Popular animated series 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' has landed on Netflix.
The release is undoubtedly meant to build anticipation for Netflix's planned live-action adaptation of the show, but no matter what the return of Airbender is a win-win for Netflix and viewers alike.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is an animated series that ran on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. It tells the story of Aang, a monk child with the unique power to manipulate ("bend") all of the elements: water, earth, fire, and air. The Avatar universe is also divided into "nations" based on these elements, and the genocidal Fire Nation seeks to subdue them all. Aang, the Avatar, is the only person with the ability to restore balance to the world. The problem is, he's only 12.
Watch full uncut "Aang vs. Fire Lord Ozai Final Battle" here
Airbender is perhaps best known for its respectful, intricate handling of its multicultural worldbuilding and themes, most of which draw from Asian cultures.
Airbender's fandom were not happy with the infamous whitewashing of the show's diverse cast in the live-action movie. Paramount's casting for the film erased all four of the distinctive cultures in the show in favor of casting white actors in the lead roles and dark-skinned actors for the villains from the warlike Fire Nation. When word of these casting choices reached fans in 2008, they revolted, spending the next two years until the film's 2010 debut boycotting the production until the controversy overshadowed the film itself.
Airbender's final season won a Peabody for "adding thoughtful substance to a genre best known for its style."
The series is widely believed to have started a "golden age" of serial animated TV which, while aimed at children, dealt with complex, nuanced themes that also gave the shows wide appeal among adults.