In 2005, one of the best-animated series of all time aired on Nickelodeon. Avatar: The Last Airbender chronicles the adventures of Aang, the last Airbender, and the Avatar, possessing mastery over all four elements – water, earth, fire, and air. Joined by his companions Katara and Sokka, Aang sets out on a mission to vanquish the oppressive Fire Nation and restore equilibrium to the world.

While, on the surface, you may think it’s a silly children’s cartoon, the storytelling and character arcs would prove you wrong. The writing in this series is better than most Emmy Winning Drama’s. So, when Netflix decided to give us our first-ever adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender the fans, while excited, were also extremely skeptical.


The original animated series comprised twenty 20-minute episodes. In contrast, Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender series spans 8 (mostly) 1-hour episodes, delving into a vast expanse of content and beyond. While there are changes to storylines, condensing and/or expanding, the heart of the series is fully intact. I fell right back in love with my favorite characters and was ready to go on this magical journey again.

One of my favorite additions happens in the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender . Originally, we only ever heard about what happened to Ang and the Airbenders from the opening monologue of the animated series. Now, viewers get to see it happen and it is even more devastating than I imagined. One of the biggest changes, that I’m not 100% sold on is the lack of humor. That’s not to say the live-action series doesn’t have its charm or iconic funny moments. However, the series delves much more into the darker side of things leaving me yearning for the lightheartedness of the original. We have time for that later.


There is so much to love about this new Avatar: The Last Airbender series, a lot of which has to do with casting our favorite characters. Staring with our trio Aang, Katara, and Sokka. Gordon Cormier’s (The Stand) Aang is perfection. He captures the youthful spirit, fun, and excitement that Aang has to have while effortlessly navigating the tougher moments. Kiawentiio Tarbell (Anne with an E) is a lovely Katara, and Ian Ousley (Physical) looks like Sokka come to life. Although the two may appear somewhat rigid on occasion, it doesn’t detract from my enjoyment. The trio’s interaction captures the essence of their characters and I can see them growing throughout the following seasons if given the chance.

Dallas Liu (The Slumber Party) faced a significant challenge in stepping into the role of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s Prince Zuko. This character undergoes one of the most compelling character arcs I have witnessed, and I am eagerly anticipating Liu’s portrayal of Zuko in its entirety. His portrayal of Zuko in season 1 is exactly what I wanted – a fully layered tunnel visioned brat, with a soft spot for his uncle. Honestly, my only complaint is the refusal to fully embrace his face burn. At first, it looks like a port wine birthmark, but as the series goes along they begin to get it right. It’s a small, but significant issue. I don’t need him to look like Freddy Kruger, but at least look at reference photos people.

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience) is the perfect Uncle Iroh! Exuding charm and sharing impeccable chemistry with Liu, his presence in every scene was truly delightful. Although Azula is not currently the central focus of the series, Elizabeth Yu’s (May December) portrayal has piqued my anticipation for the upcoming installments. As the major antagonist in season 2, this baddie is just biding her time to shine. Same for Fire Lord Ozai played by Daniel Dae Kim (Joy Ride). Right now he’s serving his purpose and doing a great job as a terrible father. There’s so much more to come.

The elemental bending is truly spectacular. If you didn’t know, each element (earth, air, fire, water) has it’s own fighting style that truly shine throughout the series. Watching these elements come to life made them even more impressive and sometimes terrifying.

I can’t forget our animal companions! Appa our flying Bison is adorable as ever! Of course we get to hear Aang say his iconic, “yip, yip!”. And Momo, our flying lemur, is too cute. However, he leans a little more slow loris, but I’m not mad at it.


Purist. Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender isn’t for you. That’s okay, you can watch the Animated Series until your heart is content. However, I truly enjoyed this adaptation. While it’s not perfect, and there are some changes I didn’t care for (Bumi’s storyline…I’m looking at you) I found it to be a fantastic retelling of one of my favorites.

This adaptation is for everyone, whether you’ve seen the animated series or not. I’m looking forward to where it goes, and all the new Avatar: The Last Airbender fans it creates!

Netflix. Give me all three seasons!