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Netflix releases ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender,’ revamps dying fandom

After originally airing on Nickelodeon in 2005, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was an instant hit and gained popularity at an exponential rate. Nickelodeon released three seasons over two years, keeping fans’ enthusiasm up until the late 2010s when interest began to die down due to limited access to the series. That, however, was about to change.

After the release on Netflix, the show received immediate success and became the number one, most-watched series on Netflix for 60 consecutive days. Days following its release, the series was trending on several social media and photo-sharing platforms, including TikTok and Instagram.

“The hype train is honestly what brought me to it,” said senior Will Thrasher. “I had heard good things about the show previously but never really cared to watch it, at least not until it was on an easily accessible platform.”

Thrasher, along with other students, like senior Liam Mills, began watching the show due to its easy accessibility on Netflix. Now swarming with memes, fan art, cosplays and more, the media drew several new eyes while also revitalizing the previous fans’ enjoyment of the series.

“I watched it as a kid, and seeing it being re-announced really made nostalgia kick in,” said senior John Drury. “I had to re-watch it.”

What exactly was so exciting about this series? Why all the newfound love for it? The popular answer to these questions from students was character development. The show includes a wide variety of personalities which creates an attachment between viewers and the characters within the first few episodes.

“They do an amazing job at creating likable and unlikable characters that drive the story,” said Thrasher. “The interactions between characters that develop strong ties gradually really makes the show feel natural.”

The series earned a sequel entitled “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” which came out in 2012. It then followed its predecessor and joined Netflix Aug. 14. Some of the audience was hesitant to watch it at first because the original series was so beloved. While many original fans delayed watching it, newer fans anticipated the continuation of the storyline with excitement.

“The only reason I’m not watching it now, is that a couple of other shows caught my attention before moving on,” said Thrasher. “I am most excited about seeing old characters return and interact with the new ones along with the storyline in general. I have heard that the storytelling has a deeper meaning behind it when looked at it more closely.”


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