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Oct 032014

korra (1)by Gene Turnbow, station manager

In a world where movie ideas are derived from computer games that have no plot whatsoever, such as Tetris  and the recently announced movie about Microsoft’s new acquisition Minecraft, it’s refreshing when something actually worth watching happens.  Tonight we get a double feature!

First, it’s The Legend of Korra, the animated series follow-on to the wildly popular Nickolodeon series The Last Airbender. Unfortunately the series has been cancelled, meaning it’s lost its air time schedule position on Nickolodeon. However, in a strange twist of fate, unlike what Cartoon Network did with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice, by the time Nickolodeon Animation Studios got the word that their show had been cancelled they were already most of the way through production on Book 4: Balance. Instead of just flushing all that work, they decided to put it all online instead, one episode per week.  Perhaps online viewing really is replacing cable television – this is newsworthy in and of itself.

The first new episode appears today, and it looks very intriguing. Three years have passed since the last season. The kids have grown up a lot, and Korra has cut her hair.  There are winged suits that make airbenders resemble flying squirrels.  But that’s all superficial, and you’ll just have to watch it to see what happens.

star-wars-rebels-premiere-1536x864-428036123048The other show that it seems like half the geek world is buzzing about is the new animated series Star Wars: Rebels which debuts at 9 p.m. on the Disney Channel this evening.  The Star Wars universe is broadly expanded in these new tales of what happened after the Clone Wars, but before the Rebellion.  Gone is the grand sweeping story arc of the old Republic versus the Jedi, to be replaced with very personal stories about a band of misfits who have their own battles to fight.  It’s well written, blends well with the rest of the Star Wars universe, and it is probably the single most squee-worthy thing to happen on television this year other than the new CW series The Flash series that premieres this coming Tuesday.

And now if you don’t mind, there’s a pile of Fig Newtons, a couple of tall glasses of milk and a couple of brand new shows waiting for us in the living room.

This is gonna be good.

- 30 -

Apr 122012

10 Out of 10 Out of 10 Stars – We Love It!

By Staff Media Critic, PK

As someone who’s usually hard to impress, it’s not everyday a show will make me sit up and go “wow!”. However I was really blown away by the continuation of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender  series by Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko, with the sequel The Legend of Korra. The Last Airbender was Nickelodeon’s break out hit that not only raised story telling to a new level in American animation, but showed that Japan isn’t the only country that can produce award winning anime. The Last Airbender focused on an Pre-Industrialized Asian inspired world, where many people could control the elements through forms of martial arts, called bending. You had Water Bending (North & South Water Nation Tribes), Air Bending (Air Nation), Fire Bending (Fire Nation), and Earth Bending (Earth Nation); with the lead character Aang, being the last surviving Airbender in the world due to a century long world war waged by the Fire Nation.

The adventures focused on characters coming together to help Aang in his quest to right the wrongs of the Fire-Nation’s atrocities and stop the war, through toppling the  dictatorship of the Fire-lord Ozai. The legendary Avatar is the only bender alive that has the power to control all four elements at once, where benders are normally constrained to one element. The Avatar is reincarnated into a new body as he or she passes on, Aang was the next in the cycle being that the previous Avatar was a Firebender, the new one must be an Airbender. Aang struggled in his adventures as the Airbenders were pacifists and didn’t believe in violent revolt, which lead to a very impressive, creative, and smartly written storyline that has won the hearts of viewers world wide. The Legend of Korra, which takes place approximately twenty years after Avatar Aang’s passing, features Korra the next incarnation of the Avatar, a 17 year-old water-tribe girl who must master all four elements to stop a new evil rising in the world.

Through Korra’s eyes we see how Aang’s world has grown and begun to embrace technology, putting them in a 1920’s-1930’s era Japan with a touch of Steampunk. Aang and his decedent’s have constructed Republic City, a shining example of how all four nations can live in peace. Much to Korra’s shock and dismay, this symbol of hope has fallen into disarray, being infested with bender run street gangs and a growing movement of anti-benders who are embracing technologically advanced weapons to use against those who they claim are oppressing them. Korra struggles to master her mystical Avatar powers as some look down on her as being obsolete in a world moving forward with innovative technology, she also faces her inner demons as she fights to cope with her violent tendencies. I’ve seen some early reviews already, and I know some fans are booing this significant advancement in the Avatar storyline, but after getting to watch the first episode I have to say that this is a very natural evolution of the story.

Like many fans of the first series, I feared that this sequel may end up a stinker and I was proven wrong on every single level. The Legend of Korra continues the Avatar story with the same beautiful animation, engaging characters, and humor we as fans fell in love with the first time around. Letting us share the journey of a new avatar who must overcome personal struggles and other obstacles that some of us face in real life, although I wish we had in real life the extreme bender sports that Korra’s world offers. I agree that it’s hard to judge a series by it’s pilot episode alone, but it’s pretty hard to ignore the amazing quality of what I saw. Some shows start out struggling, but The Legend of Korra bolts out of the starting-gate with grace and style, and we can only hope that it can keep up this momentum for the rest of the run of the series.

The Legend of Korra debuts on Nickelodeon on April 14, 2012 – Check local listings for exact show times.