Avatar: The Mind-bending Experience Returns to Netflix

Brianna Caldwell ‘22, Assistant Features Editor

Water… Earth… Fire… Air. Long ago the four nations lived in harmony… 


Recognize this iconic intro? If so, you might be one of the millions of people who enjoy Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. The children’s show, created in 2005, made a return to Netflix this May during the height of quarantine. While new watchers were able to experience flying around on Appa with the “Gaang” and visiting all of the various bending nations for the first time, lifelong fans got a chance to get a taste of childhood nostalgia and revisit some of their favorite characters. 


The show has struck a chord with so many of its watchers for various reasons, from the exciting plot and loveable characters, to the marvelous world-building and the captivating powers of benders. Focusing on a group of children trying to end  a hundred year war, the series deals with themes such as loss, hope, balance, and friendship, while still being entertaining. The show has been praised for its diversity and appreciation of cultures, as seen with the Inuit inspired Water Tribes, East Asian references in the Fire Nation, the Tibetan styled Air Nomads, and so much more. During a time when people are calling for more diversity on television, The Last Airbender seems almost ahead of its time. 


It would be unfair to discuss Atla without mentioning its sequel, The Legend of Korra. This spin-off also deals with heavy topics that come along with the rise of industry and technology, topics such as struggles of equality, the roles of government and personal beliefs, and dictatorship. 


The original Gaang have gone their own ways, leaving behind a new world where the bending nations live together in harmony—and the next generation’s avatar. Avatar Korra of the Southern Water Tribe had trained her whole life to master three of the four before heading to modernized Republic City, where she meets her “Krew.” There Korra begins her Avatar duties and sets forth upon journey of self-discovery. 


Another thing that we can’t mention  ATLA without discussing is the live action remake, which has been ill-received by fans, to say the least. Excitement arose when Netflix announced that they were going to create a new adaptation, but fans became skeptical once the show’s original creators dropped out of the project due to conflicting directions for the new series.