Why Avatar: The Last Airbender Deserves All the Hype it Gets

February 21, 2005.

The day that the legendary TV show Avatar:The Last Airbender (A:TLA) debuted on Nickelodeon. Now, you might be thinking, what’s so cool about a kid’s cartoon show? But, from it’s beautiful cultural representation to how it introduces mature themes in a lighthearted way, I can say with 100% certainty that A:TLA has forever made its mark as one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

I’m sure that all of us have heard the iconic intro of A:TLA one way or another:

“Water. Earth. Fire. Air.

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them. But when the world needed him most, he vanished.

A hundred years passed and my brother and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang, and although his airbending skills are great, he still has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anyone.

But I believe Aang can save the world.”

To provide a brief summary, this TV show takes place in a world divided into four different nations that are based on elements of the world: Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. In this universe, there are people who are called Benders, who are able to control and manipulate the element of their respective nation. And as you probably read from the opening, the Avatar is a person who is able to control all 4 elements. Aang, who is an airbender and happens to be the last one of his kind, is discovered in an iceberg (along with his amazing sky bison, Appa) by Katara, a waterbender, and her brother Sokka, who are members of the Southern Water Tribe. The Water Tribes take inspiration from Inuit, Yupik, and Sirenik Eskimos (which can be seen in their attire and their living conditions), and waterbending is a clear parallel to the Chinese martial art Tai Chi!

Because Aang was discovered to be alive, since it was widely believed that the Avatar had died (because Aang was trapped in that iceberg for 100 years), Zuko, the prince of the Fire Nation, along with his wise Uncle Iroh are on the hunt to find the Avatar and reclaim Zuko’s honor. To provide some background, during the time when Aang was in the iceberg, the Hundred-Year War raged on, allowing the Fire Nation to take over many parts of the world. The Fire Nation is a very well done portrayal of real-life imperialism, and firebending takes inspiration from the Northern Shaolin martial art.

Along the way, they encounter many different types of people, including a talented earthbender named Toph, a skilled warrior named Suki, and Azula, Zuko’s younger sister who is a firebending prodigy and a manipulative mastermind, along with her two friends, Mai and Ty Lee.

Of course, the things that I have described in this review is only a brief summary of this show and only scratches the surface of what this show has to offer. It explores how to live with the loss of loved ones, with Katara losing her mother to the Fire Nation, understanding inner turmoils when deciding your identity, which is shown in Zuko’s beautiful character arc, and even dealing with other historical events, such as underground brainwashing and corrupt governments. Yet, despite the various themes and dark occurrences that this show goes in-depth about, A:TLA still manages to capture the attention of viewers from all ages, while still having a detailed, well-written plot intertwined with the illustration of various cultures. I really cannot stress enough how much I love this show, and being able to rewatch it on Netflix after years and years of not remembering it was an amazing experience for me. So please, if you haven’t seen this show, I am urging you to watch it, and I hope that you too can embark on this journey as Team Avatar works together to save the world!!

Yip yip!

-Juianne T.

TV Show Review: Seinfeld

I’ve only seen the first two seasons of Seinfeld so far, but I’m greatly enjoying the show.

Jerry Seinfeld, the main character, is a stand-up comedian who lives in New York. Many of his performances are inspired by events or people in the show, and we get to see these performances at the beginning, middle, and end of each episode. The three other main characters are George, Elaine, and Kramer, who lives in the same apartment complex as Jerry and frequently pays him visits. Jerry and his friends are always making comments about the strange habits of humans no one else seems to address.

Since the show takes place in ’90s New York, it’s interesting to see the difference in style in terms of hair, technology, clothing, and more.

What I like about the show is that it’s very light-hearted and entertaining. There’s no real plot to the series, but that’s what makes it fun. For instance, the entirety of one episode takes place in a restaurant. However, it’s far from boring. The characters and the jokes keep the audience interested and amused.

