≡ Menu

TV I’m Addicted To: The Last Airbender

TV I’m Addicted To: The Last Airbender post image

My reading has slowed pretty dramatically the last three weeks because, like always, I’ve gotten addicted to a new tv show. I love tv on DVD or from Netflix, but try not to start new shows because I have this personality where if I start one I cannot stop watching it even when I have more important things to do.

The last show this happened with was Damages. I basically stopped doing anything for three days and watched an entire season. It’s that good.

The current show is Avatar: The Last Airbender, an Americanized anime series that originally played on Nickelodeon and was just recently made into a (controversial) feature film.

The show takes place in an alternate world where there are four nations, each based on one of the elements – water, earth, fire, and water. Certain people in each nation, Benders, have power over their element. And there is one person in the kingdom known as the Avatar who can master all four elements. The Avatar’s job is to keep balance between the four nations.

100 years ago the Avatar disappeared and the Fire Nation attacked the others, wiping out all the Air Benders and almost taking over the world. Then, two Water Nation kids name Katara, a Water Bender, and her brother Sokka, a warrior, discover the new Avatar, a 12-year-old named Aang who has been hiding. The group sets out to try and save the world from the Fire Nation.

This is a version of the movie trailer made from clips of the show that’s pretty good, I think. I hate the narration though. I wish I could have found the opening of the tv show for you, but my Google skills aren’t great today, I guess.

I was a big fantasy reader when I was younger – The Dragonriders of Pern; The Song of the Lioness Quartet; The Dalemark Quartet; the Dragon Prince, Dragon Star and Exiles triologies. My favorites were always books about kids with special powers and the way they grew up learning to use that power.

But above that, I think The Last Airbender is awesome because of the way it builds a really complete fantasy world. Each Nation has traditions, and the Benders use a specific form of martial arts to do their bending. It’s fascinating to watch.

I have no desire to see the film, however, because of the controversy over “racebending.” As this post from Racebending.com clearly shows, the casting for the movie made no effort to embrace the multiculturalism of the show and cast mostly white actors for clearly diverse roles. That’s disappointing. Plus, friends who saw the movie said it was just awful.

But the show is awesome, and all three seasons are available on Netflix Instant Viewing. So go watch it (but I hope you don’t get addicted like I am!).

Any other Avatar fans out there? What the most recent tv show you got addicted to? Am I the only person who gets sucked into past tv seasons like this?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • charley July 23, 2010, 5:52 am

    I hadn’t heard of the controversy around The Last Airbender and don’t intend to see it, but clicking on your link was interesting. The last TV show I became addicted to was HBO’s The Wire on DVD. I would plan to watch a single episode, but would sometimes end up watching 3 or more in a sitting, and then I would feel a bit ill – partly from the violence, and partly from the realization that I had been sitting and watching television for so long.

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:23 pm

      charley: That’s partly what happened when I watched Damages — watching too many of them in a row made me uncomfortable. But I couldn’t stop because they were so good!

  • Caitie F July 23, 2010, 6:56 am

    Hi, i’m Caitie, i think we need to be friends. Thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly, I have also currently become addicted to Avatar: The Last Airbender. I am in the middle of season two as I type this, but I have a feeling I will be to Season 3 by the end of the day. Once I am done, I want to blog about what makes this such a great show (hmm maybe we could team up for that one?).

    But I love love love this show – if all kids TV was this good, I would watch more kids TV! That kids are watching shows like this that have such a diverse cast makes me really happy. I also love how the “villain” is as complex as the rest of the characters and is very sympathetic.

    Once I finish Avatar, I think my next addiction will be Buffy.

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:26 pm

      Caitie: I have three episodes of the series left. I’m sort of surprised I didn’t just finish it tonight, except that the last episode is really long! There are tons of reasons this is a great show, I could write quite a bit on it 🙂

      And yeah, I’ve loved watching Zuko develop as a character and a villain. He’s one of the best characters of the show.

      I’m not sure what’s after Avatar — maybe nothing so I can get back to reading!

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) July 23, 2010, 8:05 am

    My son likes this show too.

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:26 pm

      Kathy: You should watch it too, it’s good!

  • Trisha July 23, 2010, 10:56 am

    I was so laughing at your opening because I am the same way. TV on DVD is like crack. I was sick a couple months ago for five days and managed to watch three seasons of Supernatural. But even when I’m not sick, I can sit for hours and hours and watch TV on DVD forsaking social time, reading time, cleaning time, etc. I just started the first season of Airbender…. 🙂

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:28 pm

      Trisha: I’m the same way! I don’t usually just sit down and watch regular tv, but tv on DVD is just addictive. I think it’s because there are no commercials and then you can click on the next episode. I’ve been going to bed really late because of this show!

  • Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) July 23, 2010, 12:42 pm

    It’s my first time to your blog, and what a great post to start on. We’re HUGE Avatar: TLA fans around here. The problem with the movie had nothing to do with “racebending” for me — I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe those actors embodied the characters best; who knows? The Sokka actor certainly looked like he could possibly pull off the simple sarcastic boy-cum-hero role, I thought. But no. Bland, vanilla, worse than vanilla. Styrofoam. The problem with the movie was that it removed all the heart. It tried to touch upon some of the events in the series, but it was so superficial that it removed anything that might make you care at all about the characters — and it’s the characters, not flying rocks and fire shooting from fingers, that the series is really about.

    Also, the movie was like a REALLY badly made montage of the first season. Everything that was included was all out of order, done wrong, and either insulted fans of the series or undoubtedly confused the hell out of everyone else. Bah. Sucky. Watch the series a second time instead. Waaay more worth it.

