kevinjdog: (Default)
2017-07-22 03:00 pm

Avatar: the Last Airbender and the process of disengaging

So about four years ago, Dave and Joel introduced me to "Avatar: The Last Airbender." Every time I visited them we would watch about two episodes, which made the story go rather slowly. Then, one Christmas, Joel got me my own copy (go Joel!). By this time I hadn't seen it for a while, so my enthusiasm for it had died down. I told Tim we could watch it together but he'd have to see the first season by himself, and I'd join him at the second season, where I'd left off. Slowly my enthusiasm for the show grew again, until midway through the third season I discovered I was rapt. Right now I've just finished with "The Boiling Rock," and I realized what a good thing this recent viewing of the series has done for me.

It has been very hard to say goodbye to Newshounds once and for all. The three-volume set is my "bow" on the story (I didn't call it "complete" for nothing) and a self-inducement to move on. Maybe "Newshounds" wasn't a person, but I was still in mourning over it. Sure, I've got some other projects on the horizon, but I'd put my heart and soul into this for so long, and I loved the characters and stories so much. I still do. And I still don't want it to go, even though there's nowhere else to take this story. (It doesn't help that it didn't become the massive success I still believe it should have been.) Somehow, I had to work on disengaging from it; I had to FIND a way to let it go.

Avatar has been helping. I'm amazed at how well-done some of the turns in the third season have been. Admittedly, it's a flawed show. Characters are inconsistently portrayed (lookin' at you, Sokka kid; also, I don't believe Zuko and Mai as a couple) and some of the goofy faces get on my nerves (especially in the first season). I do have to remind myself that the clunky expository dialogue is there because it's targeted to be a kid's show.

But it's got so much going for it. The painstaking martial arts awareness and mythology-building are just a bonus buttressing the interconnected stories and the sense of wonder with every new episode. There was so much thought put into the series that I wouldn't be surprised if it spent more than five years in development. It's magical, it's amazing, and it's thoroughly engrossing.

And to make that mean a little more, be aware I don't actually LIKE a lot of things, apart from music. This is an admission I make freely. I'm somewhat engaged with Star Trek TOS/TNG; I like my friends' webcomics; and I enjoy some of the classic, zanier Britcoms. It really takes a lot to get me into something, because most of the time I'll just get impatient and want to get back to making my own stuff. Passive entertainment does nothing for me. I want to create, create, create... and the only reason I don't do it more is because DAY JOB BARELY MAKES RENT.

Avatar has broken that barrier. Once I finish the series I may move heaven and earth to get the sequel series, "The Legend of Korra." I'm not going to be super-fanboyish about it (I do not want a bunch of Aang maquettes for my cats to knock over) but I do think it's an excellent - maybe even transcendent - series worth watching once, even twice. And for once, I've thought to myself, "Well, if I didn't make it, that show DID, and that proves to me there is good in the world somewhere." That attitude is helping a lot in disengaging myself from my own failure. (Oh, did I say "failure"? I shouldn't say that. I meant "failure.")

In the future, I may make more detailed posts about plot points and characters I liked and disliked. We shall see.