Avatar (the second series) is now over, so let’s take a quick look back. I’m writing this, mostly I guess to air out how i feel about the episode, more so than actually trying to say something.
My biggest complaints are that the entire series can’t live up to the original, but standing on its own, it is one of the best shows airing on western TV (well, for cartoons that is). The original Avatar was epic, three seasons that kept you glued to each episode, while Korra is more mature and more “grown up.” First, Korra for the most part is a teenager, no longer just a child like Aang was, Korra is nearly an adult.
With her being an adult comes a change in the way character relationships work. Aang and Katara were a childhood friendship that turned into a relationship throughout the series. Aang himself was confused at what love was or how love felt as the show matured and their personal relationship was rarely the source of the plot, with the exception of when Aang met the Guru.
Korra, on the other hand, is straight in the middle of a love triangle. Bolin loves Korra, Korra loves Mako, Mako loves Korra and Asami, and Asami loves Mako. The parts that discuss the relationships of the individual characters do help to flesh out their backstories more, but also takes away from the plot, which moved at a snails pace throughout the first season.
Not to avoid spoilers, but you basically have six episodes that attempt to give you an idea of what’s going on, five episodes that create a world in trouble for the Avatar to eventually save, and the final episode to bring closure to the first season. What I find interesting is that they made it where the first season wraps up the entire plot line that started in episode one. As in, when the second season starts, they’ll need to start fresh at creating trouble for the Avatar to take on. I find that to be interesting, because the series should have enough “this is going to get a second season” momentum to not make it where they need to contain the first season in its own separate world. In the first series, they wrapped up the major plot points, but didn’t finish the fire lord until season 3.
Again, though, that’s comparing it to the original series, which was a different monster. The first series for pure fantasy, no mechanical elements were introduced until much later when Aang arrives at the air temple with the firebenders who were living there. The second series is full on steam punk, with electricity, cars, airships, and of course goggles. Lots and lots of goggles. The change of direction for the art is interesting, but I liked it when the characters were more restricted in the ways that they fought, instead of an ever escalating technological advantage for the enemies. Of course, we’re also dealing with the “avatar” who should, by all means, be better than having to fight some mechanization.
Overall, the second series is rather fulfilling and rather interesting and lives somewhat true to the original. However, I don’t find it to be as good, simply because it’s a sequel and sequels have a difficult time living up to the legacy of the series before them.
One thing I’d like to note, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise (available at Amazon or your local comic book store) is a great way to go from series 1 to series 2. I wish they had finished the trilogy before the second series started (it’s ongoing as of writing this), but it does provide some insight on how the world went from four nations, to four nations and a neutral city state.