Streaming highlights September 4-10: Cobra Kai, I Hate Suzie & Stargirl

RETURN: Ralph Macchio is back in the dojo in the Karate Kid spin-off series, Cobra Kai.
RETURN: Ralph Macchio is back in the dojo in the Karate Kid spin-off series, Cobra Kai.

COBRA KAI

Netflix

AS much as I loved 1984's The Karate Kid, I was ready for the spin-off series to feel like a roundhouse kick to the head. Thankfully, I was wrong.

Cobra Kai is actually rollicking fun, as it never takes itself too seriously, frequently teasing at the cultural and social differences between the '80s and 2010s, but also because it flips the narrative of the original film. Suddenly the once brutal Cobra Kai is helping the bullied fight back by "striking first" and "showing no mercy".

The series, which debuted in 2018 on YouTube Premium, in set 34 years after the first Karate Kid movie. Our hero Daniel LaRusso is now a flashy car dealership owner who "chops the competition", while his former bully Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) is a depressed handyman whose life has hit rock bottom.

After a chance meeting between the pair, old animosities quickly boil to the surface. It drives Lawrence to reopen the Cobra Rai dojo and begin training Miguel Diaz, a teenage boy who is being tormented by the boyfriend of LaRusso's daughter.

There's plenty of '80s music and Karate Kid flashbacks to fuel the nostalgia for a Gen-X audience, but young viewers will also enjoy the fast-paced episodic narrative.

I HATE SUZIE

Stan

MANIC: Billie Piper is brilliant in I Hate Suzie.

MANIC: Billie Piper is brilliant in I Hate Suzie.

IT was almost as if Billie Piper was born to play Suzie Pickles. Much like the title character of the dark comedy I Hate Suzie, Piper was a teen music star who progressed into acting, where she exhibited greater talent.

However, that's where the similarities end. Pickles is a frazzled 30-something actress who has her life thrown into disarray when her phone is hacked and lewd images are leaked onto the internet.

Modesty aside, the fact the images are of Pickles and a mystery man, and not her husband, cause the biggest complication. The plot follows Pickles and her publicist's ill-fated attempts to manage the controversy and her marriage collapse.

Piper (Doctor Who, Penny Dreadful) is wonderful as an emotionally-unstable celebrity caught in the storm of a viral scandal. She's also the executive producer of the series, which reunites her with writer Lucy Prebble for the first time since Secret Diary Of A Call Girl.

A grey-haired Dexter Fletcher (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) also pops up in episode two to play a hilariously devilish washed-up celebrity.

I Hate Suzie is the first series to arrive on Stan since the announcement last week of the Nine-owned company's distribution deal with Sky Studios and NBCUniversal International Studios. The relationship is off to a promising start.

STARGIRL

Binge

BRIGHT SPARK: Brec Bassinger is Courtney Whitmore, a teenager who becomes Stargirl.

BRIGHT SPARK: Brec Bassinger is Courtney Whitmore, a teenager who becomes Stargirl.

THE best superhero adventures aren't based on the flashiest action sequences or most colourful outfits. There's gotta be heart underneath that costume. If you don't care about Bruce Wayne, why should you care about Batman?

There is plenty of heart in Stargirl, the latest character from the DC Comics universe to receive her own series.

The story begins a decade after the heroic Justice Society of America, including Starman, is all but destroyed by the Injustice Society. Yes, it sounds corny as Stargirl, herself, points out. The sole survivor is Pat Dugan, or Stripesy, a dorky suburban dad played by Luke Wilson.

Pat has moved to small town Nebraska with his new wife Barbara (Amy Smart) and her indignant daughter Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and his obnoxious son. Courtney cannot tolerate her step-father until she discovers Starman's cosmic staff in one of Pat's old boxes.

The cosmic staff follows Courtney's commands and provides her with superpowers and she becomes certain her long-lost father was Starman. However, Courtney's transformation into Stargirl, leads to the re-emergence of the sinister Injustice Society.

To its benefit, Stargirl doesn't take itself too seriously. While the villains like Brainwave, who can basically give someone a stroke, are terrifyingly evil, there are lighter moments. Wilson's performance as the bumbling stepfather come Stargirl's robot sidekick, S.T.R.I.P.E, feels sincere.

Stargirl isn't the most spectacular and spellbinding superhero series, but it could be one of the most genuine.

This story Cobra Kai delivers kick of nostalgia for Karate Kid fans first appeared on Newcastle Herald.