Series Review | Netflix: Avatar The Last Air Bender

First I should mention that I am a lover of the original animated ATLA, as well as Legend of Korra. I have not dived into the comics, however, I think that’s best for this review. I’m going to give a short spoiler free summation and then I’ll go into each episode.

*Fun Fact: The reason series are being made with only 8 episodes and open ended is because studios are only giving 8 episodes and the potential for second seasons are increadibly low. Also the casting director doesn’t get Final say.

-The video style is reminicent of Hook
-The original creators exited the project for “Creative Differences”, understandably so

-Important plot points were changed drastically
-The difference between acting experience and training is vast
-It’s aiming for a dark and inspiring story
-The costume design is fabulous
-Excessive  exposition
-Great score
-The industry should use more practical effects

I have a few pages of notes and a lot of them are questions. They essentially glanced at the scource material, applied it beautifully to the costuming and then threw it out the window. Majority of the characters have different personalities and back stories or stories mixed from later sesons.

Ep1: There’s an Avatar notebook
Not only did they change the opening scene to include earth benders rebeling, Monk Gyatso died differently. Aang is actually flying and the other air benders are very impressed by him, and there’s dialogue added to imply that we should care about Aang. They added more villagers to the souther water tribe, but Soka is supposed to be the only of age boy to reenforce the damage caused by the fire nation.(The issue with the actor’s casting was also poorly addressed) Rather than deadpan and relaxed, Gran gran is portrayed as a stereotypical native healer with ominous delivery. Uncle Iroh isn’t exactly jolly yet fierce but more preachy. We all know Katara has a famed mother complex, however, they slighty changed her death in a way that won’t allow her to find closure with Zuko. She also becomes Extremely good at water bending in about a day. Katara and Soka were also never taught yipyip but are able to fly Appa.
Ep2: Suki has a mom
The villages throughout the series are portrayed more densely populated.  Apparently rituals/cosmic events are no longer needed for Aang materialize as past avatars. I don’t recall Commander Zhao at Kyoshi Island and Zuko never mentions his honor.
Ep3&4: The Secret to love is holding hands
Ozai acknowledges Zuko’s and Azula is now insecure, bratty and talkative. What are Mae(who is not portrayed as matter of fact or bored) and Ty Lee doing there? Omashu’s storyline has been combined with the northern air temple, and the freedom fighters, and the cave of two lovers(w/o Aang present) to the episode’s detriment. The prosthetics could’ve been avoided casting someone older and as ripped as Bumi is supposed to be. Aang is able to identify Bumi by his snort, he is also on leaning toward the wrong side of eccentric. They also have Omashu looking raggedy because they added other story lines. The side characters are getting a lot of screen time that detracts from better use of time. There’s an interesting Liu Ten scene. They laid on the earth bender rage thick.
Ep5: Wan Shi Tong is not in the Library
First of all Katara and Soka never went to the spriit world but now there’s a tailed fox. The southern water tribe had Ice Dodging trials, and their dad is a kid doubting dream crusher. Ko looks like a possed doll and Aang’s bottom lip was quivering, pulling little faces without worry because he still hasn’t spoken to Roku. Do you recall Ko being a spider? Zuko is portrayed closer to a 10 yr old.
Ep6: Roku is a theif
Aang goes to the temple to see Roku for help with Ko, whom he is scared of but stole the totem that he got from his mother(The Mother of Faces) which he gives him to trade. June saves him from the moks upon exit to hand him over to Zuko and finds Iroh cute. Aang and Zuko bond over caligraphy, because he wrote the Avatar notebook Aang stole when he escaped incorrectly in the first episode. Aang also left Zuko’s swords behind at the prison to be identified.
Ep:7 Azula is the One
There are no pirates but we were introduced to blasting jelly earlier. The Northern Water Tribe is named Agnikela. . . I looked it up the closest was Agnikula(Family of the Fire God). All the bald caps are balding and the battle happens in the next few hours after Aangs already expected arrival with no training. Paku is slightly talkative and still doesn’t train Katara. Yueh is the fox, she’s a spiritual priestess that plays in the spirit world and broke up with Han, who is a nice guy that still dies. Her wig is reminicent of European court, she’s pale with dark eyes and she’s a water bender. Katara and Paku’s fight was subpar, they lacked wrist flick as well. We also meet Kuruk who’s a recluse and downer that no one looks to anymore. Azule has a fight with Ozai.
Ep8: The Ice Moon
The war balloon makes an appearance and Zuko is sneaking in, in broad daylight. There’s a helm left unattended to blow up the ship easily. Kuruk had a special knife stolen. Zhao, though acted well is more eccentric and arrogant diva, and he didn’t know Tui and La are koi but we finally see them. Paku gives Katara subordinates even though she never learned anything from him, which somehow makes her a master. Katara and Zuko fight and they kept the line “You found a master haven’t you”. There’s a we’re family speech and all the women come to aid in the war and someone ran to a falling edge to fall with it. La looks and sounds like godzilla. Yueh gets a slight blue tint to her pupil as the color fades in and out with black and white. Zhao still dies but not by La. Azula captured Omashu.

Overall I don’t expect a second season but if they do the story will only further tangle. If you watched it let me know your thoughts.