Cobra Kai forever, am I right?
Cobra Kai Season 4 has come out on Netflix, and I’ve developed an appreciation not only for the real Cobra Kai (Johnny Lawrence-style), but Miyagi-Do and everything else this amazing drama has to offer, becoming one of the best shows on Netflix. However, after I binged Season 4 of Cobra Kai way too quickly, I’m in need of another show or movie that I can watch to feel those same awesome feelings again - and if you’re here, you’re probably looking for a new show too.
Thankfully, I have a good list of both movies and shows like Cobra Kai that you can stream right now.
Warrior (HBO Max)
First off, we have Warrior, a martial arts crime drama that is set in the late 1800s. This show follows Ah Sahm, a prodigy from China who has immigrated to the United States in search of his sister, landing him in San Francisco. However, as soon as he arrives, he finds that the country isn’t as he originally thought, and he ends up getting sold into crime factions for his fighting skills.
Warrior is a great show. Some of its fight scenes are so incredibly well done and will have your eyes glued to the television for minutes on end, but what really sells it for me is the story of the main character himself, Ah Sahm. He’s a very likable protagonist and one that you’ll get hooked on instantly, much like the characters of Cobra Kai.
Into The Badlands (Netflix)
If you’re looking for a more modern show that’s come out in the last few years, check out Into the Badlands. This AMC original series takes place in a post-apocalyptic feudal land, titled, “the Badlands,” hence the title. In this place, a warrior and his student train to become the ultimate fighting masters, but as life happens, they encounter people that want to use their talents to their own advantage.
Into the Badlands is one of those shows that only ran for a short period of time, but was really good. As someone who hadn’t watched a lot of series’ that depicted martial arts very well (at least from the United States), it was great to see a show come out that showed amazing martial arts skills, on a network that was very popular with huge hit series like The Walking Dead or Breaking Bad. This is one to watch for sure for fans of Cobra Kai.
Ip Man (Amazon Prime)
Based on the martial arts movie series in China, Ip Man is all about one of the masters of Chinese kung-fu, quite literally known as Ip Man, and all about his life as a teacher and passing on his teachings to his students - most notably, one of the most famous of all time, Bruce Lee.
While this series is romanticized a bit just because it is TV, it still honors the legendary story of one of the most knowledgeable teachers in all of martial arts history, and is so entertaining from beginning to end. As a fan of Cobra Kai, I obviously loved the fighting scenes that this show had to offer, mixed in with the truly amazing story of this teacher. It makes me want to watch the movies that the series was based on.
I bet you didn’t think you’d see this one on this list. GLOW is a Netflix original series starring Alison Brie that takes place in the 1980s, and follows the real-life story of ‘Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,’ otherwise known as GLOW, and their determination to be taken seriously in the wrestling world rather than just some gimmick that was for entertainment.
While GLOW doesn’t have anything to do with martial arts, I think for fans of Cobra Kai, there are two things that stand out to me that people will like. GLOW takes place in the eighties, so you have that cool retro feeling that Cobra Kai sometimes tries to emulate while also mixing it with modern-day culture. Something I also really love about GLOW is the pure friendship that is between the fighters that work there, and how much they truly do care for each other, often reminding me of the kinship between team members in the dojos in Cobra Kai. I’m so sad the show was cancelled, and honestly, way too soon.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
Disney+ has some great original shows, and The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers is one of them. In this sports series set in the same world of the Mighty Ducks movies, the original team is now known for its skills and cuts anyone that isn’t the pinnacle of the best, including Evan Morrow. Upset over his cut, he decides to form his own hockey team, and seeks the help of Gordon Bombay, the old coach of the original Ducks.
I feel like this premise sounds quite familiar, doesn’t it? While The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers has nothing to do with martial arts, it’s very similar in what it tries to do. It takes place in the same world, has characters from the original movie that return to the show, features new characters, and has a classic underdog story. I mean, what’s not to enjoy? Plus, how can you not be impressed with how skilled these kids are on ice? I mean, I can barely wobble ice and you’re telling me they can play a whole game like this? Talk about talent.
