Avatar: The Last Airbender

Sorry there isn’t going to be a post about The Sending today, and I didn’t give anyone advanced notice of this, I wasn’t sure if I was going to have time for a different sort of project. As you can tell from the title, I’m going to talk about Avatar: The Last Airbender (or A:TLA to its fans). Now you might be thinking of James Cameron’s Avatar with the blue people of Pandora, or even The Last Airbender (Avatar removed to keep people thinking it was related to the other Avatar) movie from 2010 by M. Night Shyamalan (which should be never seen by anyone!), but I’m talking about Nickelodeon’s A:TLA.

Now why am I doing that today, this animated TV show “for kids” (just like Harry Potter is “for kids”) was out years ago (8 years tomorrow in fact from the 1st episode’s premiere) and the finale was back in 2008! But today I finally watched the 4-part series finale, Sozin’s Comet, and when I say ‘finally’ let me tell you it has been a long journey with A:TLA. I started watching it back in what I guess was 2005, when it came to Australia on the ABC, on a show called ‘Rollercoaster’. I would come home from school and watch the program, and that was when I saw Episode 1: The Boy in the Iceberg for the first time. Yep, I saw the entire first season when it came out in Australia, so I’ve been with it from the start. So why has it taken 8 years for me to watch the finale, well once season 1 had ended, there was obviously a hiatus before the next season began. And in that time, I didn’t forget about the show, but I didn’t keep track of when it would return to my TV. In fact, I even pretended that I was a water bender whenever I went near water, and I did so with friends to (if you’ve seen the show, I’m pretty sure anyone would do the exact same!).

So when season two returned, I missed a few episodes, before seeing by chance on TV. And then I would forget the next week before remembering about it later. So I saw a few episodes of season two, but then I think the season went on another hiatus, and then I don’t even know if it ever returned to our TV’s on ‘free-to-air’ (which is different to America, because the majority of people don’t have ‘cable’ or ‘pay-TV’). I didn’t forget about the show, but there was nothing really I could do, and sorta moved on.

In time though, I found the show on Mark Watches, where he was going through the series for the first time, and I only found that months after he had done it. But it had made me resolve to finish the series from start to finish. Which in the end (today) I finally did. But it’s certainly taken a long time, I had to find copies of the show, and sometimes I was busy, and I didn’t want to watch it all in one night, and wanted to savour it, and wanted to read Mark’s thoughts on it. Which finally leads me to now, over a year since I started my rewatch/first run through of A:TLA.

When I finally got to new episodes I was so excited, and at the end of season two I was electrified (no pun intended!) and captivated. But I knew there were only 21 episodes left, so enjoyed them as much as I could. I’m not going to spoil any of the series at all, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t fret, I won’t ruin it, but you must promise to go and find the show and watch it all! Honestly, it is the best hours of television I have seen, and is ranked so highly in my list of favourite shows, if not the highest. You might think, oh, animated by Nickelodeon, but honestly the themes that are dealt in the series are so complex and mature, that it’s a surprise it IS by Nickelodeon!

The final episode (well the four parts) I watched today, and it was emotional. Having spent about 7 years of my life with this show, even if I wasn’t up to date with it, is something big. It’s not quite like finishing Harry Potter, that is something else, but it has the same feeling, and part of it doesn’t feel real, because I think, well there’s always the next episode (and I’m not counting The Legend of Korra, which I’ll eventually get around to watching). But there is no ‘next episode’, the show is over (yes there are probably extras I need to see like the un-aired pilot, bonus scenes, and all the fandom over the last 7 years!) and I could say that ‘part of my life is too’, but that is really corny, and I don’t know if that’s true. I had tingles for nearly the whole hour and a half, and it was the best episodes yet. It wrapped up everything neatly, and was beautiful (that’s one thing you need to know, the show is beautiful especially in the later episodes), but as always leaving things open (just in case someone wanted to open it up again, and who knows whether those things will be answered in Korra).

It has been a long ride, but I’ve enjoyed it all, and finishing the series is a bitter-sweet moment, I know how it ends, but it’s over now. I’m going to have to get used to that with The Obernewtyn Chronicles (which will finish NEXT year) and all the other series both on TV and in print, that I love, which will all come to an end eventually. I’m just so glad that the show was made, and I hope to everyone who hasn’t seen it, decides to try it, you won’t regret it!

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