Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” a show set in a world where people can control, or “bend,” water, earth, fire and air, has enchanted children and adults since its premiere nearly 10 years ago, despite the show’s end in 2008. Many people who remember the series, however, may not know that creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino debuted a follow-up series called “The Legend of Korra,” which is set decades after the events of the original.
“Korra,” now in its final season, follows a teenage waterbender who is the new reincarnated Avatar and must restore balance to the world and protect it from tyranny.
“It’s interesting how they link spirituality to reality at the same time,” chemical engineering junior Dakota Stormer said. “There’s a big link to nature. They relate how everything is related to the basic four elements. It makes you think about people and their surroundings more.”
Despite the popularity of “Korra” and the dedicated following it has received, it seems Nickelodeon is attempting to distance itself from the series.
Earlier this year, following bad ratings and leaks of several season three episodes online, the company pulled the show off the air and put the remaining episodes on Nick.com. Later, it was announced that the fourth season would premiere less than two months after the season three finale, which will only be aired online.
Before the premiere of the Nov. 20 episode, Konietzko wrote on his blog that the episode would be a clip show, an episode that uses previous footage from past episodes to serve as a recap of previous events. According to Konietzko, Nickelodeon slashed the series’ budget, leaving both creators in a bind.
“We had two options: 1) let go a significant number of crew members several weeks early, or 2) make a clips episode,” Konietzko wrote. “We never considered the first option. We weren’t going to do that to our crew, and even if we were callous enough to do so, we never would have been able to finish the season without them.”
While the clip episode received admirable reviews from critics for its creativity in the face of limitations, fans were still irritated about the latest controversy to surround the series.
“The fact that the creators had to explain themselves and apologize for the quality [of the clip show episode] is unforgivable on the company’s part,” architecture sophomore Valentina Rodriguez said. “It’s basically saying that something [the fans] appreciate isn’t worth their time.”
Budget cuts aside, it seems that Nick is taking steps to improve its relationship with fans. Late last month, they announced that reruns of season four will run on Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s sister channel. All the episodes that will not air will still premiere online. However, fans may not be convinced the network will give the series more respect.
“Some people say ‘Korra’ is just a cartoon and I get that, but, in the end, we’ve grown up with these characters,” Rodriguez said. “Nick needs to take the show more seriously and treat it like a quality show should be treated.”