Because fans should be critical, too

Announcement: Next Retro Review Pushed Back One Week; Research and Responses

The next Retrospective review is getting pushed back to next Saturday, April 29th. I won’t bother you all with the details, but let’s just say that a few days back, I experienced a “debilitating relapse” that all but wrecked my mental faculties for the rest of the week. I’ll be back on track by Sunday, by which point I’ll recommence with the Retrospective and the research.

Speaking of research, I want to say thank you to everyone who sends me links to interesting interviews or articles on Avatar and Korra. I’ll be adding them to the Research Hub. I also need to get better with responding to any and all comments I get, so I’m going to reserve Wednesday and Saturday as the days I respond to all new comments. We’ll see if that works out better.

In general, I want to thank everyone who’s been with me on this long, crazy ride to review Avatar and Korra (AGAIN). This entire process is always fun and educational for me, especially seeing what other folks feel and think about these two shows. To have created two shows so rich with ideas and intrigue is no small feat, and whatever my qualms with the quality and execution of either show, DiMartino and Konietzko deserve a good deal of praise and respect.

Thanks again for all the love and support. Have fun, be safe, and choose life!


6 responses

  1. Ian

    Hope you get to feeling better man! Enjoy the break and thanks for keeping talkin about avatar interesting for all these years 🙂

    April 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

  2. Hey Marshall,

    No pressure on posting or responding, just make sure to take care of yourself. That’s the most important thing. Don’t push yourself too hard, especially with respect to “Korra”. While “Korra” definitely pains me, I think what most of us want are to experience good stories/myths, so if our world is lacking in these, it may be better for us to follow CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien and create our own stories and mythologies. According to Joseph Campbell*, we’re drawn to thinks like “Star Wars”, “Lord of the Rings”, superheroes, etc… because they fulfill our psychological need for myths as their useful maps for our own lives. Unfortunately, the old myths of many religion don’t quite work for us anymore—we have a “myth gap”.

    As for Bryke, I wish I didn’t say before that they might have received too much credit. I think they do deserve the credit they receive and possibly more. It’s really amazing that they’ve come up with the world that they have (e.g. connecting martial arts and bending, then maybe on top of that setting it in a steampunk-ish world).

    Appreciation for the good may be the best way to go since I realized recently that the internet has likely made it so they experience a lot more of the negative backlash, at least a good fraction from groups that might always find something to be upset with (or the inevitable backlash from shipping wars, which mean at least one group will be displeased). Unfortunately, not every work of art will be a masterpiece, that’s just how the process is. Artists are lucky though, we tend to remember only the good.

    For something unrelated, I’m not sure if you’ve seen this video, but you might like it: “Kintsugi: The Art of Embracing Damage”. I think it’s an idea we really need in the West. It’d have been an interesting fit for “Korra”.

    Thanks for everything,

    *I don’t know if you know of Joseph Campbell, but if you don’t, you might want to check out “The Power of Myth”. It’s a series of interviews he did about his ideas. I think they’re on Youtube and transcripted into a book. Here’s something about the Myth Gap:

    April 26, 2017 at 12:15 am

    • edbva

      Kintsugi could definitely fit with LoK’s overarching themes of change, albeit at the risk of making the series too ‘artsy’ for the target demographic. That said, Bryke have neither the self-awareness nor the sophistication to make those ideas come together in a coherent work, no less since Kintsugi is in truth a repudiaton of AtLA’s established themes. I mean, these guys could not even pull off privilege and oppression in the Big City, when X-men had shown the way years ago; an esoteric concept like “the pristine is less beautiful than the broken’ is way out of their league.

      April 27, 2017 at 10:40 am

  3. Rosemont

    I think you would be interested in reading this article about so-called Prestige TV and how the need to be taken seriously can sometimes backfire into shallow pretentiousness:

    I found the article on the Twitter of AV Club critic Kevin Johnson, or kjohnson1585, who is an animation and cartoon critic who has covered several Star Wars series in addition to Wander over Yonder and Son of Zorn. I think you would appreciate his writing a lot, and he has his own website ( discussing issues of race and gender in cartoons, and his own LinkedIn page.

    April 28, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    • That was a great article. I’ll be reading more of Mr. Johnson’s work, particularly on his website. Thanks for sharing this!

      May 2, 2017 at 1:46 am

  4. Chirin

    I found this conversation in the comments section of a Deviantart piece concerning a fourth season of ATLA that never got made. Normally, I’d dismiss anonymous talk on the Internet, but this person’s remarks about the creators and their history of ship-teasing fans and coming up with bad ideas (forced romances with no chemistry) are consistent with similar criticism and the creators’ behavior in interviews.

    Anyway, the fourth book supposedly would have had Aang go off by himself on a journey self-discovery due to feeling guilt over removing Ozai’s bending. Zuko and Katara would have grown closer, and Toph would have gotten more development concerning her relationship with her parents. It also would have built on the idea of Aang “letting go” of Katara that was hinted at late in Book 2. I personally think this would have amazing and subversive for a kids’ show, as it would have averted the usual “hero gets the girl” ending that the show ultimately went with.

    April 28, 2017 at 5:53 pm

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