Because fans should be critical, too

Doug Walker Will Review Every Episode of “Avatar”

Now this is an intriguing concept. Doug Walker, better known as the Nostalgia Critic, will be viewing every single episode of Avatar: the Last Airbender in preparation for his highly anticipated review of M. Night Shyamalan’s adaptation of the show. Each day, he’ll watch one episode and then post a vlog in which he’ll state his opinion.

To me, the appeal here is that he’s never seen the show before (though he’s heard it’s great, naturally), so it will be most interesting observing his reactions. I only somewhat envy him the same way I envy anyone who gets to experience something I consider wonderful for the very first time. I say “somewhat” because…well, remember that I’m the guy who took years to appreciate Avatar and then had to blabber about it on the Internet. I can only imagine how what Doug will make of the things I loathed and even the things I loved.

Hell, I’m almost tempted to watch the show again along with him. Not just to compare thoughts, but because it’s been a very long while since I’ve watched the entire show (and let’s face it: Avatar is one of those shows, like Arrested Development, that you simply can’t watch one episode and not the others). This could be the motivation I need to get back to finishing all the episode reviews (yes, including “The Puppetmaster”). Hmm…should I do a whole post series of note comparison? I honestly am not sure. Let me know what you think.

Also, let me state perhaps the most important reason these vlogs might be worthwhile: they’re being presented by Walker himself, not the Nostalgia Critic.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve stopped watching his show since the “final” episode in which he reviewed Scooby Doo. It’s not because I hate the new episodes since his return. I haven’t even watched an entire episode. I started one of them, but turned it off after the first “joke.”

Walker is a genuinely funny and well-meaning person, but you can definitely tell whenever he’s forcing a joke, a review, etc. ; it’s rather painful to watch, and has definitely affected his latter day episodes. Even he seemed aware enough that he was running out of steam, so his “retirement” didn’t phase me at all. If he wanted to go off on his own creative endeavors away from the Critic, then I would have been more than happy for him.

Then again, having not watched a new episode (though his tribute to Roger Ebert and his peculiar choice to review A.I. Artificial Intelligence may change that), I don’t actually know for sure if they’re as forced as I’m afraid they are. For all I know, this is a new wind for him: a breath of fresh air of which I just happened to get wind of when it stank. Maybe.

In the mean time, I’ll definitely be watching these vlogs. This is probably the first time in a which that I’ve been excited about a Doug Walker project.

P.S. I say I support Mr. Walker in his creative endeavors, but I have never watched his show Demo Reel. The concept just didn’t appeal to me, and I figured I’d be better off watching Be Kind Rewind again anyway. Sibling Rivalry, however, is endlessly amusing, thanks largely to Doug’s beautiful relationship with his older brother Rob. (Rob co-wrote nearly all single Nostalgia Critic episode.)

P.S.S. I’ve actually met Mr. Walker once. That is to say, while I was at Youmacon last November, I got him to autograph my poster of 2001: A Space Odyssey (an odd choice, I know, but I was drunk at the time). He and Linkara were quite the professionals. They didn’t even go to the rave that night…

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11 responses

  1. Alan

    His opinions are kind of similar to yours. He thought the first episode was only alright and he thinks Sokka is weird. He also likes the animation.

    June 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm

  2. Michienoama

    Speaking of Avatar, I saw the original draft of the series online: http://expensiveenglishlessons.tumblr.com/post/27697290761/purported-archives-from-avatar-the-last-airbenders
    Any thoughts?

    June 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

    • I sort of got into this during the Bechdel Test and Art of Avatar discussion. I essentially emphasized why collaboration is so important in the medium of animation, so this information helps confirms my point. All I can add is that it’s interesting to see just who contributed what to the project (e.g. Ki Kyun Ryu’s drawing style) and wonder this process could’ve helped Korra.

      June 10, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    • Also, where did this information come from? What was the original source?

      June 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

  3. Michienoama

    After reading this, I’m wondering just how much credit we should really be giving Bryke for ATLA…http://expensiveenglishlessons.tumblr.com/post/45928036473/all-too-sane-so-the-search-eh#tumblr_notes

    June 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

    • JMR

      I think that while they get more credit than they perhaps deserve, calling them “staggeringly incompetent” is a stretch.

      I stand by my assertion from another thread that Bryke are very good at “big picture” things. Big ideas. Big set piece moments. Their problem comes in stringing those big set pieces together. They just don’t seem to have quite the knack for the kind of smaller, quieter moments that help establish story and character and make the payoff of the big moments all the greater.

      In ATLA, this was largely covered up with the assistance of (some of) the other writers, but it made it painfully apparent with Korra (Though I still know of plenty of people who will argue that Korra is just so much more subtle and all of that stuff is really there but you just want the show to hold your hand and yadda yadda) when they didn’t have the other writers to do the nitty gritty stuff.

      It’s why I’m honestly still (cautiously) optimistic for season 2. As much as season 1 was a let down, I think more writers was just what the doctor ordered, and so I’m willing to give it a second chance.

      June 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      • I also wouldn’t say “staggeringly incompetent”; I’d rather say they lack efficient inner criticism and artistic restraint. As JMR points out, they do have their strengths, but need the help of others to cover their weaknesses. Assuming they’re insightful enough to realize that, and considering they have additional writing help of Book Two, then the new season just might be better.

        June 10, 2013 at 9:16 pm

  4. Ai-no

    I’ve seen that tumblr before. What do y’all think of this pic?
    http://expensiveenglishlessons.tumblr.com/post/24757186561/bryankonietzko-my-first-web-comic-hope-you#tumblr_notes

    June 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    • (sigh) I remember that comic (as well as the following post “apologizing” for it). It’s painfully clear that Mr. Konietzko has very little insight into how to distinguish fandumb from justified criticism (though, admittedly, when it comes to the Internet, it is a tough distinction to make).

      June 10, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      • JMR

        Bryan in particular has proven very sensitive to criticism of Korra. Wasn’t he the one who made the “anyone who didn’t like the love triangle is just a jealous fangirl” comment?

        June 11, 2013 at 8:10 am

  5. JMR

    So apparently the first released footage of Season 2 is out on IGN. I don’t know how I feel about the spirits they came up with. The designs are interesting but they don’t look anything like the spirits we’ve seen to this point.

    Here it is

    June 10, 2013 at 6:45 pm

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