Let’s Kick It! A Look At Cobra Kai (2018-Present)

“A Coors Banquet for me and a Shirley Temple for the lady”

Originally released in 2018 on YouTube Red, Cobra Kai is a web series that continues the story of two of the primary characters from the classic The Karate Kid franchise. Those two characters are Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka). I’m a huge fan of the original film and this series picks up over thirty years after the events of the original film and its sequels, so it was a no-brainer for me to watch this series once it hit Netflix.

Mild Spoilers Ahead!!!

The series opens with Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) as a man trapped in the 1980’s, haunted by his failures as a member of the Cobra Kai dojo, and a generally down-on-his-luck person. He loses his job as a handyman and still lives in the shadow of Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who owns a successful line of car dealerships throughout the Los Angeles area.

Somewhat desperate for work, Johnny agrees to reopen the Cobra Kai dojo and takes on his first student, the quiet and somewhat nerdy Miguel (Xolo Mariduena), who is practically a mirror image of Daniel LaRusso from the original film. Eventually more outcasts and nerd-types join Cobra Kai including Aisha (Nichole Brown) and Eli (Jacob Bertrand). Johnny is verbally abusive at first, but he slowly comes to love and appreciate the students. His abrasive form of caring convinces Eli to revamp himself as “Hawk,” a bully with a massive mohawk and all of the other students hold fast to the “No Mercy” mantra of Cobra Kai.

As the series rolls along, Johnny and Daniel reignite their rivalry, with Daniel reviving the Miyagi-Do dojo and unknowingly taking on Johnny’s son, Robby Keene (Tanner Buchanan), as his first student. Daniel also has to come to terms with his daughter, Sam (Mary Mouser), being in a relationship with Miguel, who continues to believe in his sensei despite Johnny’s many shortcomings.

While Johnny is battling his own demons, Daniel’s revival of Miyagi-Do dojo doesn’t go over as well as he’d hoped. He struggles to find students and helps build the rivalry between Cobra Kai and Miyagi-Do despite his good intentions. In both business and personal affairs, Daniel consistently makes bad decisions that cause issues between him and his family and between him and Johnny. In particular, the second season focuses on how Daniel’s desire to best Johnny results in a strained relationship with his wife, Amanda (Courtney Henggeler).

A number of other relationships and rivalries build over the show’s two seasons. Robby and Sam become close and events happen that cause Robby and Miguel to despise one another. Hawk develops a rivalry with his longtime friend, Demetri (Giani Decenzo), who is forced out of Cobra Kai by the returning John Kreese, Johnny’s sadistic sensei from the original films. Tory Nichols (Peyton List) is thrown into the fray in the second season as a foil to Sam.

The series works on three levels in my opinion: 1) The nostalgia is deeply rooted in each episode. From classic 80’s music to fan favorite characters and references, the series is loaded with Easter eggs for those of us who grew up with the original films. 2) It’s a solid teen drama that develops all of the new young characters for the younger demographic but doesn’t sacrifice the adult drama of the classic characters for older fans. 3) It’s a morality tale that shows us that just because Johnny was the “villain” long ago, it doesn’t mean that he can’t change. Also, Daniel isn’t the great white knight that some older fans might remember him to be from the old films.

The cast is solid all around. Zabka really gets to shine as Johnny and Macchio shows his range as Daniel struggling with poor decisions. The younger cast do great jobs, especially Xolo Mariduena and Nichole Brown. Martin Kove slithers right back into his devilish role as Kreese, and does a great job of undermining both Daniel and Johnny. Fans of The Big Bang Theory will recognize Courtney Henggeler as Sheldon’s twin sister, Missy. The rest of the cast do great jobs as well, giving us characters to love, hate, cheer for, or despise altogether.

Flashbacks help catch up any viewers that haven’t seen the original films, but they don’t overshadow the new stories in the series. Old fans will love seeing these moments and new fans will find them useful to understand Daniel and Johnny’s backstory.

This is an excellent series. For myself, nostalgia made me watch the show initially, but the stories and relationships of the series have kept me interested. Season Three is due out sometime next year on Netflix, and I can’t wait to see how Johnny and Daniel come together or grow farther apart in the series. Season Two ended with a bang, with a number of the characters in terrible positions. I’m excited to see how everything is resolved.

Thanks for reading this post. Be sure to check out Cobra Kai. You will not regret it! Also, I’m totally in love with Courtney Henggeler, so if you know her or anybody that does, please get me in touch with them because I want an autographed photo of Courtney!

It Will Continue In Our Hearts

Second Star To The Right

Star Trek Continues is one of my favorite Star Trek productions, professional or fan-created.  If you are a regular reader, you know just how much I love this show.  If you’d like an idea of just how much I love STC, read my old post here.


