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Let The Last Airbender be

Apparently, Netflix is planning to make a live-action television adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender and I could not be more annoyed.

It does  not make sense – my anger, I mean. Nothing in this world obligates me to watch the show if they actually make it. Yet, something about the idea irritates me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Avatar: The Last Airbender the cartoon. The show came out years ago on Nickelodeon. The story it told took place in a world where ordinary people could bend the elements.

With society divided into kingdoms shaped along the lines of the elements their populations could control, the Avatar was a powerful figure that could bend all the elements and whose role it was to maintain peace and balance.

There are people out there that would dismiss Avatar as just another Nickelodeon cartoon, but that’s a mistake. Avatar is one of the greatest shows to ever appear on television. Not the best-animated show but the best show period; on par with almost any television drama you can name today.

The cartoon stood out not only because of its scintillating action and fantastical setting but also the depth of its highly complex characters, the layered stories it told every week and the scope of its world.

Avatar also gave us one of the greatest finales ever put to the small screen. The show ended after four seasons, and it left us wanting more, which means that I should be jumping over the moon at the notion of a live-action television adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

But excitement is the last thing I’m feeling right now. Well, look at it this way. A television adaptation of The Last Airbender makes so much more sense than a movie.

Television gives you plenty of time to properly unwrap all the significant character arcs and plot threads whereas the movie adaptation we got in 2010 failed partially because it tried to squeeze an entire season of content into two hours.

But here is the thing. While a television adaption makes all the sense in the world, it is also a very pointless and largely redundant effort. We already saw the perfect television version of The Last Airbender.

That Nickelodeon cartoon was as perfect an adaptation of that story as we could possibly get. The producers gave us a well-written, appropriately paced action-packed, character-based show delivered in thirty-minute chunks every week.

Do any of us actually believe that a live-action television adaptation will improve on the animated show? Because I don’t see that happening, and that makes this whole announcement so irritating.

Why not invest in a continuation of the original story? No offense to fans of Korra but that sequel did not even come close to living up to The Last Airbender’s standards; and to be clear, I don’t think Korra was a bad show.

It was mostly…okay, which would not have been a problem if its predecessor had not been so amazing. This Netflix adaptation is a waste of time and money. And the fact that the original writers of the Last Airbender cartoon will be involved in its creation means nothing.

These same people helped Shyamalan make the 2010 Avatar movie.  They worked closely with the director to bring that monstrosity to life. Why should we believe that they will do better this time around?

mbjjnr8@gmail.com

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