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Let The Legend Of Korra Stand Alone

Image via Nickelodeon

We’ve told you how we feel about Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s easily the best show on Netflix. Then on August 14, three months after everyone binged Avatar, Netflix dropped the series’ sequel: The Legend of Korra (TLOK). Fans rushed to binge TLOK, hungry for the continuation of their beloved universe. Yet many found their expectations unmet, quickly bashing the show. . . 

Look: The Legend of Korra is not Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

Even though both shows take place in the same universe, their premises are virtually nothing alike.   

In Avatar, Aang is a 12-year-old air nomad boy who needs to master the elements. In TLOK, our titular Avatar begins the series at 17 years old, having grown up in isolation training to be the Avatar. 

Time is a major, often forgotten, differing facet of these series. In Avatar, audiences majorly follow storylines revolving around kids and teenagers. From the start of TLOK the characters are older, more mature. Audiences begin TLOK watching young adults already beyond the point of bridging adolescence. 

In Avatar, we watch Aang learn how to be the Avatar when all he wants is to be a kid. Korra, however, has to learn how to be a person in addition to being the Avatar, which is increasingly difficult in a technologically developing world uncertain of its need for an Avatar. Throughout the series, Korra is forced to discover her selfhood apart from her Avatar path as each season introduces Korra to a new “villain.” 

Only these villains . . . well, they’re not traditional villains. Avatar creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are famous for their ability to humanize all characters no matter the situation. In TLOK audiences see the trials of each season’s villain fighting for a better world, versus Avatar where the series’ looming villain, fire lord Ozai, is more simply a power hungry dictator. 

That being said, TLOK is much more heavily plot driven than its predecessor. Avatar takes the liberty of dedicating entire episodes to character exploration: “Zuko Alone” or  “The Tales of Ba Sing Se.” TLOK runs on its racing plot, taking few momentary split-second breathers throughout the series — which may either feel odd or oddly make sense given each series’ differing lengths of time passage. Avatar spans one year; TLOK spans 5 years. Again, time is a major differing facet of these series.

At the end of the day, these two series are not meant to be compared — and that’s why I ironically needed to compare them here. Though they exist in the same universe, they are separate entities. To watch TLOK expecting Avatar is to do both series grave injustices.

And as for the micro-aggressive hate Korra receives for being a female Avatar. . . don’t get me started. That’s an entirely separate conversation.

  • Question of

    Did you like The Legend Of Korra?

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  • Question of

    Do you want an article discussing TLOK sexist critiques?

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Written by Nina Slowinski

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