This particular post isn’t a happy one.  Nope, it’s very sad.  STC has ended its run and I don’t know what to do.  Vic Mignogna and company have crafted what I believe to be the greatest fan production of any series ever and now it is done.  The show’s finale, a two-parter entitled To Boldly Go ties up the original series and connects it to Star Trek:  The Motion Picture.  I won’t spoil it, but know that it is a tearjerker in more ways than one.  It was emotional for me because it signals the end of the series, but many of the things that happen in this particular episode made me cry as well.  You can check it out as well as all of the other episodes at this link.


I’m proud to have been a supporter of and donor to this series.  I genuinely believe that everyone involved put their heart and soul into the production and it shines through with each episode.  The attention to detail is mind blowing.  The costumes are perfect.  The music fits right in with the music from the original series.  The sets are bright and alive. Each episode leaves me wanting more.

The show also has an excellent cast including Mignogna as Captain Kirk, Todd Haberkorn as Mr. Spock, Chuck Huber as Bones, Chris Doohan as Scotty, and Kim Stinger as Uhura.  New characters were also added to the series including Dr. McKennah (Michele Specht), Lt. Smith (Kipleigh Brown), and Lt. Drake (Steven Dengler).  The addition of these and other characters only adds to Star Trek’s legacy.


The series also has a long list of  excellent guest stars that includes Clare Kramer, Lou Ferrigno, Gigi Edgley, Amy Rydell, Fiona Vroom, and Michael Forest.  The Enterprise even channeled Doctor Who with guests such as the sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, and Nicola Bryant, who happened to play one of my favorite Doctor companions, Peri.  I could go on, but you should check out the entire cast for yourself here.

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I truly will miss Star Trek Continues.  As I’ve stated in previous posts, I’ve met many of the cast and crew and none of them have disappointed me.  They care not only for Star Trek, but the fans and friends that have followed their journeys aboard the Enterprise.  I wish all of them nothing but success in their future endeavors.

As always, thanks for reading.  Be sure to check out Star Trek Continues and also check out the work of Hannah Barucky, whom I completely stole my featured image from (which was edited by James Kerwin) for this post.  I purchased one of her prints awhile back and you should too. All other photos were taken from random interwebs sites.

Live long and prosper!


Stranger Things Part Deux

I blew it

Yes, last month I promised all three of my readers that I would be blogging every single day for the month of October.  I planned on watching at least one horror film per day and then reviewing it or an aspect of the film, a character, actor, etc.  I made it thirteen days in and then I missed day fourteen.  I blew it.  Day fifteen came and went (and I even watched films to blog about) and that quickly turned into day twenty, twenty-five, and then Halloween showed up.  I’m sorry for dropping the ball, gang, but life and laziness got in my way.

With that said, however, I did watch a ton of horror flicks (that I didn’t blog about) and the second season of Stranger Things.  I really enjoyed the first season and had high hopes for season two.  Other than one episode, season two was great.  I’m hungry for more!


A few mild Season Two spoilers lie ahead!  Season One will definitely be spoiled if you haven’t seen it yet.

Season Two of Stranger Things opens with a quick look at a young lady named Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) who possesses mental powers and a tattoo similar to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and her gang as they enjoy a little criminal activity in Pittsburgh.  We are then transported to lovely Hawkins, Indiana where our four heroes, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Will (Noah Schnapp), are getting back to a somewhat normal life minus their friend and savior, Eleven.  It has been almost one year since the events of Season One, and after seemingly sacrificing herself to the Demogorgon, the boys assume that Eleven is either dead or lost in the Upside Down.  Mike repeatedly tries to make contact with her, but with no success.

Faithful viewers know that at the end of Season One, Hopper (David Harbour) is seen leaving Eggo Waffles and other food in a container in the forest near the lab.  In Season Two we learn in the first episode that Eleven is alive and well and being hidden by Hopper in his grandfather’s old cabin.


We’re also introduced to a couple of new characters in the form of Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery from the recent Power Rangers film) and his stepsister, Maxine “Mad Max” Mayfield (Sadie Sink, Blue Bloods, American Odyssey).  Billy plays the big bad that provides trouble not only for his sister, but for last season’s “started-off-as-a-jerk-but-became-a-cool-guy,” Steve Harrington (Joe Keery).  As the new girl, Max is viewed by Lucas and Dustin as a potential new member to their group, especially when they find out that she has beaten Dustin’s top score on Dig Dug.


Nancy (Natalia Dyer) feels terrible that she can’t tell her friend Barb’s parents about what really happened to Barb (Shannon Purser) during the events of Season One.  She dogs Steve about it but he’s afraid that something bad could happen to them if they expose the truth.  After telling him off, Nancy teams up with Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), to take on the lab and gets an assist from a humorous conspiracy theorist (Brett Gelman).