Kung Fu Panda Series (Netflix, Amazon Rental)
Okay, okay, hear me out. The Dreamworks series, Kung Fu Panda, follows Po, a big ol’ panda who has a love for food and kung fu. But when his life is suddenly thrown upside down when he is named the Dragon Warrior, someone who is meant to do good with kung fu, it’s up to him to learn how to become the best he can be - and save everyone else when lives are threatened.
From that premise, you'd never expect this to be a kids movie series, but Kung Fu Panda is specifically targeted towards a younger generation. However, I do think fans of Cobra Kai would love this series because while it does have its moments of younger humor, there is something so sweet about Po. He’s such an easy-going protagonist who just wants to do good, and his fights of good vs evil - especially in the first movie vs Tai Lung - reminds me of many of the competitions in Cobra Kai.
Kickin’ It (Disney+)
While this may be a Disney Channel show, it’s still a great comedy if you want to watch a show like Cobra Kai that’s a little more PG. Kickin’ It tells the story of a dojo that is down on its luck and needs to try and improve its reputation. So, it’s up to its silly sensei, Rudy, to try and improve his kids form so they can kick the competition and become the best dojo around.
While Kickin’ It is not the most realistic fighting show by any means necessary, it’s still a great show to watch that you can tell is made by people who do love martial arts. The stories are entertaining and fun, and the cast itself has great chemistry that not only makes the series enjoyable for kids but also for adults. Plus, Jason Earles as sensei Rudy really steals the show.
Highlander The Series (Peacock)
If you’re looking for another fun continuation of a classic movie like Cobra Kai, check out Highlander: The Series. A continuation of the movies of the same name, we follow the hero, Duncan MacLeod, otherwise known as “Highlander,” an immortal man who has seen the worst in humanity throughout his years, and must fight between good and evil.
While it’s not as grounded as Cobra Kai, this series is full of amazing moments that will really keep you entertained. With six seasons to binge, Highlander: The Series not only provides really good fight scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat, but has a basic premise that all Cobra Kai fans can relate to - good vs evil, just like the good dojo vs the bad dojo.
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (Amazon Rental)
For another movie on this list, check out Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. In this biographical film based on the book, Bruce Lee: The Man Only I Knew by Linda Lee Cadwell (Bruce Lee’s wife), this movie takes a deep dive into the mind of Bruce Lee, from his life at home to his life as a fighter, and all the way to his rise as one of Hollywood’s most known martial artists.
What I think Cobra Kai fans will like about this movie is that it really shows the life behind the martial artist. While we do love the fighting scenes in the show and all the rivalries that occur, at the end of the day, there's more to the story. They all have struggles and personal issues to face, and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story tells that beautifully. Instead of just telling the story of Lee, I feel like this movie celebrates his life, and it’s something that all fans of martial arts, not just Cobra Kai, should watch.
Samurai Jack (HBO Max)
This is one of those TV shows that I grew up watching. Samurai Jack follows the titular character, Jack, who has a magical katana that is able to literally cut through anything. With this power, Jack sets out on a journey to free his kingdom from an ancient evil, but this only creates more issues that he has to solve, fight by fight.
While Samurai Jack is an animated series, I feel that it’s so good and definitely worth the watch for anyone who wants something really quick to binge. For fans of Cobra Kai, you have the classic good vs. evil storyline that everyone loves, alongside some expertly done fight scenes that are beautifully animated. I mean, this show was even brought back years later after it’s supposed last season because so many people liked it back then. It’s such a good one to watch.
The Karate Kid Series (Peacock)
Without it, Cobra Kai wouldn’t even exist. In The Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso is the new kid in town who gets bullied by Johnny Lawrence and his friends, members of the dojo, Cobra Kai. With the help of his apartment building’s maintenance man, Mr. Miyagi, he starts to learn the art of karate to not only take on his bullies, but become one of the best martial artists in the Valley.
Who says that you can’t spend a day re-watching The Karate Kid movies? I can’t tell you how much I love Cobra Kai when it flashes back between the original films and now, because you can really tell the love that the creators of the show poured into it and how much they respect the original movies. And with so many characters from these films popping back up in the series, it’s the perfect time to re-watch them and refresh your memory on who they are.
To be honest, this just makes me want to learn karate myself - or maybe just pop some popcorn and sit down and watch other people be badass. Regardless of how you feel, maybe now you’ll have a new show or movie to enjoy. Can Cobra Kai Season 5 come now?
Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!
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