To this day, no animated series — and arguably, few television series in general — have managed to achieve the lasting impact of Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The series, which initially ran from 2005 to 2008, is a masterclass in animation, character development, and complex storytelling. Moreover, it still resonates with audiences today, coming to Netflix in full on May 15, much to the joy of the series’ fans.
—carla (@carla_pgb) May 12, 2020
It’s easy to recognize the ways that “Avatar” set a precedent in Western animation in the 2010s, precipitating a wave of ambitious, character-driven storytelling that’s easily seen in series like Wonderstorm’s “The Dragon Prince” (it’s showrunner, Aaron Ehasz, is an “Avatar” alum) or Cartoon Network’s deeply empathetic “Steven Universe.”
What sets “Avatar” apart in 2020, 15 years after its debut, is its incredible worldbuilding, fleshed-out characters, and ability to make topics like war, trauma, and death comprehensible for younger audiences without pulling its punches.
[Ed. Note: This article contains spoilers for “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”]