Netflix ATLA got renewed, Zuko is hot and I still don’t know how I feel?

Long ago, the four nations lived in harmony. Then everything changed…

I love Avatar the Last Airbender (ATLA). In fact, I love it so much that I have watched every episode at least three times. I love it so much that I will talk about it unprompted. I love it so much that I spent most of my life unconsciously thinking about it before watching it. 

I love the world building, the action, the suspense of Zuko finally getting hot after growing some hair. 

So what does an expert like me think of the new series? Well, as I’m writing this, I don’t really know. It comes out in 3 hours and 35 minutes. (But who’s counting, right?) By the end of this article, however, you will not only know my full Avatar journey, but also whether you should invest 8 hours of your life to watch it during peak job-hunting and midterm season.

Warning: spoilers ahead

Sidney Shaw / The Ubyssey

Water — the original

You have no idea where we’re going, do you?

I know that it’s near water! 

(Season 1, Episode 4)

A year and thirty-seven days ago I was sitting around in Agora Cafe feeling lonely when the man-bunned man beside me passionately cried “OH. MY. GOD. AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER IS SO GOOD.” 

For context, his friends were talking about Avatar: The Way of Water, and this “airbender” series was so good that mr. man bun had to deflect the conversation (much like how water benders deflect water?). 

I had to watch it. So last summer, I spent some quality time with my sister in front of the TV. I turned on the screen to watch ATLA and she turned on a seperate screen to play a video game. 

There on that couch, my life was changed.

Earth — the movie

It’s my destiny… 

(Season 1, 2, 3, Episode all of them)

Sitting with my sister stirred up a distant memory from 2010. 

“It’s cool how all the Earth people are Asian!” My older sister said as we watched Avatar the Last Airbender, the movie. 

Turns out, it wasn’t just the Earth people. All the characters were supposed to be Asian or Indigenous. But for us third generation, culturally washed out Asians, we thought this movie was Earth-bending the boundaries of representation. (I know you just cringed — I did too, but I had to write it.)

Did they do five minutes of martial arts to lift a single rock? Yes. Did they make all the evil people darker skinned (see: racism)? Also yes. But was Dev Patel hot as Zuko? God yes. 

Fire — Netflix ATLA was kind of good?

I’m never happy 

(Season 3, Episode 14)

Honestly, I thought Netflix Avatar would be real bad. And, sometimes, it was. But it also wasn’t. Here’s my breakdown:

  • Cringy 12-year-old monologues (-3 points)
  • Past Avatars (net -1 point)
    • Y’all, why are the past avatars so intense? Take a chill pill already, for god’s sake YOU’RE DEAD. (-3)
    • But … Kyoshi WAS SO COOL WHAT THE ACTUAL FLOCK. We love a tall Earthbending queen!! When she killed everyone? AMAZING (+2)
  • Weird airbending levitation (-2 points)
  • Katara’s water-bending character arc (+1 points) 
  • Gyatso (+2 points)
    • He looked like my grandpa and then I—
  • Crying (0 points)
    • Did ATLA make me cry? Maybe a little. See above argument.
  • Sokka (Um.)
    • Let’s not even get into this.
  • Zuko (+500)

Most people would [think Zuko is hot], wouldn’t they, Lieutenant Jee? Unless they were an IDIOT. 

(Season 1, Episode IDK of the live-action remake)

*insert flame emoji here* 

ZUKO IS SO COOL! Sure, 21-year-old me is cringing so hard at his threats and angry monologues, but 12-year-old angsty me is ANGSTING. YES, THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A T(W)EEN. I hate the world. I love my dad — but does he love me? I can’t decide whether I want a ponytail or to be bald, so let’s do a little of both. 

Okay, fine, most of that was a joke. But let’s be real, Zuko’s firebend-y, jump, twisty action scenes were unparalleled.


So what do I think? I don’t really know. Please don’t judge me for my opinions, I watched this series at a very stressful time in my life.

The only consistency seems to be that no matter how bad the remake, one thing will always remain the same: Zuko is hot.