10 Shows and Movies Like Cobra Kai to Watch While You Wait for Season 5

Tanner Buchanan, Cobra Kai


Cobra Kai continues to be one of Netflix’s most popular original series, and certainly one of the most popular shows purchased (it was originally a YouTube original before Netflix salvaged it). Four Seasons The Karate Kid Sequel are out now, with Cobra Kai Season 5 is slated to premiere on September 9th, less than a year after Season 4 aired.

A little background on the series: Cobra Kai has been around since 2018 when it debuted on YouTube, but it received additional attention when it moved to Netflix after its second season. Picked up 34 years after the events of The Karate Kid movies, Cobra Kai reunites its stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka in their roles as Daniel and Johnny to explore what happens when their rivalry flares up again with their teenage children, who are also interested in karate.

Since Cobra Kai Season 5 is months away, we’ve compiled a list of shows that are similar Cobra Kai in a way – let’s face it, few shows are quite like that Cobra Kai — whether they’re focusing on the teen drama or just slapping someone in the face.

Olivia Liang, Kung Fu

Olivia Liang, kung fu

The CW

Yes, karate is Japanese and kung fu is Chinese, but The CW’s action drama kung fu has a lot more in common with Cobra Kai than just having a balanced center around the martial arts. In kung fu, a young woman named Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) uses her skills with quick kicks and powerful punches to clean up her community, and while she doesn’t defeat a rival dojo, she takes out a gang terrorizing San Francisco. Kung Fu also focuses on what it’s like to be an outsider in your own home, as Nicky’s more traditional Chinese family prefers that she not risk her life by messing with gangsters, but Nicky finds her confidence and purpose just like through the martial arts the children of Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang. –Tim Surett

Andrew Koji, warrior

Andreas Koji, warrior

David Bloomer/Cinemax

Let’s get straight to the point – you saw Miguel kick a kid through a wall and now you have an insatiable blood lust for martial arts. There’s no better show on TV for that than HBO Max warrior, an action-drama set in 1870s San Francisco, following a Chinese immigrant (Andrew Koji) who works as gang muscle in the infamous Tong Wars. That’s where the similarities between Cobra Kai and end of the warriorHowever. warrior is extremely violent, very gory and incredibly serious, and because it’s an import from its original home on Cinemax, it’s pretty grown up too. But if you’re looking for the style and grace of a human body transformed into a tornado of clenched fists and whipping feet, you’ll find it warrior. –Tim Surett

Other Recommendations:

paper tiger

paper tiger

Most of Cobra Kai is his self-confidence. Reunion with the characters of The Karate Kid Decades later, it only works when it’s both tongue-in-cheek and sentimental, mixing fun and respect for the original in an entertaining cocktail. The Movie 2020 The paper tigers It’s not based on any previous trait, but it has the same formula: three friends who trained in martial arts as children reunite many years later as middle-aged men to avenge their teacher’s death, even if their bodies t quite the buck thereon. As Cobra Kai, the film recognizes that many years have passed since these guys were badass, and pares that down for comedy. Also like Cobra Kai, there’s an intense respect for the martial arts and the characters, making it a heartfelt movie with lots of laughs. –Tim Surett

Saved by the bell

Dexter Darden, DeShawn Cavanaugh and Mario Lopez, saved by the bell

Dexter Darden, DeShawn Cavanaugh, and Mario Lopez, Saved by the bell

Casey Durkin/Peacock

If it’s some of that sweet, sweet nostalgia you’re craving, take off the gi, put on some sunglasses, put on a collar, chisel those dimples and head to Bayside High for the sequel to the ’80s – and 90 series Saved by the bell. As Cobra Kai, it follows the characters from the original series years later (Zack is Governor of California!) as well as a new generation of high schoolers who realize the older characters can’t stop living in the past. It also pokes fun at the original by pointing out some of the show’s traits that haven’t held up well over time. Almost all of the original gang reprise their roles in some form. –Tim Surett

