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A Newbie's Guide to "Avatar: The Last Airbender"!

Written by Adriana Darcy. Published: February 09 2024
(Photo: Nickelodeon/Netflix)


"Avatar: The Last Airbender" live-action series is finally coming to Netflix on February 22, and if you’re anything like me, you’re using these last couple weeks until the big premiere to revisit and relive a bit of your childhood by rewatching all 61 episodes of the original animated series.


But if you didn’t grow up on "ATLA", you’re probably wondering what all of the hype is about. Why are people around the country going crazy over an early-2000s Nickelodeon kids show? Well, if you are new to the "ATLA" universe, here is a quick rundown of the OG show and the hype behind the new series!




"Avatar: The Last Airbender" first aired February 21, 2005, and ended July 19, 2008. The show is about a world divided peacefully into four nations: the Water Tribe, the Air Nomads, the Earth Kingdom, and the Fire Nation. Within these nations are "benders" who embody the power of their nation — water benders control water, air benders control air, earth benders control earth, and fire benders control fire. 


Only the Avatar is able to control all four elements in order to maintain peace. Everytime the Avatar dies, they are reincarnated into a new body with the ability to access the thoughts of previous incarnations.



Aang discovers that he is the next Avatar as an Air Nomad child and mysteriously disappears for 100 years. The Fire Nation uses this time of imbalance to conquer other nations and cities. During those 100 years, Aang was frozen in the waters of the Northern Water Tribe. 14-year-old Katara, a water bender, and her 15-year-old brother Sokka, who has no bending powers, discover Aang, alive and still only 12 years old, and go with him on his journey to master all four elements and save the world from the Fire Nation.


When the Fire Nation discovers that Aang is alive and trying to defeat them, it begins its hunt for him, led by disgraced Prince Zuko, who is trying to regain his honour by capturing the Avatar.



If the premise of the show isn’t interesting enough, the level of thought and dedication the writers put into the show is more than enough to make it worth it. Every character is extremely well-developed with a powerful backstory and the show is full of inspiring quotes, especially from Zuko’s uncle and mentor, Iroh.



It is also one of the most emotional shows and has characters many can relate to. Aang is basically an orphan child, having to figure out his life on his own. Katara and Sokka both lost their mother at a young age and their father is off fighting in the war. Zuko has been disowned by his father, leaving him alone, except for his uncle, who is dealing with the trauma of losing his son to the war. Toph, an earth bender who joins the group on their journey, is blind.


All of these characters and so many more are incredibly well developed and face different issues that kids (and adults) can relate to, making it one of the most personal, deep, emotional, and enchanting shows you can watch.
If you haven’t yet seen "Avatar: The Last Airbender", don’t miss this opportunity to watch while it before the live-action series drops! Stream on Netflix, Prime Video, Paramount+, and Pluto TV.