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The Reviews Are in and ‘Cobra Kai’ is a Hit for YouTube Red

Whether you pine for nostalgia or are totally new to the franchise, there's something to like about the new series.

Youtube Cobra Kai

The Youtube Red series Cobra Kai, which catches up with the character Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) 30-years after his iconic loss to Daniel Larusso in 1984’s The Karate Kid looks to be a big hit. With the first couple of episodes racking up more than a few million views each in just under two days, the show seems to be resonating with both children of the 1980s and children of the 2010s. Want proof? Over 100,000 people searched for the series on the day of its release.

The show follows Johnny, who has become a something listless 40-something, and his efforts to open a Cobra Kai dojo in order to, among other things, get his groove back. Naturally, Daniel is around. He’s selling cars and living the good life. As Variety puts it, Cobra Kai has “the perfect amount of references and music from the original and the acid-washed 1980s where the movie reigned supreme,” as well as some “impressive casting and acting.”

USA Today writer Brian Truitt actually lauded the show as a notch above other 1980s reboots, including. Rosanne, saying it actually improves on the original material.

While The Guardian calls the show “anachronistic,” they did recognize Cobra Kai‘s self-awareness and modern humor A lot of fans seem to agree that the show might appeal to a new audience because it isn’t hokey or simplistic like the original Karate Kid script (and arguably the Jaden Smith movie reboot).

On Twitter, the hypemachine worked overtime as people celebrated the new show and waxed nostalgic — while throwing a bit of shade in the direction of YouTube Red, a venture that has not been uniformly successful for Alphabet, the Google parent company.


While the show is a big success,  Cobra Kai is also a much-needed win for the fledgling Youtube Red, Youtube’s paid content streaming service. By the end of 2016, Youtube Red only had about 1.5 million paying customers. That’s a pittance compared to the 118 million people using Netflix, or the 17 million on Hulu.