    And yes, excellent point about TV on DVD. It’s the serial quality of it. We’re Netflix junkies now. LOST, Stargate (in all its incarnations) Battlestar Galactica, and many others have taken their turns as the addiction du jour.

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:31 pm

      Kimberly: It sucks that the actors they chose weren’t even good! You’re right — if they’d been good for the role then maybe it would have been easier to let go. Loosing the character in the show would be no good too because they are the best part. As I’ve been watching, I wondered how it could be possible to condense the series down to a single movie. I’m sorry it was so bad!

      I’ve been thinking about LOST, but that’s a commitment and I KNOW I’d get sucked in. Maybe when there are no more books to read… haha 🙂

  • monica @ paper bridges July 23, 2010, 12:46 pm

    my boys like this show but I haven’t seen it on in awhile. I like the animation/anime (did I spell that right?), but never paid much attention to the storyline. next time I will.

    and I’m glad to know we aren’t missing anything by not seeing it in the theater. DVD much cheaper.

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:31 pm

      Monica: Definitely pay attention. There are some really good episodes, and some that are not quite a great, so make sure you give it a couple. And yeah, DVD is much better!

  • Jennifer July 23, 2010, 12:50 pm

    I have a similar problem with TV shows. I can spend hours watching episode after episode of a series that I find interesting. My boyfriend loves this series and got the set for Christmas from his brother. I haven’t had the chance to watch it with him but maybe I should! I loved fantasy books (like you) when I was younger, but the interest has faded a little as I have gotten older. But maybe its time to pick up something treasured from the past.

    • Kim July 23, 2010, 7:34 pm

      Jennifer: I haven’t read fantasy in a long time, other than Harry Potter, but I might want to pick it up. I think this is really well-done fantasy — a solid world with believable people and just enough super powers to make things look cool 🙂

  • Scott July 26, 2010, 7:16 am

    My wife and I discovered Avatar years ago, while it was still airing on Nickelodeon. I absolutely love it, and the third season has some really amazing episodes. It’s been a couple years since we finished it, though, and I think we’re actually going to get back to it. Great show!

    (I refuse to see the movie as well, but mostly because of the reasons Kimberly listed above).

    • Kim July 27, 2010, 9:12 pm

      Scott: I just finished watching the last episode/movie and wow, that was awesome. I agree — third season had some great episodes. I especially loved the one right before the finale with the play — it was such a funny way to recap the series and get ready for the big last battle. Enjoy watching it again!

  • Anna July 27, 2010, 5:59 am

    My daughter loves this show! She got my husband hooked, too. I enjoy it but because I only watch episodes here and there, I think I’ve really missed out.

    • Kim July 27, 2010, 9:13 pm

      Anna: This is show that’s really built on characters, and part of what’s awesome about it is watching them all grow up over the course of the seasons. I tried to get Boyfriend to watch a few episodes with me, and I think part of why I couldn’t convince him it was so great was because he didn’t get to see all of it. If you get a chance, I think watching the whole series is worth the time.

  • Darby July 29, 2010, 9:02 pm

    This series is a beautiful piece of work. The story develops in a way that grasps your interest in every episode! I agree the use of unique Martial Art forms to each type of bending is genius and adds so much to the film. I love the character development and the actual depth this show has to it. It mixes drama and humor really well too keeping a great balance the entire time. The creators of this series are releasing another show in 2011, tentatively called Avatar: Legend of Korra. Korra is the next Avatar after Aang and is taught air bending by Aang and Katara’s son. I have hopes for it to be another great series!

  • Darby July 29, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Oh, and I did go see the movie version, not even nearly as good as teh tv series. I too was wondering what was with the specific races to each type of bending, it was odd. They also changed some of the names of the characters which was frustrating to me. Jet wasn’t in it either, and I fell in love with him, so yeah…I was sad about that.

    • Kim August 1, 2010, 5:09 pm

      Darby: You made so many good points that I totally agree with. I always liked the way they mixed drama and humor because it fit in with what the characters were doing. I’m excited about the second show, although I’ll probably have to wait and watch it on DVD since I don’t have cable.

  • Andrew August 18, 2010, 10:21 pm

    This series was so good that I’m actually having withdrawals and am looking to fill my time with something as good….I am having a hard time back to books because the story with Aang and crew was just so amazing….I heard there is going to be a mini-series that’s a spin off from this series…thanks wikipedia! I may have to watch the whole series again just to be at peace. I don’t want to see the movie because I will be disappointed but I will see it just because I don’t want it to end. Such an amazing show.

    • Kim August 24, 2010, 8:51 pm

      Andrew: I’ve been having withdrawls too, nothing seems quite as good 🙂 I can’t wait for the mini-series, as well.

  • David March 30, 2011, 9:38 pm

    I remember watching a couple of the episodes when the show was on Nickelodeon years ago. I always thought the episodes were amazing but for a reason or another i stopped watching them.

    Anyways 3 days ago I finally saw the Movie Avatar: The Last Airbender. And well I thought it was pretty bad and really nothing like the cartoon. So I decided to get all 3 books and since yesterday I been watching all the episodes back to back. I just got done watching them all a few minutes ago and now I just want more! lol it’s funny i’ve never felt like this before. I have never gotten addicted like this to any cartoon show or anything.

    and now i’m writing this comment. I love the avatarL the last airbender!

    • Kim March 31, 2011, 8:05 pm

      David: I haven’t bothered to watch the movie, since all of the people I respect that love the tv show said it was awful. And I wanted more when I got done watching too. I cannot wait until the sequel comes out!