Monday, May 20, 2013
Leaving the Queue: There is No Justice in this World.
As of 5/22/13, Avatar: The Last Airbender will leave Netflix Instant Streaming and join several other of my favorite shows as being too awesome to keep their licenses on The Stream.
There's not a year goes by that I don't watch all three seasons of TLA in a multi-day, marathon rush that encompasses Aang's release from his icy statis, the collection of his merry band of misfits, and saving the world from domination and avarice.
For those not in the know, Avatar:The Last Airbender is (and has ALWAYS been and ever shall be ONLY) a cartoon that presents a stylistic world of feudalism, adventure, and mysticism, all based on Eastern cultures, martial arts, and spirituality.
There's Zen Buddhism, Shinto Animism, and even a little straight up Chinese and Japanese mythology, all centered around the trials and tribulations of a young boy who is the link that binds all the cultures of the world with that of the spirit realm that lies behind the veil of reality.
It is Aang who is tasked as the Avatar to maintain balance in the world, not letting any one man or kingdom to dominate the others... a duty that has been neglected for over a hundred years and can only be fulfilled with the help of both friends and enemies.
I love Avatar because it encompasses pretty much everything I desire in a program: long form character development, romance, adventure, excellent choreography, and thrilling arcs even despite its episodic format.
Sure, it's a little too heavy on the goofy humor for my taste, dumbing down the jokes to appeal to Nickelodeon's target demographic, but in other ways Avatar performs so far above it's demo that it has honestly gathered more than just a few adult fans, myself numbered among them.
Like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Avatar was written and directed by smart, dedicated people with a decided passion for their story and characters... and it truly is magic how they were able to pull together so many wonderful things and not have it nixed or destroyed in post by backseat network executives. Sure, some compromises were made, but overall Avatar managed to strike gold in a story about a group of ragtag teenagers who managed to save the world.
Being the sad little lonely heart that I am, of course the main attraction for me was the overarching romance between Aang and Katara that took all three seasons to finally manifest, but that story alone wouldn't have worked without all the action, drama, and high-adventure that kept them moving, tearing them apart and putting them back together again.
It's a story of a generation stumbling into their futures, rising from the innocence of youth to become adults as their destinies force them to answer the call, through triumph, tragedy, and adversity... tempered with occasional bits of laughter and joy.
There is betrayal, doubt, and even a little self-loathing... things every man, woman, and especially child go through on their path to maturity. Some of us still founder on those rocky shoals, but Avatar gave me hope, and did so with beauty and a kind of faith that I hadn't felt in decades.
It makes me infinitely sad that Avatar: The Last Airbender (along with quite a few other Nickelodeon series) is Leaving the Queue. I was saving blogging about it for the summer when I felt the need for my annual binge of American Moe, but just a week or two ago I was alerted to its expiration date. It's my hope that someday soon (in the very near future) it will be back.
It's not that I don't own the series, but I want it out there for the rest of the world that might not, because this is truly a show worth sharing.
See you, Space Cowboy.