Netflix

Sweep The Leg! Is ‘Cobra Kai’ Spinoff-Worthy?

Showrunners for Cobra Kai want to make a spinoff of the series. But can this YouTube-turned-Netflix original really support a spinoff, or will it just bust at season 4?
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This month, the third season of Cobra Kai dropped on Netflix, and to say fans were excited was an understatement. Always good with pulling out the nostalgia for a new audience (we’re looking at you, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Netflix didn’t disappoint with this new series, or season.

But now the showrunners have a lot coming up for them. Can Cobra Kai carry another season of the show… and maybe even a spinoff? Ambitious goals are coming out of Netflix. Let’s see if they even stand a chance.

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Netflix bought, not created, the series

A lot of people don’t realize that Netflix didn’t create Cobra Kai from thin air. You can log onto Netflix right now and watch all 3 seasons from start to finish–in fact, when I logged in myself this morning, it was right there on the front page!

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However, Netflix purchased the rights to Cobra Kai, along with buying the third season, from YouTube Premium.

YouTube Premium is still a relatively unwatched platform. It functions sort of like YouTube and broadcast TV had a baby. If you’ve got YouTube Premium, or YouTube Red as it was called when I signed up, you can navigate to the left on the main page and click Originals. There, TV shows, the Streamy Awards, exclusive music releases, and more all live.

Despite being a paying member of Premium for years, their original content didn’t even make my radar until recently. However, in my opinion, this shows that Netflix doesn’t just create great content, but they can identify and foster it as well. They saw an opportunity and they took it, and now they’re running with it.

Season 4 is already in the works

Netflix does not play when it comes to its successful series. Despite not running on a traditional TV schedule, this media streaming giant is pretty good about getting content out in a timely manner.

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It should be no surprise to anyone, then, that season 4 of this show is already well under way.

John Heald, best known for co-writing Hot Tub Time Machine, couldn’t be more excited about the success of the show – or what the future has in store for it. In an interview with PopCulture, he said that they hope to have season 4 made in “early 2021,” but he’s unsure of when given pandemic delays and struggles.

Heald said that a lot of things they previously filmed on-location or just outside in general needed to be created on a set instead. No surprise, that was their biggest priority, “…getting our ducks in a row so that everything looks good, we can begin…”

But that’s not the only thing Heald has in store. He has much bigger aspirations for the Cobra Kai universe than just another season at Netflix.

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Josh Heald and team want a spinoff series

“Our hope is that we can really expand this whole Karate Kid universe and reinvigorate the fanbase, so that it’s a story we can continue telling,” co-showrunner and executive producer Hayden Schlossberg told TVLine this week. Schlossberg is best known for his work on the Harold & Kumar films, as well as the American Reunion films, so he’s no stranger to spinoffs and continuing storylines.

Heald said much the same thing. “The hope is that these characters are in a place that could lead to more stories down the road,” he stated. “We love the show Breaking Bad, for example. We love how that story concluded, but you’re still living in that Breaking Bad universe. The same can be said for Cobra Kai down the road.”

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These are ambitious goals for the group, who are comparing their series to one of the most beloved – and best rated – franchises around. Breaking Bad ran for 5 seasons, starting in 2008. Better Call Saul is already 5 seasons deep and is expected to have 1 more before ending.

But can the ‘Cobra Kai’ universe even support a spinoff?!

Cobra Kai‘s season 3 is great, don’t get me wrong. According to Netflix, it’s the second most popular show they have right now. But there is zero question in my mind that this show relies heavily on nostalgia. If you grew up watching and loving the Karate Kid movies, you probably love Cobra Kai. If you didn’t care for the movies, or you never saw them, you might not be as in love with these characters.

If the show shifts away from these central characters and tries to tell different stories, is it going to have the same interest? Or, without that thread of nostalgia and familiar faces, is it going to fall flat and taint an otherwise great show?

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Season 3, the first Netflix-produced season, relies heavily on nostalgia even as it tries to let characters to break away from their past and move forward with their lives. Ali (Elisabeth Shue) tells Johnny at one point, “Sometimes it’s good to visit the past so you know where you are today, but you can’t live in the past.”

The show, however, doesn’t seem to take its own advice.

I think the success of season 4 is going to really determine if the Cobra Kai universe can be expanded on. Are there stories to be told in the universe? Probably, but if they are stories we actually want to hear remains to be seen.

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