“Cobra Kai” Falls Flat And Below Expectations After Five Seasons 

By Michela Arlia 


    Season five of the action packed Netflix original “Cobra Kai” was released Sept. 9 after almost a year of anticipation from fans. While the general consensus is another stellar performance in a stellar season, it realistically poses a question of how much is too much? 

    The show originated as a series on YouTube and was then picked up by the streaming moguls after season two in 2020. Despite the show’s success on its original platform, YouTube noted the switch came as a result of the platform wanting to distance itself from scripted originals to focus on content from creators. 

    The plot carries over from the classic 80s movie “The Karate Kid,” starring Ralph Macchio and William Zobka, who both have continued their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence in the new series. Season five also reintroduced a familiar face from the second installment of the original movie franchise, Yuji Okumoto, who originally played LaRusso’s enemy Chozen in the second “Karate Kid” movie but now is more friend than foe. 

    The story picks up right off the tails of season four, when a showdown between dojos results in Daniel and Johnny losing a bet to Terry Silver, the protagonist in the series played by Thomas Ian Griffith. Daniel and Johnny were forced to close their dojos after Silver’s dojo, Cobra Kai, consistently beat them out for the title of best in the valley. 

    After five seasons and three movies, the action seems ever redundant and highly anticipated, and the acting seems to dangerously toe the line with that of  amateur or dare I say it, corny skills. 

    What becomes confusing is seeing most of these same actors in other projects of theirs, and their execution in these other roles are great. But somehow, coming together for this particular show seems to not work. Putting the acting aside, the choice in background music is off putting. I know they mean well by using instrumental pieces as background to further enhance the anticipation of a scene, but it all seems misplaced. Very comparable to music in soaps at times, it makes you want to giggle more than believe the intensity being portrayed. 

    There is something about beating the dead horse while it’s already down that doesn’t strike well, and it seems as though the show only exists for the fans. The storyline drags out and just when you think the rivalry has ended, and the heroes come out on top, another one begins. 

    I ask myself two questions while watching and those are often “just how many times can you really have a karate throw down in a 23-minute episode” and most likely following this is the question of “why am I still watching this?” 

    I knew of the franchise movies well before this sort of reboot. When news first dropped that the television version would be made, I was more than interested to see the re-creation of a classic. But that excitement fell quickly. I’ve come to learn that in the entertainment world, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. 

    The lack of creativity within the entertainment industry radiates in projects such as this, where the main focus is to build off of things that already exist. Instead, channeling energy into totally new ideas could allow for an innovative breakthrough in movies and television. 

    Now I will say, when done right, these reboots and continuations are exquisite, such as “Topgun: Maverick” which became a summer blockbuster and I would argue was better than the original. It seems as though “Cobra Kai” initially got the ball rolling in this same fashion, but as the seasons passed, they missed the mark.