Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender

TV-14

netflix

Netflix pulls off a better live action attempt, but it’s still a pale imitation of the classic Nickelodeon animated series

6.0

TV Show

United States of America
English
Action & Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
2024
Dallas Liu, Daniel Dae Kim, Gordon Cormier

TLDR

Well, it’s not the worst adaptation, but so far, it hasn't topped the best adaptation: namely, the Ember Island Players episode.

What it's about

In a world where people can manipulate the elements of water, earth, fire, and air, only the Avatar can master all four and save the world at war.

The take

Adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender for live action was always going to be a tall order, especially after the critically panned Shyamalan film. With the greater respect towards the cultures that inspired the original, Netflix’s adaptation is already slightly better than the first live-action attempt, but at least there are more reasons to appreciate this version. The cute furballs are still cute here (and not terrifying), and there’s slightly more successful attempts at humor. But this show suffers from the same mindset plenty of live action adaptations have– it prioritizes realism over story, and real-looking production design over characters.

What stands out

The Netflix show’s first season is roughly the same length as Book 1, yet somehow, it still feels rushed as The Last Airbender. There’s more time spent on the lore and making the world feel like it could actually be real, but because of this, there’s less moments spent with the excellent, empathizable characters seen in the original. This just makes me want to watch the original series, but at least it doesn’t feel agonizing as the first live-action attempt.

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