I finished Season 1 of the Avatar: The Last Airbender a couple of days ago, so I thought I’d take a quick moment to talk about Season 1 of the show. I’ve seen the entire series, but this will be the first time that I will have seen every episode.
65% – 75% of Season 1
So, when the show originally aired, I felt like I’d seen most of Season 1, and now that I’ve seen the entire season, I feel like that is mostly accurate. There are episodes that I did not see (like the 2 part season finale) that were crucial to the plot and to the development of the characters, but on the whole, I do feel like I saw more than enough episodes originally to have a fairly good context who who the characters were along with their motivations.
Aang The Airbender
One of the things that I don’t think that I saw/understood was how much Aang would be affected by the decision of the Airbenders of his temple and how their decision caused his own actions which ultimately lead him to vanishing (I’m being intentionally oblique here to avoid spoilers), but I think this is what George Lucas was trying for (and, unfortunately, ultimately failing) when trying to show the trauma that a young person goes through when they are forced to “grow up” and “train” at the cost of their “family.” Basically, I feel Aang’s pain and anguish in this season where I never felt it in Anakin in Star Wars through any of the 3 prequel movies. I think this might be because Aang is an older character than the version played by Jake Lloyd and younger than the character played by Hayden Christensen. Based on what I’ve seen this season, Lucas seems to have gotten his own character’s age and temperament wrong in order to accomplish the pathos that he wanted to show. Here, however, I feel the pain and anguish of Aang’s character.
While the name is in the episode titles, I don’t think that I really picked up the through line trajectory of the show. Obviously, I assume each season will show Aang learning more about the element that is featured in the title (including the culture associated with it), but it goes deeper than just the plot “through-line.” It also serves as a thematic tie into the show and we see how water and water bending is a preservation. There are a lot of stories dealing with water or have a water-related aspect to them. I really like the way it is integrated into storyline.
Doing it this way allows the show to use continuity at a time when most children’s shows were still episodic. In many ways, this show was ahead of its time by creating a longer narrative and trusting that its audience would follow even if they missed episodes. This is not the first children’s show to do this, but it one that mixes both a episodic and longer form narrative. There are many other shows that have tried this (children’s), but they rarely have been planned this way from the beginning. For instance, Pirates of Dark Water have a similar type of story (finding the 13 treasures), but the show didn’t last long enough for the crew to find all 13 treasures.
I really liked Season 1 and I feel like I have more context for the story now that I’ve seen all the episodes. Looking forward to season 2!
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Currently Working On (7/2020):
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Drafting: First Draft
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- I, Mage (Urban Fantasy Story)
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