Happy 17th Anniversary to Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender! The iconic animated series aired its first episode this day 17 years ago in 2005. The Nickelodeon series opened with a one-hour premiere and has ever since drawn in a large fanbase. Since the show was brought to the streaming service Netflix in 2020, a nostalgic wave hit many fans, old and new, as we were reminded of a Nickelodeon golden age. This new wave of re-loving Avatar: The Last Airbender (I’m penning as the ‘Avatar-renaissance’) came right at a time when we all needed to have something to feel good about in life. This show’s ‘return’ ultimately led a lot of us to feel reminded of how life was when we were kids and to mentally take a break from the rough world outside in 2020. After the Avatar-renaissance, word of a new Avatar: The Last Airbender series came about, and somewhere in the future…we have a new Avatar live-action Netflix series waiting for us.
Happy anniversary to episode 1 of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” pic.twitter.com/TQfU46xx2p
— Nickelodeon Animation (@NickAnimation) February 21, 2022
The Avatar: The Last Airbender series had a three-season run from its release 17 years ago today on February 21st, 2005, all the way through its two-hour finale on July 19th, 2008. Each season was declared a different ‘book,’ and each episode a ‘chapter.’ Season One of the original Avatar Nickelodeon animated series was titled Book One: Water. The first episode, chapter one of book one, was titled “The Boy in The Iceberg.” No, we’re not talking about Steve Rogers but rather the long-lost Avatar and only living airbender Aang. The first episode’s description says,
Sokka and Katara, two teenage siblings living in the South Pole, discover Aang and his pet flying bison, Appa, trapped in an iceberg. After Katara frees him, she discovers that he is an Airbender and the siblings take him to their home village in the Southern Water Tribe. Meanwhile, his unfreezing attracts the attention of the Fire Nation’s Zuko, intent on capturing him.
This first episode sets up a long adventure for the trio as they navigate their way to get Aang proper training in the other elements water, earth, and of course, fire. The “Gaang,” at this point only consisting of goofy brother Sokka, water bending sister Katara and their shorter bald airbending friend Aang along with our favorite flying bison Appa. Aang, Sokka, and Katara also had to balance making sure they got to where they needed in a certain amount of time on their journey while staying out of trouble and out of sight of the Fire Nation and Prince Zuko. It’s not until the second season where the rough around the edges blind earth bender Toph also joins the “Gaang.”
Along the journey, we met some great characters and lost some along the way, along with a lot of cabbages. For those who never watched Avatar: The Last Airbender in full when they were younger, they felt they were missing out on something when the talks of the series came back again. Many people now in they’re twenties watched the series as little kids because of their older siblings and have been faithful fans since. When Avatar memes and talk came about, everybody was so nostalgic and joking about ‘moon girlfriends and ‘cabbages,’ you couldn’t help but want to see what all the hype was about. It was only 15 years later, but those who never watched Avatar finally got to watch whole series on Netflix in full for the first time about two years ago during quarantine. And I have to tell you as one of these people… it was totally worth it.
Although it’s a children’s animated television show on Nickelodeon, Avatar: The Last Airbender was so complex in its sense that it wasn’t episodic. As a kid, if you didn’t watch past episodes, you wouldn’t know the whole story. The three chapters of Avatar: The Last Airbender we were given, Water, Earth, and Fire, were all so unique in their ways. Each one leads its way to the culmination of the large fight between Aang and The Fire Lord in the finale. Along the way, some more evil-intentioned characters like Zuko came to grow on you. Each character had so much going on and their stories all beautifully arced in a way that each of them deserved. I’m very excited to see this story and these characters again in the upcoming Avatar Netflix series.
Are you excited to watch the upcoming Avatar live-action series on Netflix? What did you think of the M Night Shyamalan The Last Airbender movie? Did you join in the ‘Avatar-renaissance’ over quarantine? And of course, let us know if you’re an air, earth, fire, or water bender. We also hope your girlfriend didn’t turn into the moon. Leave your comments down below! As always, we love to hear from you here at The Nerd Stash. Flameo, Hotman.