It seems we’re seeing the rise of a whole new subgenre: not just legacy sequels, but specifically legacy sequel TV series, based on beloved teen sports flicks from the ‘80s and ‘90s, bringing back the original stars while centring on a whole new generation of kids. That’s the central idea behind the massively popular Cobra Kai, based on the original Karate Kid movies and now a Netflix staple – and Disney is getting in on the action too with The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, a brand new series coming soon to Disney+. If it’s nominally about a fresh batch of ice hockey-playing kids, the real draw is that Emilio Estevez is back as Gordon Bombay, drafted in to coach them to victory – or at least, to allow them to have fun on the rink. Check out the trailer:
Just as Cobra Kai shifted the focus to Johnny Lawrence’s no-longer-villainous dojo, it seems like the formerly heroic Ducks are not the good guys here – with Brady Noon’s Evan and his mum Alex (Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham) forming their own ice hockey team after the Ducks get too caught up in perfection and professionalism. And while Gordon Bombay is back, he’ll take some persuading to get back in action, claiming he now – gasp! – “hates hockey”, living out his later years running an ice rink. The results look undeniably Disney, but pretty damn feelgood too – the real test will see whether Game Changers can work up its own unique tone, since Cobra Kai thrives in a genuinely funny heightened reality.
The show is created by original Mighty Ducks trilogy writer Steven Brill, who also acts as head writer, and begins streaming on Disney+ from 26 March. Here’s hoping it knocks the puck to the back of the net (that’s how ice hockey works, right?)