As is typical of today’s old IP reboots, the aged legacy characters in Cobra Kai are balanced by a brand new generation of young players. What sets the young cast of “Cobra Kai” apart from, say, the younger characters in “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is the depth and attention they are given.
One of the fiercest rivalries in Cobra Kai, for example, is between Sam LaRusso (Mary Mouser), daughter of original Karate Kid lead Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), and Tory Nichols (Peyton List), the Cobra Kai prodigy Dojo of which alternately draw the sympathy and disdain of the viewers. Iroquois karate prodigy Hawk (Jacob Bertrand) is another standout, initially finding himself newly empowered to fight back against his mohawks before eventually becoming a mohawk himself.
While the likes of Daniel and devious Cobra Kai founder John Kreese (Martin Kove) are integral parts of these storylines, the lives of the teens don’t serve these old characters, it’s merely complicated by their involvement. So Sam, Tory, Hawk and their young cast mates are the raison d’être for Cobra Kai, which thrives primarily as a teenage karate soap opera and secondarily as a sequel, The Karate Kid. The eventual involvement of, say, Terry Silver (Thomas Ian Griffith) works not only because he’s a familiar face, but because viewers don’t want him derailing the lives of the kids at the heart of the show.