the scuffle, causing her to think all her father's words about Cobra Kai are true. Johnny drives Daniel back to his home when they see Robby, which infuriates Johnny upon learning that his son has been learning karate from Daniel. Feeling conned by Robby's dishonesty, Daniel fires him and kicks him out of his home.|
|10||"Mercy"||Jon Hurwitz & Hayden Schlossberg||Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, & Hayden Schlossberg||May 2, 2018|
|Cobra Kai returns to the 50th Anniversary All Valley Under-18 Karate Championship with a full team led by Miguel. Robby participates, unaffiliated with any dojo. Miguel and Hawk advance to the semifinals. Aisha is eliminated in the quarterfinals, but she and Samantha reconcile. Hawk is disqualified for dislocating Robby's shoulder with a kick from behind. After arguing with Miguel, Samantha leaves the tournament and heads back to the family dojo. Daniel assists Robby back into the ring; this time, as his coach. Miguel exploits Robby's injured shoulder to win the match. Johnny comes to the realization that his methods have corrupted Miguel. After the match, Daniel takes Robby to Mr. Miyagi's old home and reveals that he plans to use it as a dojo to continue Robby's training and teach others Miyagi-do karate in order to deal with the Cobra Kai. Meanwhile, at the Cobra Kai dojo, a drunk and miserable Johnny is confronted by a shadowy figure, revealed to be Kreese, praising him for getting Cobra Kai back on top again.|
On August 4, 2017, it was announced that YouTube had given the production a series order to consist of a first season of ten half hour episodes. The series was set to be written and executive produced by Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz, and Hayden Schlossberg. Hurwitz and Schlossberg will direct multiple episodes of the first season. The trio will be joined as executive producers by James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett of Overbrook Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures Television.
On May 10, 2018, it was announced that YouTube had renewed the series for a second season consisting of ten episodes. Production is set to begin in late 2018 with the season premiering in 2019.
Alongside the initial series announcement, it was reported that William Zabka and Ralph Macchio were cast in the series' lead roles reprising their characters of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, respectively, from the original film. On October 24, 2017, the rest of the main cast was announced and included Xolo Maridueña, Mary Mouser, Tanner Buchanan, and Courtney Henggeler. It was also reported that Ed Asner would be appearing in a guest role as Sid Weinberg described as "Johnny’s reluctant stepfather, an old-school, hard-nosed, former studio mogul, who is tired of dealing with his stepson’s failures." On December 19, 2017, it was reported that Vanessa Rubio had joined the series in a recurring capacity.
On May 24, 2018, it was announced that Martin Kove would reprise his role of John Kreese as a series regular in season two after previously making a cameo appearance in the role in the season one finale. Additionally, it was confirmed that Ralph Macchio, William Zabka, Xolo Mariduena, Tanner Buchanan, Mary Mouser, and Courtney Henggeler would return for the second season. In October 2018, it was reported that Paul Walter Hauser and Peyton List had been cast in recurring roles in season two.
Principal photography for the first season began in October 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Filming took place at various locations throughout that month at places including Union City, Marietta, and the Briarcliff Campus of Emory University. In November 2017, shooting moved to locales such as the North Atlanta Soccer Association Tophat fields in East Cobb. In December 2018, the production was working out of Marietta and Conyers. Various exterior shots were also filmed in parts of Los Angeles such as Tarzana and Encino. Exterior locations included Golf N' Stuff in Norwalk and the South Seas Apartments in Reseda, both of which were originally featured in The Karate Kid.
Principal photography for season two began in September 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia with filming taking place at Pinewood Atlanta Studios. In October 2018, production continued at Pinewood Atlanta Studios with shooting also occurring in Marietta. In November 2018, the series was filming in Union City. In December 2018, shooting transpired at the closed Rio Bravo Cantina restaurant in Atlanta.
In January 2018, the series was promoted at the annual Television Critics Association's winter press tour where YouTube's global head of original content Susanne Daniels described the show saying, "It is a half an hour format but I would call it a dramedy. I think it leans into the tone of the movies in that there are dramatic moments throughout. I think it’s very faithful really in some ways to what the movie set about doing, the lessons imparted in the movie if you will. It’s next generation Karate Kid."
On February 15, 2018, YouTube released the first teaser trailer for the series. On March 1, 2018, a second teaser trailer was released. A week later, a third teaser trailer was released. On March 21, 2018, the official trailer was released which included the announcement that the show would premiere on May 2, 2018.
The series held its world premiere on April 24, 2018 at the SVA Theatre in New York City, New York during the annual Tribeca Film Festival. Following the screening a discussion was held with writers, directors, and executive producers Hayden Schlossberg, Jon Hurwitz, and Josh Heald and series stars and co-executive producers William Zabka and Ralph Macchio.
On April 25, 2018, YouTube partnered with Fathom Events for special screenings of the first two episodes of the series at around 700 movie theaters across the United States. The event also included a screening of the original film.
The series has been met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season holds a 100% approval rating with an average rating of 7.44 out of 10 based on 41 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Cobra Kai continues the Karate Kid franchise with a blend of pleasantly corny nostalgia and teen angst, elevated by a cast of well-written characters." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 72 out of 100 based on 11 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
YouTube has reported that the first episode, which was posted for free along with episode two, had been viewed 5.4 million times within the first 24 hours. While it was noted that the response had been, in part, a result of YouTube releasing the episode for free, it was noted by Cinema Blend's Britt Lawrence that, "YouTube Red's new series debuted to numbers that should make rival streaming services take notice." By October 30, 2018, ahead of the second-season premiere, YouTube was promoting the report that the first episode had then been viewed over 50 million times.
Awards and nominations
|2018||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Summer TV Show||Cobra Kai||Nominated|||
|Choice Summer TV Star||Xolo Maridueña||Nominated|
|Imagen Awards||Best Young Actor – Television||Xolo Maridueña||Nominated|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Stunt Coordination for a Comedy Series or Variety Program||Hiro Koda||Nominated|||
(Score from the Original Series)
|Soundtrack album by |
& Zach Robinson
|Released||May 4, 2018|
|Label||Madison Gate Records|
All music composed by Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson.
|1.||"Awake the Snake"||2:06|
|5.||"Father and Son"||0:38|
|7.||"The All-Valley Tournament"||3:34|
|8.||"A Badass Name for a Dojo"||0:37|
|13.||"Speak Up, Lip"||0:57|
|14.||"Stone vs. Diaz"||1:40|
|16.||"You Earned It"||0:51|
|21.||"The Wrong Path"||1:58|
|23.||"The Cobra and the Mongoose"||1:19|
|27.||"The New Champion"||1:37|
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