Jan 2, 2012

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender

So, remember how a few months ago I finished watching Six Feet Under and promptly declared that I couldn’t imagine finding another series1 I loved as much as that anytime soon?

Well, when I started the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender I didn’t expect it to be it, but halfway through season one I became a convert. The series is set in a gorgeous and detailed Asian-inspired fantasy world; the worldbuilding is reminiscent of Miyazaki at his best; it has both a great plot and in-depth characterisation; and it’s every bit as thoughtful as it is funny and addictive. And have I mentioned the swoon-worthy gender politics? In sum, I love it so much I want to burst. I’m a few years late to the party, I know, but if any fantasy lovers out there happen to have missed it, do yourselves a favour and watch it right now.

Anyway, the real goal of this post is to let you know that over at Lady Business, Jodie and I discuss the first season of Avatar (at great length, as we are wont to do). If you’re curious, just click over – and if you’re a fan too, we’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts.

(If by any chance the title The Last Airbender makes you think of the horrid M. Night Shyamalan movie, all I can say is ugh – and then point you towards Gene Luen Yang’s brilliant comic on the subject. I happened to catch part of the movie on TV a few days after finishing season one, and it was seriously a traumatising experience. It takes talent to take source material this good and turn it into the stuff of nightmares.)

1 In semi-related news, my Buffy DVDs and I have now been reunited. Just saying.

28 comments:

  1. I love Avatar: The Last Airbender. The whole series is streaming through Netflix. I rewatch it all the time!

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  2. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Yep, this makes me happy.

    Now I'm off to read your conversation with Jodie so I can learn all the cool reasons I *should* be loving this series for (as opposed to my "I don't know why I love it so freakin' much, I just do" reason). :P

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  3. I can't say I have heard of it, but I shall definitely look out for it.

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  4. My husband and I LOVE this series! This will tell you just how much we love it...we found out we were pregnant with our second about a month after finishing the series. We *seriously* considered naming the baby Katara if it was a girl. We ended up having a boy, but Katara is still written down on the name list for a possible future girl. ;-)

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  5. My kids love this show, and always have it on in the living room when I am working. It's seriously addictive at times, and I can't help but get involved. There are some scenes that are so moving that they make me a little teary. Looks like I need to start at the beginning!

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  6. This sounds like one I would like to see!

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  7. I've heard really great things about this series, but I've never really watched cartoons or anime, so I never thought anything about it. BUT your review was so positive and it is available for streaming through Netflix, so I do feel like I should give it a shot! I will let you know how it goes!

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  8. All you had to do was mention Miyazaki, and I'm was there. Just added this to my Netflix queue - thanks for the recommendation!

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  9. The Last Airbender (movie) was soooo bad. I didn't even know there was a cartoon version.

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  10. I'm glad to see there are other Avatar fans out there! I have to say that the idea of a baby Katara put the biggest smile on my face :D And I guess this is where I confess that for the past few weeks I've taken to referring to my cat as Momo :P

    Steph, do let me know how it goes! I'd recommend giving it a bit of a chance if you don't get into it right away - it took me a little while (until episodes 11 and 12 specifically) to grow to REALLY love it, not to mention that it gets even better after season 1. I thought that for those first few episodes it felt like a children's series, in the sense that everything was controlled and the threats weren't really that threatening. But as the story progresses it becomes a lot more complex and mature and rewarding, so it's definitely worth sticking with.

    Amanda, Miyazaki comparisons are an immediate hook for me too!

    Tasha: I imagine that's the case with many people, and it makes me SO SAD. The movie is just atrocious and it should not be allowed to obfuscate such an amazing series.

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  11. skflsjdlfksdfkldsjkj I love this show!!! I loved Zuko and Aang's interactions in The Blue Spirit too. Season 2 is even more awesome than Season 1 -- almost every episode moves the plot forward, there's great character development, and amazingly nuanced world-building. And I'm sure you'll be happy to discover, some awesome new female characters. :D Also, lots of Zuko! :D

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  12. Huh, I watched the first episode and felt kind of "meh" about it. I really should give it another chance. I don't tend to stick too long with series if they can't grab me immediately.

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  13. Horace Tripalong: That post was finished before Chritstmas, and since then I have gone on to watch the whole thing - so I know just how right you are :D

    Kiirstin: Oh, I hope you do give it another chance! The first episode didn't really grab be either, but I'm SO glad I stuck with it. From what I know of your taste, I think there's so much you'd get out of the second half of season one and seasons two and three. And as the episodes are pretty short, it won't take too long to get to the really good bits :D

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  14. I haven't heard of 'Avatar : The Last Airbender' before. This looks like a fascinating series from your description. Your observation on the gender politics in the series made me smile :) I will look for the DVDs of this series. Thanks for writing about this.

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  15. Fantastic show! I need to watch it again as it has been a while. Glad you found it :)

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  16. Really interesting to see this review...as I watched the M. Night Shyamalan film and thought it was awful!!

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  17. I'm sure you'll love the rest of the series. I was so sad when it was over. I keep hoping for something more from the cartoon. I was so excited for the movie, then so disappointed.

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  18. Which kitty is now dubbed Momo? Pedrez? If so, Max will be THRILLED!!!! He and Gray LOVE LOVE LOVE Momo! I'm rather partial to Apa myself, but of course love Momo too. :)

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  19. Vishy: I'd love to hear your thoughts if you get around to watching it!

    Terri B: I'm very glad to have found it as well :D

    Jessica: It IS absolutely awful. I really worry people will think it's an accurate representation of the series, as nothing could be further from the truth :S

    Loni: Have you heard of the spin-off series Legend of Korra? So excited to have that to look forward to!

    Debi: Yep :D I just can't pick a favourite between Appa and Momo - though that episode with Appa (you know the one I mean) just killed me. Oh Appa - so much love <3

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  20. No! I'm looking that up right now. When is that coming out? Which characters are they going to have? I know nothing and I'm already excited.

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  21. OK, you sold this to me with the "swoon-worthy gender politics"!:D I just put a hold on a DVD box set of the 20 first episodes.

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  22. Ack! Now I need to watch this! The movie really is awful. ;-)

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  23. *giddy dance* My boyfriend and a friend of mine absolutely love this series, so I watched it this fall (with said boyfriend who was very excited to have someone to re-watch it with) on Netflix and I seriously can't remember the last time I was so emotionally invested in a television show. I serious gushed like crazy over this everything in this series. Like you though, it took a handful of episodes for me to fall head over heels in love. But I seriously want to make a habit of re-watching this show once a year or something.

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  24. I definitely want to watch Avatar! Maybe one day soon I'll start watching. :)

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  25. Loni: In mid 2012, so not much longer to go! But it takes place 70 years after the end of the original series and will have all new characters. I'll miss all my old favourites, but with the same creative theme behind it I have no doubt I'll grow to love the new characters too.

    Tiina: Hooray! But do keep what I told Steph in mind if you don't love it right away. It's a grower.

    Vasilly: Let's pretend it doesn't exist ;)

    intoyourlungs: Rewatching it once a year is the BEST idea. I might have to steal it :P

    Lu: If so, let me know what you think!

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  26. Oh, no: I see hours of reading time not spent reading. Oh, yay: another great series to seek out! ::confused look:: (Seriously, thanks for the recommendation; I had flat-out dismissed this one.)

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  27. This is such a fun show! We actually watched it after seeing the movie. I wasn't too keen on it but my kids were curious, and before I knew it we were well and truly hooked. We particularly enjoy the humor that was so sadly lacking from the film.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.