This article discusses 5 series like Netflix’s Cobra Kai you must watch.
With its mix of comedy, drama, and ’80s feel-good nostalgia. Cobra Kai has managed to amass a huge fan base. A sequel to the popular Karate Kid films, the show picks up 30 years after the events of the films and makes the jump from movie to YouTube series to Netflix with ease. However, the genre has been around for a long time, so here are 5 other series like Cobra Kai you must watch.
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Kung Fu (1972)
Back in the 1970s, a wave of martial arts films became hugely popular, mainly due to the popularity of Bruce Lee, so it was always going to attract the attention of TV companies looking for a similar premise. Well, in 1972, we saw the start of a three-season TV show, Kung Fu starring David Carradine as Caine. Set in the American old West, Caine is on the run after avenging the murder of his master in China. In America, he is searching for his half-brother, but of course, the nature of TV means he is up against various villains on a weekly basis as he goes about his quest. The show was a huge hit as it captured the zeitgeist of the time, and with its mix of martial arts and Wild West setting, it has a lot to offer fans of this type of thing.
Wu Assassins (2019)
With a slightly more otherworldly approach, Wu Assassins follows the story of young chef Kai Jin that falls foul of the Chinese Triad, who are interested in acquiring the ancient supernatural power Wu Xing. Kai has an encounter with an ancient spirit and finds himself with the skills and powers of 1000 monks, who died collectively to imbue an amulet with their powers. Kai, now one with the amulet, becoming the Wu assassin, has to stop 5 powerful Wu Warlords who have the powers to destroy the world. After the first season, a full-length feature was produced that followed on from the series.
Seis Manos (2019)
We had to include an animated show in this list, and production wise they don’t come better than Seis Manos. This series is very much for the mature audience and is set in the 1970s in Mexico. The time period once again evokes the feeling of the Kung Fu explosion at this time, and this show is at home paying homage to those classic martial arts movies. The story follows three orphaned martial artists that are seeking revenge for the murder of their Sensai. They team up with a DEA agent and a policewoman who help them on their quest, a journey that leads them through drug cartels to ancient demonic entities.
Once again set in the past, Warrior is an exciting and gripping live-action series that follows Ah Sahm, an expert in martial arts who immigrated to San Francisco in the 1800s. However, the city is in the grip of the Tong wars, and Ah becomes a right-hand man for the city’s most powerful Tong. The interesting thing behind this show is that Bruce Lee himself was involved with initially pitching the story. Lee was said to have written an 8-page treatment, possibly for a film release, for this premise, and that has been verified by Shannon Lee, so we can only assume that Bruce Lee’s vision for Warrior has finally come to fruition.
Samurai Jack (2001)
I’m pretty sure that if you are reading this news article, then you are somewhat invested in the martial arts scene, so I can also assume you may have heard about Samurai Jack. Another animated show, but one that holds fond memories for many people out there. Jack himself has been thrown through time from the past to the future, all the while fighting against the demonic shapeshifter Aku. The counterpoint of an ancient Samurai in a dystopian sci-fi future is sublime, and the animation is perfectly stylized, simple yet evocative, basic yet oddly intricate. It is a beautiful yet often poignant show, and despite being aimed at a younger audience, the storyline and episodes often have a more complex subtext than you might expect.
Have any of our recommendations been favorites of yours? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.