Avatar State Of Mind
(Note. The title of todays blog is a play on Jay Z's Empire State Of Mind and makes me wish someone had done a nerdy version of that tune with Avatar references instead of New York)
I just finished watching the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender for at least the fourth or fifth time. If the giant poster that’s in the background of a lot of the photos of me you see on here or the big tattoo on my leg isn’t indication enough, I bloody love this show.
The thing is the feeling that I’m getting this time round is that Avatar isn’t just a show I love because of some personal connection I make with it or anything like that, it’s more a case of it being about as close to perfect as you can get.
Seriously. It may be an animated show from Nickelodeon that is made with a mostly kid audience, at least that’s how it was pitched and green lit, but this show has everything that we associate to the peak tv shows we all consume today.
You enjoy the mythology and world building of Game of Thrones? The world of Avatar has a rich history hundreds and thousands of years old that we learn about throughout its seasons and spoiler alert, it sticks the landing and has way more of a satisfying conclusion.
Do you think the genre twisting of Westworld is good? There are episodes of this show that completely subvert expectations or act as a commentary on not just the tropes of a genre but aren’t afraid to point out the cliches it uses itself.
The cinematography of The Handmaids Tale is great right? I was watching the season finale of Avatar and there were multiple scenes I wanted to pause it and suggest the screenshot for the brilliant twitter account @OnePerfectShot because they were so beautifully framed and lit.
The humour is as witty as it is goofy, especially considering the show has to appeal to all ages. The action and choreography is on par with any top martial arts film and is not an unfollowable mess. You know where each character is in every scene and despite the fantastical elements, no pun intended, everything in the fight scenes feels plausible.
Most importantly the characters feel alive. They all have well defined motivations, characteristics, goals and story arcs. From the main four or five characters down to supporting players, many of whom reappear in the show at later points, everyone feels like a real person with their own story in the world. Not just inserted to serve the plot of the main cast.
I could go on for hours about individual aspects of the show that are so great, but as I’m still re-watching it I think I’ll save some of that for later posts.
The one thing I wanted mention today though is the similarities between the character of Zuko in Avatar and Kylo Ren in the Star Wars sequels.
These two are very similar! Both have a fall from grace (coincidently both times involving Mark Hamill) a frenzied and ravenous nature and hunt for our protagonist but there is another level to them also, a light, an inherent goodness deep down. Knowing the arc that Zuko takes throughout the course of The Last Airbender series it has me speculating a lot on how Kylo Ren’s story will play out in The Rise Of Skywalker. I guess I’ll find out in a few months time.
I hope I’ve inspired those of you who have not watched Avatar to go and check it out. Let me know what you think. I’ll be back tomorrow with... something else! Who knows what!?