Avatar: The Legend of Korra

Rating: ★★

A flop of a show hanging off the coattails of The Last Airbender. I appreciate some of what they were trying to do -- revisit some of the assumptions baked into the original series and challenge them -- but it was carried out in a manner on the whole without charm or grace, and mostly served to tarnish the original series.

The problem, in part, is Korra, who is basically a terrible person -- a rash bully who throughout the show bullheadedly ignores most advice and stomps over all opposition or nuance. She is pretty hard to like, and most of her supporting cast are also less lovable than Aang's group, seeming somehow shallower despite the greater screen-time allotted to them.

Another problem for charm is the setting, which has zoomed forward to the early 20th century in terms of technological development, and apes certain cultural motifs from the same period. The result is motorbikes and cars and the lives of city-folk take over from the more bucolic concerns and setting of the first series -- clearly a problem for making something endearing.

Reversing the trend from The Last Airbender, the villains of this series are far more interesting than the heroes. This is at least acknowledged in the series conclusion, showing some awareness from the writers, but it does make this a far less exceptional experience. Korra is far more the typical action hero, blundering through and destroying everything, while moral villains try to right wrongs. You can read a message here about extremism, even upbraiding social justice warriors, but it is given such a poor mouthpiece that it cannot be convincing. Much of the time, I wanted her to fail.