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Avatar: The Last Airbender • Episodes 1-2 • Superhero Ethics • episode 284

Avatar: The Last Airbender • Episodes 1-2

The release of Netflix’s live-action adaptation of the beloved animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender has finally arrived. Join hosts Matthew Fox, Riki Hayashi, and Paul Hoppe for a spoiler-filled discussion of the first two episodes.

After initial skepticism and comparison to the original animated series, the hosts agree there is promise but an overall different tone, mood and portrayal of some key characters like Aang and Iroh. However, strong performances shine through from actors like Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko, Ian Ousley as Sokka, and the surprise chemistry between Sokka and Suki. The episode also explores deeper moral issues not introduced in the animated series until much later.

Key topics covered:

  • Initial reactions, disappointments and skepticism
  • Comparing essence and tone to the original animated series
  • Darker, more mature approach including difficult themes and violence
  • Changes and omissions to Aang’s backstory and personality
  • Standout performances from Zuko, Sokka and Commander Zhao actors
  • Chemistry between Sokka and Suki—a shame she disappears
  • Understanding the Fire Nation’s perspective from an early stage
  • Strong effects bringing bending, Appa and Momo to life
  • Concerns around age differences and romantic relationships
  • Cautious optimism for where the story goes next

Despite flaws, most glaring for devoted fans of the original, there remains potential in this new grounded, live-action take on Aang’s epic journey. Stay tuned for the hosts’ breakdown of episodes 3 and 4 coming soon.

Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.
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