Will’s mom, Joyce (Winona Ryder), has fallen for her old classmate and perpetual nerd, Bob Newby (portrayed by 80’s legend and Lord of the Rings actor, Sean Astin).  He goes out of his way to normalize life for the Byers family, usually with goofy results.  I was suspicious of his character at first, but he proves to be a loyal companion not only to Joyce, but to Will as well.  Be sure to watch for a few winks and nods to some of Astin’s classic 80’s roles.

Paul Reiser, known for successful films such as Aliens, Beverly Hills Cop I & 2, and Diner, as well as the highly successful sitcom Mad About You and the somewhat successful My Two Dads, portrays Sam Owens,  who has assumed direction over the Hawkins Laboratory.  I really liked his character in this series.  Reiser has always been one of my favorite actors, and he knocks it out of the park in Stranger Things.


Another character introduced this season that deserves mention is Lucas’ little sister, Erica (Priah Ferguson), who doesn’t have a lot of screen time but completely steals every scene that she’s in during the season.  I hope that we see more of her in the future.  She was hilarious!


Eleven quickly becomes tired of being cramped up in Hopper’s cabin and repeatedly asks him to let her explore the outside world.  Fearing for her safety, Hopper denies each request.  After one too many broken promises, Eleven starts to venture out on her own and soon finds her real mother (Aimee Mullins).  This leads Eleven to discover that she has a “sister” who shared a room with her at the lab.  This girl is Eight, or Kali, and Eleven sets out to find her.


Kali (center in the picture above) has the ability to create visions in the minds of anyone that she faces off against.  When Eleven finds her, they form an uneasy bond.  Eleven is glad to find someone else like her, but doesn’t agree with the shady operation that Kali is running with her friends (Kai L. Greene, Gabrielle Maiden, Anna Jacoby-Heron, and James Landry Hebert).  In a very Yoda moment that is ripped almost directly from The Empire Strikes Back, Kali shows Eleven how to channel and focus her powers to move an eighteen wheeler much like Luke attempted to free his X-Wing from the swamps of Dagobah.   While Luke failed due to the distraction of his friends being in danger, Eleven succeeded.  Like Luke, she also left her “training” to help her friends in need.


The episode where Eleven finds her “sister” completely derails the season for a moment.  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why Eleven needed the guidance of Kali, but it just seemed like the episode was shoehorned into the season.  I didn’t completely buy into Kali and her gang.  They seemed too over the top and unbelievable even though they were based off of standard street thugs common in 80’s films.  That’s saying a lot considering the fact that this series also features an Upside Down world, Demogorgons, and a girl that can rip you apart with her mind.  The episode broke the rhythm established by every other episode in both seasons, and it’s my least favorite episode so far.


While all of these events are going down, Will is experiencing “episodes” where he briefly breaks into the Upside Down (not intentionally) and then pops back.  These “episodes” get worse as the season plays out, and he is eventually taken over by them.  His situation is what draws Eleven back to Hawkins, but I don’t want to spoil what’s going on with him just yet.  This season is still too fresh and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone that hasn’t seen it.

Mike feels like an outsider in his own group.  He can’t find Eleven and doesn’t like the fact that Lucas and Dustin have allowed Max to infiltrate their group without consulting him first.  He’s also extremely (and rightly) worried about Will.

Lucas falls for Max, but so does Dustin, which puts some tension between them.  Lucas also suffers at the hands of his little sister, whom I’ve already mentioned.  He and Dustin eventually get over their squabble about Max and with her and Steve set out to help Will.  Again, I won’t give away too much so as not to spoil anything.

Oh, and Dustin raises a Demogorgon in his bedroom.  He finds a “puppy” in his trash can and secretly keeps it in his room.  As it quickly grows, it becomes a “demidog,” or young version of a Demogorgon.  You’ll have to watch the series to see what happens next.


One character that I want to bring special attention to is Steve Harrington.  Considered a big jerk for most of Season One, Steve finds himself in a state of limbo at the beginning of Season Two.  Despite still being considered a couple, friction over the death of Barb and what to do about it creates a divide between him and Nancy.  With the arrival of Billy Hargrove, Steve is no longer the top dog on the basketball team or with the ladies.  He basically ends up as an outsider who ends up in a friendship with Dustin due to the events happening with the rest of the core Hawkins kids.

