Can Cobra Kai’s Success Be Replicated?
What Could Be The Next “Cobra Kai”?
One of the most surprising shows of the last few years was YouTube’s Cobra Kai. Continuing the story of the beloved ‘80s film, The Karate Kid, the show used original cast members to create a nostalgic, amusing, and best of all self-aware continuation of a decades-old story. Not only was the first season a smash hit, but it earned a second season, and a third is clearly on the way. The series at this point is even spawning its own comics!
Cobra Kai is perhaps a unique phenomenon in entertainment. It isn’t a sequel in the traditional sense, and it’s not merely a continuation of a show or series that has lasted through the years. It’s a story that’s been brought back to life as if the characters were real all along, and the same amount of time has passed for them as for the audience. Because it’s worked out so well though, it’s unlikely to remain unique for very long.
That is to say that it seems a borderline certainty that there will be attempts to replicate the Cobra Kai playbook And though it’s not easy to come up with films or series worthy of this sort of reboot/sequel hybrid, we’ve come up with a few that might be good candidates.
Friday Night Lights
We’ll start with an unorthodox choice, both because it’s fairly recent and because we’re referring to the series rather than the film. The TV version of Friday Night Lights was an absolutely beloved show, and has for years now been the subject of rumors, petitions, and articles begging for more material. The show had its share of football drama, but really it excelled because of its cast of characters, and the idea of seeing what they’re all up to 20 or 30 years down the road is certainly an intriguing one. It’s too soon for this idea right now, but if Friday Night Lights were to be picked up as a series in, say, 2030, it would be irresistible for a lot of fans who grew up loving the show.
Rounders has some of the cult classic-turned-mainstream hit quality that The Karate Kid had, and also – like The Karate Kid – belongs to a distinct era. In this case though, what would make a decades-later continuation particularly interesting is how much the subject matter has changed. Rounders came out at the vanguard of the poker movement of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, when the game was played in back rooms and at televised tournaments. Now, the world of poker is decidedly more digital. An endless selection of international sites and apps is available to tournament players around the world, and live-dealer gaming options have made them feel like the real thing. So, would the characters from the original be caught up in this online gaming scene today? Would they be stubbornly resisting it? It would be interesting to see how these fictional pioneers of poker would have changed with the landscape of the game itself.
Big might be the most interesting choice of all, because we already saw one of the original characters some 20 years down the line. The whole premise of this film (just as a reminder) was that a teenage boy wished to be “big” and turned into a grown man overnight (played by Tom Hanks). At the end of this iconic comedy though, he turns back into a boy. Naturally there’s a bit of an aging problem with picking this film up as a new series, because Tom Hanks himself has aged 31 years since the film’s 1988 release. Still, with a bit of good makeup and perhaps some special effects, Hanks could probably pull it off, and we could see what happened to the boy who grew up overnight after he actually grew up naturally.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ranked as one of the best teen films of all time (and by extension best rom-coms), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off may just be the ideal candidate for a Cobra Kai-like extension. It’s a legendary tale revolving around a singularly charismatic, hero-jester of a protagonist. There’s no telling how a sequel series would unfold from a plot perspective, but anything that brought Matthew Broderick’s Ferris Bueller back into the spotlight alongside friends Cameron (Alan Ruck) and Sloane (Mia Sara) would be a blast.
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