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10 Shows Like 'Cobra Kai' to Watch Next

Looking for more sports stories with a side of nostalgia? Binge these 10 series after 'Cobra Kai.'

Andrea Reiher
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'Cobra Kai'

Netflix

Cobra Kai burst onto the TV scene in 2018 on YouTube Red and quickly became a cult hit. It picks up with the characters of The Karate Kid movie franchise now that they are adults and raising families of their own. William Zabka and Ralph Maccio reprise their roles of Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso, respectively, rivals in the karate dojo and now in life as well. The show also stars Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver and Martin Kove as John Kreese in what are also two reprisals from the original movie franchise.

YouTube Red shuttered the series after production on Season 3 had wrapped but before it premiered, and Netflix snapped it up and dropped both the third season and a subsequently ordered fourth season in 2021. Now a Netflix original, the show just dropped its fifth season, which is the most critically acclaimed to date, earning a Metascore of 80.

The fifth season pushes aside Johnny and Daniel's rivalry so they could unite against a common enemy — Terry Silver, of course. He has been out to make his more violent style of karate the only way to go — and well beyond the valley. Meanwhile, Kreese was locked up for a crime he didn't commit, but he had a plan to break out.

If you've already binge-watched Cobra Kai Season 5 and want to branch out into other sports stories and nostaglia plays while awaiting official confirmation from Netflix about the future of the series, here are 10 other shows to check out next, ranked by Metascore.


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'GLOW'

Netflix

GLOW

Metascore: 82
Best for: Nostalgia lovers
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 3

This wrestling show taps into the nostalgia factor that Cobra Kai does so well. It is set in the 1980s and is a fictionalized account of getting the syndicated women's professional wrestling series GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) off the ground. The ensemble is built around Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin as two every-women who turn into wrestling badasses. Both received several award nominations for their performances, including Emmy noms for Gilpin, Golden Globe noms for Brie, and Critics Choice Award noms for both. Unfortunately, the fourth and final season was axed due to COVID, so it does not get a proper ending, but the first three seasons will still entertain you.

"It's smartly plotted, with characters that deepen in the course of the show. ... It's also a joyride, all roller skates and mousse-claw bangs, synthesizer jams and leopard-print leotards, home pregnancy tests and cocaine-serving robots." — Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker


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'Stranger Things'

Netflix

Stranger Things 

Metascore: 74
Best for: Fans who want a side of horror with their nostalgia
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 4 (so far)

Like GLOW, Stranger Things is a nostalgia-fest. Set in small-town Indiana in the 1980s, the show features a motley crew of early teenagers battling the forces of darkness from an alternative universe called the Upside-Down, which was part of a secretive laboratory that is also connected to the U.S. government. Millie Bobby Brown plays Eleven, a girl who was experimented on as one of the laboratory's subjects and is the key to saving the town (and probably the world), while David Harbour and Winona Ryder give scene-stealing performances as parental figures who also develop a romantic connection with each other as seasons go on. The show also does not skimp on the scares, so be warned that it is not for the faint of heart.

"Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, brothers and the show's creators, have done their homework when it comes to '80s cinema. Whether you're a fan of John Carpenter's The Thing or The Goonies is more your speed, there's plenty to like in Stranger Things." — Brian P. Kelly, The Wall Street Journal


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'Heels'

Starz

Heels

Metascore: 73
Best for: Professional wrestling fans
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 1 (so far)

This show doesn't have the nostalgia factor going for it, but it does feature an underdog sports story. In Heels, Stephen Amell and Alexander Ludwig star as wrestling brothers, Jack and Ace Spade, respectively. Jack is a "heel" in the Duffy Wrestling League, which means he is a villain in the franchise, while Ace is the hero and the two of them are at war over who should control the company after their father's death.

"Heels doesn't always expertly portray the world of professional wrestling, but it does a wonderful job of capturing what makes it so special." — Kyle Fowle, The A.V. Club


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'The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers'

Disney+

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers 

Metascore: 72
Best for: Those who want family-friendly/co-viewing content
Where to watch: 


Seasons: 1 (so far)

This hockey series is based on the 1990s movie franchise of the same name and the first season even features Emilio Estevez in a reprisal of his film role, Gordon Bombay, the original Ducks coach and now owner of the Ice Palace rink. Lauren Graham stars as single mom Alex, who creates the team the Don't Bothers after her son Evan (Brady Noon) is cut by the now-ruthless Mighty Ducks. Several stars from the original franchise make guest appearances on the show, including Elden Henson, Vincent LaRusso and Marguerite Moreau.

