This month we were alerted to an interesting new development from Netflix: an Avatar the Last Airbender live-action show. This show would be directed by showrunners Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, a strong positive sign for the quality of the translation to live-action. The show is supposedly going to dive deeper into the cultures and lore of the world of Avatar, and the cast is reported to be pulled from the cultures each nation was based on (for example, the water tribe was based on the Inuit and Sireniki culture). The music will once again be done by the amazingly talented Jeremy Zuckerman, and the overall story will hopefully follow the themes and feel of the original.
The fact that this series is live-action has many fans pointing to the last attempt at a live-action adaptation by Shyamalan, not a great comparison to be made (as the ‘movie’ currently sits at a score of 20 on Metacritic, 4.5/10 on IMDB, and 6% on Rotten Tomatoes). However, the creators of the show had little if anything to do with the film, and efforts certainly seem to be in effect to remove that blemish from memory.
I personally am of two minds about this: On the one hand, I love the Avatar franchise, with its wonderful score, writing, characters, and worldbuilding, and would love to see that come to live-action and draw in a much larger audience. On the other hand, I for one haven’t forgotten the issues with the movie, and in fact, the issues with the other attempts Netflix has made of turning cartoons to live-action (let’s not even get me started on Death Note).
If this works, and I sincerely hope it does, I hope that Netflix and other companies learn from the success, and compare this show to other attempts that failed. The thing that can make or break this series’ success will be the involvement of those who truly care about the source material, but aren’t afraid to make something new. I don’t want EXACTLY the cartoon for this show, nor do I expect it. I do expect something different and new. However, I expect something GOOD.
Although, If Netflix avoids making more cartoon-to-live-action shows, I certainly won’t complain.
That’s been my opinion and update on the Avatar Netflix series, but please, feel free to comment with your opinion. As the man Phillip DeFranco always says “It’s a conversation, so let me hear what you think.”