The Karate Kid’s unexpected sequel series Cobra Kai has gone on to become a success story of epic proportions on Netflix. Now that season 4 is over and there’s a bit of waiting to do until season 5, we thought we’d put together some similar TV shows for you to watch while you wait.
If you’re unfamiliar, Cobra Kai picks up 34 years after the events of the original movie and finds Johnny Lawrence seeking redemption by opening his own karate dojo, and inevitably reviving his rivalry with Daniel LaRusso.
For starters, it should go without saying that if you haven’t seen the Karate Kid movies that Cobra Kai is based on, make sure you definitely check those out on Netflix. Once you’ve done that, here are some shows you Cobra Kai fans are sure to enjoy.
TV shows you should watch if you liked Cobra Kai
Martial arts takes the front seat in Kung Fu, a modern adaptation of the 1970s Kung Fu TV series. The series follows Nicky Shen, a Chinese American woman who drops out of college and takes a journey of self-discovery at an isolated monastery in China.
When she returns to her home in San Francisco she finds it overrun with crime and uses her newfound martial arts skills to clean it up. Kung Fu has plenty of epic fight sequences that will scratch that Cobra Kai itch.
If it’s the high school teen drama that drew you to Cobra Kai may I please direct your attention to All American?
The teen sports drama follows a rising football star from South L.A. who is recruited to play for a Beverly Hills high school team and finds himself bridging two very different worlds. All American is inspired by the true story of footballer Spencer Paysinger.
Into the Badlands
If you like your martial arts action with a side of fantasy and sci-fi then Into the Badlands is for you. The series is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where war has left society more reliant on melee and traditional weaponry in combat rather than firearms.
A number of barons control the lands with their army of highly-skilled warriors known as clippers. Seeking a way out of the badlands, one clipper rescues a mysterious boy who might know the way.
Sitting a bit darker than Cobra Kai, but with similar ideas, is Kingdom. Frank Grillo stars as Alvey Kulina, a retired MMA fighter who runs his own fighting gym. Here he helps the fighters at his gym overcome their own issues, which includes his two sons.
Kingdom deals with some heavy themes but is another TV series that, like Cobra Kai, explores its issues through martial arts.
For some more comedy-drama focused around a sport like Cobra Kai, look no further than GLOW. Alison Brie stars as a struggling actress who joins the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling and starts to clash with the head director.
The series is set in the ’80s so you’ll get plenty of similar vibes to the original Karate Kid, plus it deals with the personal and professional lives of those dedicated to their performance.
Wrestling shows like GLOW and Heels make for some of the most interesting sports dramas as characters attempt to deal with their identities both in the ring and outside of it. Heels takes this idea to the max by exploring the face and heel dynamic of wrestling between two brothers.
Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig star as the Spade brothers who are attempting to keep their dad’s wrestling business alive in small-town America, but who can’t keep all their personal issues out of the ring.
Ok, this one is a bit of a gamble because Bel-Air hasn’t even aired yet, but there are a few reasons Cobra Kai fans should keep an eye on it.
Bel-Air revives another beloved piece of IP after 20+ years and puts a modern spin on it. The Fresh Prince’s origin story gets rebooted with a darker and more dramatic take on Will’s story as he journey from a rough West Philadelphia neighbourhood to the prestigious mansions of Bel-Air.
If you’re keen for a new take on the nostalgic stories of your past, Bel-Air, like Cobra Kai, hits the mark.
If you’ve been through Cobra Kai and all these other TV shows here are some of the other titles on Netflix you cannot miss.