Netflix's New Avatar Series Completely Ignored Aang's Most Essential Storyline

Netflix's New Avatar Series Completely Ignored Aang's Most Essential Storyline
Image credit: Netflix

What’s the thought process behind making a “faithful” Avatar adaptation and cutting the protagonist’s journey to becoming the Avatar?..


  • Recently, Netflix released a live-action adaptation of Nickelodeon’s classic TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • The new version completely ignored the core storyline of Avatar: Aang’s learning to control all four elements.
  • In the original series, Aang spent the first season learning waterbending, but in the Netflix’s show, he didn’t even attempt to do it.

Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender has been one of the most iconic animated series ever since its premiere almost two decades ago. Recently, it received a new live-action adaptation from Netflix — and while it’s miles better than the first adaptation attempt, the new version is still lacking in several departments.

For instance, in the department of not cutting essential Avatar storylines in a TV show about Avatar.

Netflix’s Avatar Ignored Crucial Aang Plot

In the world of element-benders, what makes Avatars stand out? Their ability to bend all four elements against the average person’s one at best. Without learning to control the other elements, Aang, the main character of Avatar: The Last Airbender, will forever remain nothing but the last airbender, which is quite a sad demise.

The Nickelodeon series made an emphasis on Aang’s journey to fully control his Avatar legacy. Each season of the show was dedicated to one element — and Aang’s learning to control it. Guess what? The Netflix series just ignored it entirely.

In the new show’s first season, we don’t ever see Aang training to control water. Somehow, it’s only Katara who practices waterbending, and Aang is just… Not interested in actually developing his abilities. There goes the Book of Water, folks: unfortunately, the new Avatar doesn’t feel like saving the world.

Netflix’s Avatar Didn’t Do as Well as Planned

Netflix's New Avatar Series Completely Ignored Aang's Most Essential Storyline - image 2

When it was released, the new Avatar: The Last Airbender show immediately got a 100% Critic Score on Rotten Tomatoes… And then began plummeting down. The series soon lost 40% of its success: as of the time of writing, it’s sitting at 60% Critic Score — and a much better 75% Audience Score to numb the pain from the fall.

Netflix’s take on Nickelodeon’s iconic series proved to be divisive, with many critics arguing it’s a decent adaptation for newcomers and old fans alike, and others calling it a poor and soulless adaptation.

As usual, it falls down to the viewers to determine whether they like the new show or not for themselves; but it’s also clear that Netflix’s version didn’t come off as brilliantly as anticipated.