A few weeks back it was announced – much to the excitement of some ’80s tragics, this dude included – that YouTube Red had commissioned a new TV series based on John G.Avildsen’s classic series of “Karate Kid” films. Being that he still looks 21, Ralph Macchio was as confident as a hooker at a spinster’s ball to reprise his role as Daniel Larusso with ‘pop culture icon’ William Zabka (who has since spoofed his part in the 1984 film in numerous vehicles – like “Hot Tub Time Machine”) also jazzed to be back as cruel-kicking Johnny. Nice creative team behind the project too. But needless to say, the most beloved member of the “Karate Kid” family, the one we immediately think of when we hear that title, won’t be back for the series….
There’s been little to no information out there on the series, currently called “Cobra Kai”, other than the customary “We’re just so happy to be here, drinking tall fizzy drinks at the expense of YouTube…” and “with the vision of my accountant and the audio of Banamarama, we feel we can undo the injustices of the Hilary Swank one..” — well, until now.
I’ve been lucky enough to get the 411 on a couple of the first episodes of the new series – which, your Granny will be disappointed to hear, will only be accessible through “that Internet thing with the half-nekked Carsmashian girls” – and I tell you, it’s shaping up to be a blast. What sounded from the outset like a comedy is more a mix of genres – belly laughs, biffo, beauty.. and the return of some welcome fist-clenching one-on-one between the legendary adversaries of the Pepsi Generation, LaRusso and Johnny…. whatchama… him.
Here’s 10 things we know about the new “Cobra Kai” series :
1. Life has turned out peachy keen for Daniel (Macchio). He has a big time office job, top home, perfect family.
2. Like any good half-hour series, most of Dad’s dilemmas revolve around his kids. In this case, it’s eldest girl Samantha – who has started to date – that’s causing Daniel to sweat the most.
3. My Myiagi? Mentioned from time to time. Daniel uses his stories to spur dinner-table conversation and show off those skills he learnt back in Peter Cetera’s heyday.
4.Daniel’s friends (and, from what I can gather, ’employees’) at work, Anoush and Vic, seem to think they’re the voice of reason – particularly when it comes to parenting.
5. Johnny Lawrence, Daniel’s old foe, is down on his luck. Cleans septic tanks. Mistaken for a homeless man at one point he’s that desolate. Look at what you did Kreese!
6. Johnny’s not as out-and-out ‘mean’ now. He’s more ‘just leave me the f*ck alone” than ‘i’m going to beat up whoever is under that shower curtain’ these days. Suggesting he does have a heart under that belt, we’ll see that he does help those in need when they need a helping… kick.
7. The Valley has a new ring of bullies, notably ‘wrestler’ Kyler and his thug brothers. Naturally Johnny and his old Cobra Kai pals are ‘jokes’ to these young punks.
8. Kyler’s dating, of course, Samantha Larusso.
9. Johnny teaches local bullied convenience store clerk Miguel self defense at the newly recommissioned Cobra Kai. Over the course of the episodes, one expects it to expand in clientele and start to resemble the institution of it’s glory days.
10. Karate hasn’t got the best name in ‘the valley’ these days. Johnny in particular thinks it’s become somewhat of a joke – and become more about showponies and media personalities flexing their bits and bobs on TV – than a legitimately cool way to impress Elisabeth Shue. Part of the reason he wants to resurrect Cobra Kai, obviously
And that, I’m guessing, is only the tip of the iceberg – – something is going to give that will ultimately pit Daniel against Larusso again. And get us all listening to Cruel Summer again.
Look for “Cobra Kai” on YouTube Red in 2018.