TV Review: ‘Avatar, The Last Airbender’ Excites

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Grace Papas, Outgoing Executive Editor

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a show that skyrocketed in popularity during the first months of quarantine last year when Netflix added the show back to its selection.

The series, which first aired in 2005, revolves around people who possess the ability to bend the four essential elements: water, earth, fire, and air. These four nations lived in peace for many years, but everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

The Avatar, a symbol of balance and the only one capable of mastering all four elements, mysteriously disappears for 100 years during these events. 100 years later, a young waterbender named Katara and her older brother Sokka find an airbender named Aang who is trapped in time.

A twelve-year-old, go-lucky kid on the surface, Aang turns out to be the last airbender and the long-lost Avatar. Now he must fulfill his duty, learn how to bend all four elements, and save the world from the rule of the Fire Nation and the cruel Fire Lord, all while evading capture and coming to terms with the fact that the world has changed drastically since his time in the iceberg.

Among his more relentless pursuers is the banished Fire Nation prince Zuko, who we later learn suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his father, the Fire Lord. Zuko goes on a journey of his own, struggling to find his purpose and honor with the company of his wise, tea-loving uncle Iroh, who is one of my favorite characters.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a fantasy series that features a cast of well-developed and interesting characters, exciting plots, as well as intricate and fascinating world-building inspired by various Asian cultures.

One of my favorite things about this show is the mythology that comes with this world of powerful benders and rich cultures. Behind every tale, there is a myth or legend that adds more intrigue to the world the show takes part in. Whether it be the tales of the original benders or a tale of two lovers, the stories are one of my favorite parts of the series.

The show does a good job of keeping the suspense high with various antagonists, most of which are just as well-fleshed out, if not more so, as the main cast. These “villains” are given much more depth than what’s seen in other shows, which allows the viewer to get both sides of the story, making these characters fan-favorites as well.

While keeping watchers on the edge of their seats, the show also offers breaths of fresh air with more calm episodes, where the viewer gets to watch the characters grow. It also provides episodes dedicated to a character’s past, which offers a new perspective on their behaviors during the main plot line.

It’s difficult to come up with many flaws with this show. Without a doubt, it’s ahead of its time. It’s rare that I watch a series without noticing obvious flaws or issues, but this show is an exception. There are no clear issues with writing or characters, and the plot is paced incredibly well. 

Filled with emotion, exciting fight scenes, humor, and lovable characters, Avatar: the Last Airbender is a show worth watching. Grab a cup of your favorite tea and settle in!