Though the show might seem similar to Friends since both shows include single characters living in New York, the differences in characters, story, and humor set them apart from each other. Unlike Seinfeld, Friends has a more complex plot and I think the characters have more complicated relationships with each other (although, as I’ve only seen the first two seasons of Seinfeld, this might change). However, I still enjoy both shows!

I would suggest the show to fans of Friends and The Office, or anyone looking for a TV series that is light-hearted and comforting.

– Mia T.

Comparison: High School Musical vs. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

Flashback: It’s January 20, 2006, you’re sitting in front of the TV, as the beginning credits play for the new Disney Channel Original Movie: High School Musical. Now fast forward 13 years (crazy isn’t it?), you have the Disney+ app opened on your device, about to play the first episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.

Now, if you were a big fan of HSM like I was when you were younger, chances are, there probably was some speculation, wondering if the new HSM would be just as good as the original. In my opinion, I personally think that the new version is actually quite good. It’s not as good as the original, of course, but it isn’t a complete fail.

Basically, the new version is like a musical inside of a musical (if that makes sense). It’s kind of like in Teen Beach Movie, where the main characters were stuck inside of the movie, in the actual movie. It revolves around the kids who attend the actual East High School, and are putting on their own rendition of the musical itself. The characters of the actual show (Ricky, Nini, EJ, Gina, Big Red, Kourtney, etc.), then audition for the parts they want (Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan, Chad, Taylor, etc.).

So far, there have only been four episodes released, packed with tons of drama, comedy, romance, heartbreak, and of course, tons of singing. If you were a High School Musical fan when you were younger, the new version might be a little too young for you, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

-Phoebe L.

Waste of Space by Gina Damico

Most children dream of becoming astronauts and going to space. Even though most of us do not go to the moon, the dream of going to space is always there. In the book, Waste of Space, the dream comes true for ten teenagers. The production company, DV8, needs a new television show, and they come up with Waste of Space.

The premise is to send ten teenagers to space in a spaceship, where they will live together for an indefinite amount of time, and will have to deal with everybody aboard the ship. In reality, however, the teens will be taken to a sound stage in the middle of the New Mexican desert. DV8 is own by an ambitious, young man named Chazz Young who would do anything for his shows to get views. Working with NASAW (a different group of scientists from NASA), Young is able to produce a show that leaves a lot of people wanting more along with a lot of questions.

Picking this book, I was enticed by the summary of the book. The book is not written like a normal novel because it is a compilation of evidence by an investigator. It is like this because contact with the kids is lost in the middle of their time aboard the “spacecraft.” Initially, I just thought it was going to be a story about the kids finding a way back to earth, but it was different from the typical story about people finding their way home. Instead of being an adventure in “space,” the novel is a mockery of American television and culture. The portrayal of the teenagers and the way Young handles the various issues of his show make fun of reality shows in America, and the seriousness some people have when watching them. Another layer to this story was the mysteriousness of the NASAW organization. This aspect made the story more complex and mysterious. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a satirical take on America with a layer of mystery and adventure.

-Anmol K.

Waste of Space by Gina Damico is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Teen Wolf

I recommend Teen Wolf because it is one of the best TV shows out there. It has an amazing story plot line, and the graphics are beautiful. I definitely suggest everyone to watch this show on MTV.

The series is written by the amazing Jeff Davis (Criminal Minds) and his crew and involves Scott and Stiles (his nickname) in the supernatural world. Scott is bitten by a werewolf and must adapt to his new life and powers. Meanwhile, Stiles must help him to to control such powers. This helped Scott make it off of the bench of the lacrosse team and onto the field, not telling anyone about his abilities. Scott meets a girl named Allison and falls in love with her. They begin to date only to realize that Allison’s family are hunters that track down werewolves and kill them. I don’t want to spoil any more so it’s up to you guys to watch this series! There are five seasons so far with a sixth coming soon.

I would rate this show 10/10 (because I am extremely biased when it comes to TV shows). Check out Teen Wolf now and you won’t regret it.

-Kayla H. 10th grade