Many grew up watching the Karate Kid films and they had a big impact on kids forming a love for martial arts. Recently the incredible series Cobra Kai has reignited the buzz for us all. So, if you’re looking for similar series, we have curated a list of 12 awesome shows like Cobra Kai that we think you’ll enjoy. When Cobra Kai first came out, everyone had their reservations. Soulless reboots and nostalgia bait of once-great franchises have become the Hollywood default these days, and the fear Cobra Kai would just be more of the same content was being inundated in an age where it seems original ideas are dying out.
However, when Youtube dropped the first 2 episodes of season 1, it turned around everyone’s doubts. The love and respect the writers, directors, and actors all have for the original Karate Kid movies shine through clearly in each episode. Cobra Kai manages to pay homage to all that was good in Karate Kid (including the late Pat Morita, who played Mr Miyagi) while also evolving so that this series has something unique to offer a new generation of viewers.
List of TV Shows Like Cobra Kai
1. The Karate Kid Anime Series (1989)
The Karate Kid is a beloved franchise that has captured the hearts of audiences for over three decades. In 2018, the series was revived thanks to a hit series like Cobra Kai.The series follows the story of teenager Ryo, who moves to Okinawa with his mother and discovers the world of karate. Along the way, he meets new friends, battles enemies, and learns important life lessons.
The show is filled with action-packed fight scenes and heartfelt moments, fans of Cobra Kai should it a chance. While Cobra Kai focuses on the adult characters from the original films, this anime series takes a new approach by following the journey of a teenager discovering the world of karate. This is a great choice if you’re looking for shows like Cobra Kai.
2. The Book of Boba Fett (2021)
The Book of Boba Fett is a series set in the Star Wars universe, which will follow the adventures of the fan-favorite bounty hunter, Boba Fett. The show is set after the events of The Mandalorian season 2, where Boba Fett made a triumphant return, and we saw his takeover of the criminal underworld on Tatooine.
If you are a fan of a series like Cobra Kai, then The Book of Boba Fett should definitely be on your watchlist since both shows share a common theme of redemption, with Boba Fett seeking to reclaim his position in the galaxy after being left for dead in the Sarlacc pit, and the characters of Cobra Kai striving to redeem themselves from past mistakes and traumas. There’s a strong focus on martial arts and action similar to shows like Cobra Kai, with Boba Fett being a skilled warrior.
3. Glow (2017)
Glow follows a fictional group of women who audition and train for the wrestling promotion, all while navigating their personal lives and relationships. The show is based on the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a women’s professional wrestling promotion that ran from 1986 to 1990.
Glow explores the underdog narrative and the importance of finding one’s identity. The show also features a diverse cast and strong female characters, similar to a series like Cobra Kai. The series also explores important themes such as feminism, race, and LGBTQ+ representation. If you’re a fan of well-written, character-driven shows like Cobra Kai, then Glow is a perfect addition to your watchlist.
4. Doctor Who (2005)
Doctor Who is a British sci-fi TV series that first aired in 1963 and is still going strong today. The show follows the adventures of a Time Lord called the Doctor who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, a machine that looks like a British police box. If you’ve already seen this brilliant show, then check out our list of shows like Doctor Who.
Cobra Kai fans should watch Doctor Who because both shows have a focus on characters facing challenges and personal growth. The Doctor and the characters in Cobra Kai both have to learn from their mistakes and grow as individuals. Additionally similar to shows like Cobra Kai, Doctor Who also has a mix of action and humor. Watching Doctor Who can introduce Cobra Kai fans to a new world of sci-fi adventure, and possibly inspire them to check out other shows in the genre.
5. Warrior (2019)
Warrior is a gritty and action-packed series that takes place in 19th century San Francisco. The show follows Ah Sahm, a Chinese martial artist who immigrates to America and finds himself caught up in the Tong Wars, a brutal turf war between rival Chinese gangs. As Ah Sahm navigates the dangerous underworld of Chinatown, he must also navigate the complex and racially charged politics of the time.
While Cobra Kai is focused on karate, Warrior explores the world of Chinese martial arts, giving viewers a fresh take on the genre. Warrior features intricate fight scenes that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Just like Cobra Kai has revitalized the Karate Kid franchise, Warrior has breathed new life into Bruce Lee’s vision for a martial arts series. Hence, its a great series similar to shows like Cobra Kai for you.
6. Kung Fu (2021)
Kung Fu is a martial arts comedy-drama series that revolves around a young boy named Wai-ting, who is obsessed with kung fu and dreams of becoming a martial arts master. He comes from a poor family and struggles to afford the fees of a renowned kung fu school. However, fate intervenes when he meets a former kung fu master who takes him under his wing and teaches him the art of kung fu.