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changer

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changer

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changer

Disney/Liane Hentscher

In the mood for another show that’s the sequel to a movie that hit theaters decades ago? Disney+’s The Mighty Ducks: Game Changer follows the same path as Cobra Kai, which brings us up to speed on what’s going on with the Mighty Ducks’ youth hockey program, and of course Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), the coach from the original films. Lauren Graham plays the mother of a young hockey player who is cut off by the Ducks, who have turned into an elite powerhouse. See? It’s something like that Cobra Kai with all the script turning! It’s much healthier than Cobra Kai, but is also surprisingly funny and a real charmer. –Tim Surett



Jackie Tohn, Marianna Palka, Rebekah Johnson

Ali Goldstein/Netflix

When it comes to charming shows with ’80s nostalgia and subtly poignant commentary, you can’t go wrong with the absolutely badass Netflix Original GLOW. A fictional story based on the real-life Reagan-era Ladies Wrestling League, GLOW plays an ensemble led by Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin. As Ruth “Zoya the Destroya” Wilder and Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan, Brie and Gilpin portray actors whose ambitions have been thwarted by institutional sexism and personal choices. Both Brie and Gilpin — jointly nominated for a Golden Globe, Emmys, and Critics Choice Award — make the show’s accomplished blend of lightheartedness and serious drama look easy, and they’re just two of many great performers who make the unforgettable characters of the Series come alive. Each of the three seasons gets better and more satisfying as the episodes progress.

To the wasteland

Daniel Wu, Into the Wasteland

Daniel Wu, To the wasteland

Aidan Monaghan/AMC

Want to see more of karate and less of the kid? This action-adventure series ran for three seasons on AMC and follows a warrior, Sunny (Daniel Wu) and a young boy, MK (Aramis Knight), as they embark on a journey to find true enlightenment. Heavy on martial arts and formulas from this genre, To the wasteland Of course, his companions had to fight many, many enemies along the way as they trudge through a post-apocalyptic landscape that is the result of centuries of war. Full of warlords, mystics and magic, To the wasteland is packed with cinematic fight choreography and intriguing conflicts that make it a compelling drama.

friday night lights

friday night lights

friday night lights

NBC/Getty Images

friday night lights ran from 2006 to 2011, but this oldie remains a goodie. It’s about high school football in Texas, where high school football is everything, but it’s also about community, duty and the sometimes suffocating ties that bind. Kyle Chandler is a fucking icon as Coach Taylor, a contradictory family man who does his best to make the Dillon Panthers prevail at all costs; Connie Britton stars as his wife/adviser Tami Taylor; and Taylor Kitsch never fails to deserve our love as Tim Riggins, the talented athlete struggling with alcohol and problems at home. It’s way more intense than Cobra Kai but is just as popular as the portrait of a community around a sport.

Teenage bounty hunters

Anjelica Bette Fellini, Kadeem Hardison and Maddie Phillips, Teenage Bounty Hunters

Anjelica Bette Fellini, Kadeem Hardison and Maddie Phillips, Teenage bounty hunters


True to its name, this dramedy follows two high schoolers who become teenage bounty hunters. In the beginning, Sterling (Maddie Phillips) and Blair (Anjelica Bette Fellini) are normal teenage twins doing normal teenage twin things when they accidentally get a job nabbing fugitives to make money. With Orange is the new black‘s Jenji Kohan as producer, the series has this wacky vibe that you can’t turn away from, even when it’s completely off the hook. Yet how Sterling and Blair balance crazy adventures with standard coming-of-age rites like dating and school, just like Cobra Kai, TBH remains lovable and sometimes excellent.

Kick it


Disney XD

If you liked it Cobra Kai for its family-friendly version of a dojo in a mall, then wait until you get a lot… of this family-friendly Disney series about kids doing karate in a dojo in a mall! Running on Disney XD from 2011 to 2015, Kick it was a half-hour comedy series about a group of kids who hack and kick their way through life and friendship classes. Of course, its mousy home network means this one is a little less gritty and a lot more PG than cobra Kaibut the basic appeals are very similar.

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