It may be hard to believe that one of Netflix’s most popular shows debuted as a YouTube Original, but just like its unlucky characters, Cobra Kai is a survivor. While the YouTube Premium service is seen as an expensive way to keep ads from interrupting a playlist these days, it had its own list of original content for a few years. Those familiar with YouTube’s programming might be quick to dismiss it, but while most never achieved the kind of popularity seen by heavy hitters on other streaming services, many have still been well received. Why Cobra Kai survived to fight again on another service when other critically acclaimed shows didn’t, might be more mysterious than the secrets of Miyagi-Do Karate.
There may be several reasons why it prevailed over its peers, starting with the intrinsic benefit of nostalgia. The Karate Kid the films had been popular in the 1980s, spawning a series of cartoons, novels, and a video game. The story of a bullied teenager who was empowered by the secrets of karate has left an indelible impact on popular culture. In the 2000s and early 2010s, as 1980s nostalgia reached its peak, popular shows such as how I Met Your Mother re-evaluated the script and said it was William Zabka’s antagonist, Johnny Lawrence, who was the real victim.
However, nostalgia is not enough to ensure the success of a property. In a crowded field of revivals, some more successful than others, Cobra Kai stands out from crit bombs like the sex and the city to restart, And just like that. First, there’s a real angle to explore that opens up endless storytelling possibilities. Johnny’s displeasure with the way his life has turned out is something many people frustrated with recent difficult times can relate to. People turn to nostalgia to ease the pain of the present, and Johnny trying to relive his glory days as a karate champion is no different from viewers who associate the movies and TV shows they enjoyed in their childhood to simpler and happier times.
Cobra Kai is not a mere revival of the Karate Kid franchise but incorporates the clever twist of Lawrence of Zabka being one that viewers can relate to and cheer for. In an early scene in the series, he tells his young student, Miguel, how the events of the first Karate Kid the movie happened from his perspective, and that makes Ralph Macchio’s Daniel LaRusso the real bully. Neither are villains, but co-protagonists who often come to blows over juvenile misunderstandings. Most of the antagonists in the film series, such as Karate Kid 2is Chozen or Karate Kid 3Mike Barnes, were also brought back as morally upright men with depth of character and regret for their past actions.
Finally, there’s the young cast of teen stars such as Miguel de Xolo Maridueña and Tory de Peyton List, who have no attachment to the previous film series but are compelling characters in their own right and can appeal to younger audiences. who doesn’t know the movies. Although nostalgia drives initial interest, if a show lacks quality it may not maintain good ratings once the novelty wears off, but Cobra Kai involved several generations since its distribution is representative of all ages. The cast may be huge, but it never feels crowded, as nearly every cast member has a storyline that has room to breathe.
By the time Cobra Kai was picked up for its third season by Netflix, the show was a cultural phenomenon. The success of the Karate Kid The revival had exceeded expectations, and as YouTube refocused its premium service to be more focused on particular benefits than original content, Netflix was more than willing to grab it. That gamble paid off, with the hit show often ranking number one on its adopted streaming home. Most of YouTube’s original programming is now unfairly forgotten, but much like the unlikely story of how Daniel LaRusso became the All-Valley Champion, Cobra Kai shone on its competition. Cobra KaiThe fifth season of is now available on Netflix.