Avatar: TLA Re-watch – Introduction

I really, really like the animated series: Avatar: The Last Airbender.

So starting this Friday, I am going to start a new twice-weekly series of blog posts to re-watch the show from the beginning. On Friday, I’ll watch and then write a post about the first episode. Then, every Tuesday and Friday, I’ll be discussing each subsequent episode, eventually making it through all three seasons.

But here’s the thing. What I would really like is for you to join me in re-watching, and then discussing the show! As with any fandom, discussing the show with like-minded fans is just as much fun as watching the show in the first place, and I think that this program is deep enough to support some really good discussions.

I will be posting each entry on my blog at christianaellis.com of course, but I will also be posting on my stream at Google Plus. If you’re on Google Plus, I would like to encourage you to participate in the discussion there. In the last couple weeks, I’ve found it to be a really good place for community-centric conversations. (If you’re not on Google Plus and need an invite, just say the word!)

So, here’s why you should participate.

First, the entire run of the show is on Netflix streaming, and the DVD sets are still relatively easy to find.

If you’ve already seen the show, then you know how awesome it is. Think how much fun it will be to revisit it and discuss with friends! Especially since the sequel series “The Legend of Korra” is coming next year!

If you saw the movie but not the cartoon, then imagine only the good parts of the movie, and add humor, warmth, depth, and heart.

If you’ve never seen either incarnation, then let me offer you a brief pitch. In my own personal opinion, Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the most satisfying television shows I have ever seen, and I don’t only mean animated shows. It is a masterpiece of serial storytelling, with a diverse cast of complex, interesting characters as well as incredible world-building.  It is funny, scary, touching, and fascinating, all the while staying family-friendly without sacrificing nuance.

The story takes place in a fantastical world of four nations, each representing and personifying one of the four elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Each nation has special individuals, skilled in “Bending”, a sort of elemental magic based on the element of their home nation. At least that’s how it used to be…

Slowly, but surely, the Fire Nation has been conquering the world. They have already wiped out the pacifistic Air Nomads, and have turned their eyes on the Water and Earth nations. This isn’t supposed to happen. The Avatar, a special chosen one with the ability to master all four disciplines of elemental bending, is supposed to keep the world in balance. But the Avatar disappeared over a hundred years ago, and no new Avatar came forward to take his place. Ever since, the world has been slowly sliding out of balance, leading to war and chaos.
Until now…

Please join me in watching the first episode:  “The Boy in the Iceberg”, and then come back on Friday for the discussion! Hope to see you there!


  • Tibbi says:

    Looking forward to this re-watch.

  • Nigel says:

    Having not started off this post by effusively declaring what a cool person I think you are and how much I enjoy your various creative expressions and just offerings of opinion, I have cleverly avoided any sense of awkwardness which may thereby have resulted. I only mention this to say that doing so has made me quite pleased with myself.

    Anyway, a very cool idea. I really enjoyed watching the entire series. While I’m probably not a fan of it to the same extent that you are, I am quite a fan of your work, so I guess it evens out.

    My favorite anime were those of Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo). I wish he would make something else again. Also, I really, really enjoyed watching GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) alot. And a final Japanese show (though one with real people) was Long Vacation. Really enjoyed that too. (Okay, end of unrelated content). Looking forward to reading along with this discussion.

    Thank you for continuing to express yourself.


  • Christiana says:

    Awkwardness averted! Well done!

    It’ll be great to have you along, and I hope you enjoy.

    Cowboy Bebop is one of my favorites as well, and I also really enjoyed Samurai Champloo.

    One of the things that I like so much about Avatar is how seamlessly it blends many anime traditions with western storytelling, making something that really feels fresh, but at the same time, rooted in a rich history.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • Kaesa says:

    YAY. I keep meaning to do a rewatch but I, well, I get distracted. (Torchwood, Game of Thrones, My Little Pony… you know how it is.) So I’m looking forward to this. I love A:TLA’s worldbuilding to bits; one of my friends says the sign of a well-built world is that you feel like if you wandered away from the narrative, you wouldn’t fall off the edge of the world, and that’s how Avatar is.

    Also, it has Toph in it, and Iroh. I can’t decide which one of them is more awesome.