Steve comes to realize that Dustin looks up to him and takes on the role of a leader.  Does he have all of the answers?  Absolutely not.  Like most of us, he figures things out as he goes along, makes great decisions, makes terrible decisions, but does it all with the intention of helping the ones that need him.  Dustin needs Steve’s guidance with girls. Max needs Steve to stand up for her whenever Billy tries to stop her from seeing Lucas.  Dustin, Lucas, and Max need Steve to stand between them and sure death when a pack of demidogs attack.  Steve stepped up big time this season, and it shows us that Joe Keery is an excellent actor.  He took a run-of-the-mill character that could have easily fallen into the background and made him one of the best characters on Stranger Things.

The guy is a hero.  We all need a Steve in our lives.

Thanks for reading.  I hope that I haven’t spoiled too much for anybody.  I highly recommend watching this season of Stranger Things as well as Season One.

Go out there and find your Steve!

The Star Trek Series You SHOULD Be Talking About!!!

Continuing To Boldly Go

With CBS’ announcement on Monday that a new Star Trek series is in development and will be released to the viewing public in January of 2017, speculation about the show’s plot, setting, crew, and timeline have set the web on fire.  Like most fans of Star Trek, I’m excited that a new series is apparently on the way.  Some fans aren’t excited with the fact that CBS plans to premiere the show’s first episode on network television and then jettison episodes two through who knows to its small but growing subscription service, All Access.  Yes, streaming shows, specifically streaming original programming through web-based services such as Netflix and Hulu, might be growing, but for a show like Star Trek to be done properly, I fear that the budget just won’t be able to handle the demands of fans.  I also don’t believe that the state of Trek as it stands right now is strong enough to allow a small subscription service to piggyback onto it in the hopes of attracting subscribers.  CBS stands a better chance of doing something like this with some of their more current and established shows.

I refuse to go any deeper into a discussion about CBS’ handling of their new Trek series since very little is known about the show itself and pretty much everything outside of the doors of CBS is fanboy speculation and opinion.

However, I will say that CBS is late to the game when it comes to reviving Star Trek.  The recent reboot films were successful as far as profits are concerned, but most fans didn’t care for the direction that J.J. Abrams took the crew of the Enterprise.  While I enjoyed the films myself (particularly the first one), I felt that the second one was only a mild success.

The real success stories can be found on the web in independently produced fan series such as Star Trek: Renegades, Star Trek: New Voyages, and my personal favorite, Star Trek Continues.  These three programs, as well as a few other well-produced fan shows and films, are doing their best to keep Gene Roddenberry’s vision alive.  While Renegades and New Voyages are doing excellent work, Star Trek Continues has taken things to an entirely different level.

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy

Anime voice artist Vic Mignogna headed up production and development of the series and has had a hand in just about every aspect of the show.  The quality of the show’s writing and production is excellent.  Sets, costumes, and props all seamlessly blend with the original series’ look and feel.  The stories make you think (just like TOS did), but are also injected with enough humor and action to keep the viewer interested for the entirety of each episode.


The show has all of the key original series characters like Kirk (Mignogna), Spock (Todd Haberkorn), Bones (Larry Nemecek, episodes 1 and 2, and Chuck Huber, episodes 3 and on), Sulu (Grant Imahara), Uhura (Kim Stinger), and Chekov (Wyatt Lenhart).  Scotty is brilliantly portrayed by Chris Doohan, the son of the original Montgomery Scott, James Doohan.


It also features excellent original characters like Dr. McKennah (Michele Specht), the ship’s counselor, and Lt. Drake (Steven Dengler), chief of security.


All of the cast members do an excellent job.  It’s a bit of a tearjerker to see Chris Doohan portraying his father’s character, but it’s so wonderful to see Scotty back on the original Enterprise.  The show has also featured numerous guest stars from film and television, as well as from past Star Trek productions.  Marina Sirtis, Lou Ferrigno, Daniel Logan, Michael Dorn, Michael Forest, Kipleigh Brown, Erin Gray, and  Jamie Bamber are just a few of the many guest stars that have been a part of the series.

As of this writing, five episodes have been released.  Of the five, Lolani and Divided We Stand are my favorites.  Every episode is excellent in its own right, and you can check all of them out at www.startrekcontinues.com.


Now, I must also add that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this program.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few of the cast members for this show and I’ve loved each and every one of them.  If you ever get the chance to meet any of the cast, be sure to do so.  They are some of the friendliest and kindhearted people that you could meet.  I’ve managed to get autographs from and/or photos with all of them, and I highly recommend that you do so as well.

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So, while all of the other fanboys out there are screaming over what is right and what is wrong with CBS, Star Trek, the production company and/or writers of the new series, and anything else that rubs them the wrong way, YOU should tune your browser to Star Trek Continues.  You will not regret it!

As always, thanks for reading.  I’ll be posting in the very near future about a few things that I’ve been neglecting lately such as Gotham, The Flash, and The Walking Dead.

Keep boldly going, friends!