The show is set in 1960s Hong Kong, and it captures the essence of the time beautifully. The series showcases the culture and history of kung fu in a lighthearted and entertaining way, making it a perfect binge-watch for kung fu enthusiasts. The show has a great cast, with a perfect blend of drama and comedy, and the chemistry between the characters is fantastic. Kung Fu is a great fit for shows similar to Cobra Kai.
7. Hanna (2019)
In this action series, A teenage girl named Hanna has been raised in isolation by her father in a remote forest in Poland. Her father is an ex-CIA operative who has trained her to become a highly skilled assassin. Hanna longs for a normal life outside the forest, but her father’s past catches up to them, forcing them to flee for their lives. Along the way, Hanna discovers shocking truths about her past
The series is a riveting exploration of identity, family, and the consequences of genetic engineering. Fans of series like Cobra Kai will appreciate the complex and nuanced portrayal of characters in Hanna, especially the titular character, who is portrayed with depth and authenticity by Esme Creed-Miles.
8. Stranger Things (2019)
Stranger Things is a sci-fi/horror series set in the 1980s that follows a group of kids in a small town as they search for their missing friend, uncovering government conspiracies, supernatural forces, and a parallel dimension in the process. Stranger Things has a nostalgic atmosphere, strong performances, and clever references to 80s pop culture, including nods to Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and John Carpenter.
While this show is very different in tone and genre to Cobra Kai, it shares a similar sense of nostalgia for the 80s and a focus on coming-of-age stories. Stranger Things also features a talented ensemble cast of young actors who deliver both humor and heart, similar to series like Cobra Kai.
9. Saved By The Bell (1989)
Saved By The Bell is a beloved American sitcom that revolves around a group of high school students attending Bayside High in California and follows their everyday lives, including their academic struggles, friendships, romances, and misadventures. The show’s lighthearted, feel-good tone and relatable characters quickly made it a fan favorite, and it remains a pop culture icon to this day.
Though the show has nothing to do with martial arts, it brings the struggles of teenagers and their relationships with their peers and teachers. Saved By The Bell is lovable with iconic and memorable characters similar to a series like Cobra Kai.
10. Fight World (2018)
Fight World is a Netflix original documentary series that explores the world of martial arts and combat sports in different countries around the world. The show follows the host and executive producer, Frank Grillo, as he travels to various countries, including Mexico, Thailand, Senegal, Israel, and Myanmar, to learn about the unique fighting styles and cultures of each place. Grillo not only observes the fighters in action but also trains with them and immerses himself in their local customs and traditions.
As Frank Grillo himself explained in a podcast, this is a docu-series about PEOPLE. Similar to shows like Cobra Kai It is about determination. Bonds that can’t be broken. Tradition and faith. The reason why to fight. The series showcases the raw power and discipline required to become a skilled fighter, and while the tone and pacing of the 2 shows may differ, Fight World is worth watching.
11. Warrior Mum (2020)
Warrior Mum is a heartwarming and inspiring series that follows the journey of a mother, Kellie, who is determined to give her son, Max, the best life possible despite his cerebral palsy. Kellie, a former athlete herself, refuses to let Max’s disability hold him back from living a fulfilling life. Throughout the series, Kellie pushes Max to try new things and challenges him to overcome his physical limitations.
Similar to a series like Cobra Kai, the show is about pushing oneself to be the best they can be despite the obstacles in their way. Kellie’s unwavering determination to give Max the best life possible is reminiscent of Johnny’s determination to train his students to be the best martial artists they can be. Warrior Mum’s overcoming adversity and the importance of perseverance make it a must-watch.
12. How I Met Your Mother (2005)
Though this show doesn’t exactly fit in the genre of Cobra kai , there’s a very specific reason why it’s in the list, and that is Barney Stinson. For all who haven’t seen this show, How I Met Your Mother follows Ted Mosby, as he recounts to his children the events that led to him meeting their mother. You should also take a look at our list of recommendations for shows like How I Met Your Mother.
Ted’s journey in New York City to find his soulmate is intertwined with the lives of his best friends, Marshall Erikson, Lily, Robin Sherbatksy, and Ladies Man- Barney Stinson. An iconic season 4 episode 15 reveals that Barney’s favourite growing up was The Karate Kid and his hero was not Ralph Macchio but William Zabka! While this show isn’t the primary reason for making shows like Cobra Kai possible, it did serve as a great reminder of the potential by reprising the role of Johnny Lawrence multiple times, long before our beloved Cobra Kai was made.
Here are a few shows like Cobra Kai that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:
- The Defendants
- IP Man
- Iron Fist