"Because it's a series, Game Changers has more layers than a film. While Alex initially insists they just play for fun, by the end of episode two Evan says losing every game isn't fun, ensuring this series will have some smarts to accompany its big heart." — Rob Owen, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


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'Saved by the Bell'

Peacock

Saved by the Bell 

Metascore: 71
Best for: '80s babies and their teens
Where to watch: 

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Seasons: 2

This continuation series manages to somehow both pay homage to the original Saturday morning sitcom while also being able to authentically tackle modern coming-of-age stories. One of the main characters is Mac Morris (Mitchell Hoog), the son of original characters Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) and Kelly Kapowski-Morris (Tiffani Thiessen). Original cast members Elizabeth Berkley and Mario Lopez are series regulars, and original cast members Gosselaar, Thiessen, Lark Voorhies, and Ed Alonzo guest star. Following Mac's generation of Bayside High students, the show does typical stories about dating and school dances, but also comments on the state of education on a more political level, and yes, of course features many sports-centric stories, including the idea of coed teams.

"The show mostly sustains the original's wholesomeness, delivering sweet, tween-friendly lessons about being true to yourself and giving others second chances. But Saved By The Bell is also surprisingly funny, balancing its reverence for the original with satire that will no doubt speak to fans who grew up on the show." — Randall Colburn, The A.V. Club


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'Warrior'

WarnerMedia

Warrior

Metascore: 68
Best for: Fans of extreme stunts and period pieces
Where to watch: 

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Seasons: 2 (so far)

This period drama is set in the 1800s and stars Andrew Koji as a Chinese immigrant named Ah Sahm. He is a martial arts expert living in San Francisco who gets embroiled in the dealings of one of the Chinese gangs in the city while he tries to find his older sister Xiaojing (Dianne Doan). The first two seasons aired on Cinemax, then the third season renewal was given by HBO Max after Cinemax ceased producing original shows.

"Warrior is frequently fun, occasionally audacious and always representationally interesting, which is enough to work through its slow patches and to excuse that one half of the show is vastly better executed than the other half." — Dan Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter


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'Kung Fu'

The CW

Kung Fu

Metascore: 65
Best for: Fans of female-forward action dramas
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 2 (so far)

This reboot of the 1970s series of the same title turns the plot on its head by gender-flipping several of the main characters. So now the young fighter who trains at the Shaolin monastery in China is a woman named Nicky, played by Olivia Liang, and Vanessa Kai co-stars as Nicky's mentor at the monastery, Pei-Ling. Yvonne Chapman stars as Pei-Ling's sister Zhilan, who has deep ties to the criminal underworld that Nicky has to take on.

"Kung Fu presents a compelling heroine, ably played by Liang, who feels obligations to community and family both generally relatable and specifically drawn. The mystical element of Nicky's skills is treated matter-of-factly and with engaged interest — nothing here feels rote." — Daniel D'Addario, Variety


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'Warrior Nun'

Netflix

Warrior Nun

Metascore: 62
Best for: Martial arts fans who also like supernatural mysteries
Where to watch: Netflix
Seasons: 1 (so far)

Based on the comic book series by Ben Dunn, this fantasy drama stars Alba Baptista as Ava Silva, a quadriplegic orphan who finds herself with supernatural powers that make her a member of an ancient race of warrior nuns called the Order of the Cruciform Sword. The order has been tasked with ridding the Erath of demons as powers forces from both heaven and hell vie for control, but all Ava wants to do is explore her new-found freedom after finally being free of the abusive orphanage and a prisoner inside her own body.

"Warrior Nun's main issue is that one half of its story is just infinitely more engaging than the other. ... The saving grace of Warrior Nun's more tedious aspects is Baptista herself, whose performance as Ava looks effortlessly charming while still doing a ton of heavy lifting." — Vinnie Mancuso, Collider


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'Hanna'

Amazon Studios

Hanna

Metascore: 62
Best for: Cobra Kai fans who are in it mostly for the fights
Where to watch:

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Seasons: 3

Based on the 2011 movie of the same title, Hanna follows the titular young woman (played by Esme Creed-Miles) who was part of a government program as a baby, which left her with enhanced DNA that turned her into a super soldier. She was raised by CIA operative Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman), who fled with her as a baby when the project was ordered to be shut down and all the babies destroyed. CIA agent Marissa Wiegler (Mireille Enos) has been hunting Hanna ever since. 

"The show layers on various conspiracies and intrigues that aren't as interesting as the characters occupying them — and which leave characters, most specifically, Marissa, treading water for long swathes of episodes.." — Laura Bogart, The A.V. Club


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'Panic'

Prime Video

Panic

Metascore: 54
Best for: Fans of The Hunger Games
Where to watch:


Seasons: 1

This teen drama, based on Lauren Oliver's novel of the same name, is part The Purge, part The Hunger Games as 23 high school seniors battle it out for a $50,000 cash prize in a competition that will get them out of their small Texas town — until the rules change and it becomes a fight for their lives. It will appeal to Cobra Kai fans' love of fighting and underdog stories, with a side of action thriller thrown in. Plus, there's the nostalgia casting of Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life), Bonnie Bedelia (Die Hard), and Moira Kelly (The Cutting Edge).

"Each episode ends with a cliffhanger and something more preposterous than the next. The tension dissipates a bit in the middle of the season...but the final two episodes are so chock full of chaos they make up for the slump." — Marya E. Gates, The Playlist