All 10 episodes of the fifth season, which stars Ralph Macchio and William Zabka (reprising their roles from the original “Karate Kid” movies), were binge-released Sept. 9 on Netflix. As of Friday, “Cobra Kai” Season 5 registered a 100% Tomatometer score, based on Rotten Tomatoes’ aggregation of 27 critics ratings, as well as a 96% audience score. Season 1 of “Cobra Kai” also has a 100% critics score on the site, while seasons 2 and 3 have a 90% critics score and S4 clocks in at 95%. (A caveat: The critics score for Season 5 could decline if RT incorporates additional reviews that are less than favorable.)
More from Variety
By comparison, many other recent TV premieres have Tomatometer scores in the 80s. Those include Disney+’s “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” (88%); Netflix’s “The Sandman” (87%); FX/Hulu’s “The Patient” (86%); HBO’s “House of the Dragon” (85%); and Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (84%).
Recent TV shows to achieve a 100% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes include Netflix’s “Mo,” FX/Hulu’s “Reservation Dogs” Season 2, HBO’s “Hacks” Season 1, Apple TV+’s “Bad Sisters” and Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” Season 1. Those join others with the top Tomatometer score, including the third and fourth seasons of “Breaking Bad,” “Fleabag” Season 2, “Insecure” Season 1, “Master of None” Season 1 and “Broad City” Seasons 2-5.
Per Rotten Tomatoes’ synopsis of the reviews of “Cobra Kai” Season 5, “Deftly managing an expanded roster of punchy personalities, ‘Cobra Kai’ graduates to a black belt proficiency in heartfelt melodrama and sly humor.”
Based on the original ’80s “Karate Kid” films by Robert Mark Kamen, “Cobra Kai” follows Daniel LaRusso (Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (Zabka) — whose rivalry continues more than 30 years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament. In addition to Macchio and Zabka, the series has brought back other members of the original films’ cast, including Martin Kove as John Kreese and Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver.
In Season 5, following the shocking win by Cobra Kai at the All Valley Tournament at the end of the prior season, Silver has taken complete control of the dojo and attempts to make his “no mercy” style of karate the only game in town. With Kreese behind bars and Lawrence setting karate aside to focus on repairing the wreckage of his past, LaRusso must call on an old friend for help.
“Cobra Kai” first premiered in 2018 as a YouTube Premium original series, and the show was picked up by Netflix in 2020 starting with its third season (after YouTube stopped producing original scripted content). The series’ ensemble cast, in addition to the original stars of the “Karate Kid” franchise, includes Xolo Maridueña, Tanner Buchanan, Courtney Henggeler, Yuji Okumoto, Mary Mouser, Jacob Bertrand, Gianni Decenzo, Vanessa Rubio and Peyton List.
Series creators Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg executive produce “Cobra Kai” through Counterbalance Entertainment. Macchio and Zabka also executive produce alongside Will Smith, James Lassiter, Caleeb Pinkett and Susan Ekins. The series is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Ralph Macchio as Daniel LaRusso, Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchiin in “Cobra Kai” Season 5
Best of Variety