The Legend of Korra (TV Show Review)

The Legend of Korra Review

Summary

The Legend of Korra is set roughly 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Avatar Aang has passed, and now Avatar Korra of the Southern Water Tribe is responsible for restoring balance to the world.  Her first challenge will be facing the Equalists, a rebel group based in Republic City who believe that benders are abusing their powers to oppress non-benders and want to level the playing field.

Book 1: Air

Many Avatar fans will start The Legend of Korra on a tentative note. The reality is that the success of The Last Airbender is hard to follow, and the writers know this. They use the classic writing move of creating a main character who is the polar opposite of Aang, so no one will mistake Korra for a cheap Aang knock-off.  Unfortunately, this means Korra is an aggressive, angsty teen, and I am not a fan. She yells at people constantly as though that will solve her problems and screams at villains “You can’t do this!” as if she’s so entitled she actually expects them to listen.  Other characters think she’s strong and “tough as nails.” I personally think she has a lot to learn.

However, there are enough good points to the season to make it worth watching.  There are a number of great new characters, including Tenzen as Korra’s mentor and other new friends.  Naga isn’t as great of a companion as Appa, but I do love the secondary animal, Pabu.  The allusions to The Last Airbender are on point, and I also love the pro-bending element.

Book 2: Spirits

Book 2 is a frustrating let-down, and when I tried to watch the show when it originally aired, I stopped after this season. Why watch more than two seasons of a show you don’t like, right?  Here, Korra continues to act with an aggressive attitude I simply cannot find appealing.  Worse, she’s a fool. While I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling it, I can confidently say that half the problems that occur in this season are of Korra’s own making.  However, the show never acknowledges this and continues to frame the action as if Korra is making wise, necessary decisions, and everything is the villain’s fault.  The combination of Korra’s anger and ignorance is too much for me, and the only real highlight is what viewers learn about the first Avatar. However, the show gets better afterwards.

Book 3: Change

Book 3 is good.  Korra has a theme of introducing a new villain each season, once again differentiating itself from The Last Airbender, which had an overarching plot for all three seasons.  I might argue that the villains here are so powerful they’re almost boring (can anyone defeat these people?), but they definitely have a unique philosophy and method of operating.  It’s refreshing.  This season also has a lot to offer in terms of personal development  for many of the characters that viewers have come to know and love.  Finally, there are air bison, and no one can say no to that.

Book 4: Balance

The opening of Book 4 will have viewers scratching their heads and asking themselves whether angry Korra or emo Korra is a better look. (Seriously, can I just have Aang back?) It also has the problem that the characters, once again, look foolish for overlooking an extremely obvious plot by the new villain. However, this season does manage to continue on some of the high notes from Book 3, and it also continues to introduce old favorite characters from The Last Airbender.

Korra Collage

11 thoughts on “The Legend of Korra (TV Show Review)

  1. Krysta says:

    I think that if you pretend season two never happened and can ignore the love triangle, this is a great show. I know a lot of people prefer A:TLA, but to me they’re two entirely different things and I am able to enjoy both. 😀

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  2. KliScruggs says:

    I completely agree with you! I really dislike Korra as a character, but I became quite attached to many of the characters notably Asami, Jinora, Iki, Pema and Lin. I felt like one of the biggest flaws of this series is I saw little to NO character development. Korra is just as arrogant, prideful and as ill a listener during season 1 as season 4.

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    • Krysta says:

      I try to keep things in perspective and remember that 1) Korra is a teen and 2) Korra is young and in love with her own power and position, so it’s not surprising that she comes across as arrogant and foolish sometimes. I guess we can all relate to not wanting to listen to our elders’ wise advice at some point. That doesn’t make her attitude less annoying, but I guess it makes it understandable to me.

      And when she does start to learn a lesson–she goes in the total opposite direction. She thinks if she’s not perfect, she’s a failure and so she walks away. That was also annoying for me as a viewer, but it is something that many people are tempted to do when facing their first real failure. I want her to be mature–Jinora’s younger and more mature than Korra is!–but I guess there’s something to be said for realism in her depiction.

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    • Briana says:

      Yes! The side characters are so great! I actually really like Varrick, too. He’s fascinating. But Korra just got on my nerves, and though I think she learned to be a little less impulsive, I think wanting her own way is always going to be part of her personality.

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  3. Esther says:

    I suppose I can’t really say anything. I stopped watching this after the first few episodes….and now I’m glad I did! I was frustrated just reading this!

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    • Krysta says:

      Briana is far more critical of this show than I am. I thought season one was good, season two should never have happened, and seasons 3 and 4 were just phenomenal. The villains in season three were on par with Ozai. They were powerful, they were interesting, they raise questions about the nature of power. They were even sympathetic. And season four was an interesting political commentary. I think they really stepped up their game in the end to make the show both interesting and relevant.

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      • Briana says:

        I did really like the last two seasons, but since I thought the first season was just ok and the second one was awful…it’s not surprising that I almost didn’t make it that far.

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    • Briana says:

      I watched season 1 and most of season 2, then gave up. I started the show again after multiple people told me that seasons 3 and 4 were great. While that’s true, I think many people are going to stop before getting that far. Why watch a show you don’t like because it *might* get better?

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  4. SERIESous Book Reviews says:

    I still have to get around to finishing this. I loved the first season (it took me a while to warm up to Korra for sure) but never got around to the next seasons. I was kinda happy with how everything wrapped up in that first season but am definitely happy that they added more seasons because I just love this whole universe–especially the steampunk vibes this particular series has.

    Noticed it is now on Netflix so I can binge watch it on a weekend😛

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