Vote: “The Legend of Korra” or “Avatar: The Last Airbender”? You Decide!

Vote: "The Legend of Korra" or "Avatar: The Last Airbender"? You Decide!
It's time to decide, once and for all, which Nickelodeon show is the best! "Avatar: The Last Airbender" or "The Legend of Korra"? You decide!

For years, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have delighted fans everywhere with their detailed animation, impeccable storylines, and genius creativity.

While similar in certain respects, both Nickelodeon shows are vastly different, as many fans are well aware. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, we follow a 12-year-old Avatar Aang who wakes up after 100 years trapped in an iceberg. Naive and unassuming, he sets out to master the remaining three elements – water, earth, and fire – in order to defeat the Fire Lord. Along the way, he befriends siblings, Katara and Sokka, who act as his friends and sole family. Together, they travel the world in search of bending masters and anything they can use to bring the tyrannical Fire Nation down, once and for all.

A few years after ATLA was cancelled, Byran Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino (the creators of both shows), brought us out of the darkness with The Legend of Korra – a sequel series to end all sequel series. When the show begins, we’re introduced to a strong-headed and determined teenaged Avatar Korra. While she has already mastered three elements, she finds mastering the element of air to be the most challenging. Thankfully, her circle of friends and family is vast, and she soon learns that she can overcome any obstacle.

Perhaps the greatest difference between both shows is that while Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s three seasons were all in pursuit of one final objective, The Legend of Korra‘s four seasons were all relatively separate stories. They each carried over details of the one before, but Korra’s mission was constantly changing. Aang’s purpose was singularly focused.

Each show is great for different reasons. Each show has done so much for its fans. Despite the fact that The Legend of Korra ended over a year ago, the fandom on the Internet continues to remain strong and steadfast in our devotion to the series.

But, there comes a time when, for argument’s sake, we have to put it to a vote. This challenge isn’t meant to divide the legions of fan and it isn’t meant to spark a heated debate over whether Naga could beat up Appa. Instead, we can all agree going into the vote, that we love each show immensely. But, why not find out which show is preferred amongst fans?

Vote: Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra?

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Jordan is the founder of RecentlyHeard.com. He is also a writer, graphic designer, and pop culture freak of nature. When he's not tweeting about chocolate, he can be found working in public relations and social media. He lives in Toronto, Canada.

  • Jason Bolt

    Ugh, it’s such a hard choice for me! I love both a lot, I’ve been a fan of ATLA since it premiered back in 2005. The original show had such an endearing, well-developed cast of characters, with involving character arcs. The setting felt very well realized, the action was great, the story was very well thought out with plenty of dramatic, heartbreaking plot twists. Then Korra came along, and I fell in love with it all over.

    I guess the question can be asked, what does each show do better than the other? One of the key differences between ATLA and LoK was how ATLA had a single overarching plot, while Legend of Korra went with a format of having a new plot every season. I don’t hold that against LoK per se — I like the idea of LoK trying to do something different and not just rehash ATLA to the letter. But it does end up with LoK feeling a bit more inconsistent season to season than ATLA did. On the other hand, LoK is actually much more tightly serialized episode to episode than ATLA was. In ATLA, there were quite a few “one-off” episodes that had continuity but really didn’t play into the plot, and some of them could pretty subpar — “The Great Divide” or “The Painted Lady”, anyone? With Legend of Korra, that sort of thing didn’t happen. But one thing I’ll always prefer is ATLA’s finale over LoK’s. ATLA’s finale is a monumental achievement in storytelling and incredibly satisfying. LoK’s…isn’t. There are definitely good parts to it, like Korra and Kuvira’s dynamic and Mako’s sacrifice, but there’s a fair amount of simply stupid stuff, like attacking the Colossus with paint of all things and Wu singing to badger moles. And there’s the last five minutes, which generally make me want to bang my head against a wall, and not just because of Korra supposedly hooking up with Asami.

    Both shows had great characters, though their strengths were somewhat different. I love Aang and Korra both equally, I really can’t choose. Some of the hate Korra gets just baffles me, I loved her from the start. ATLA had a great core “Team Avatar”, growing from just Aang, Katara, and Sokka, then adding Toph, and eventually Zuko and technically Suki. LoK tried having the same dynamic with Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami, and it worked well enough in Book 1, but it never quite gelled like Team Aang and could even be a hindrance at times, particularly in Book 2 as the show had to come up with a whole other plot for Mako, Bolin, and Asami to handle while Korra was off on her own. But these problems also could be felt in Book 3 and 4. The show didn’t seem to know what to do with Asami in particular.

    As for the rest, there’s villain characters, which I’d actually say Korra was better at. Don’t get me wrong, Azula is a fantastic villain, and Ozai is a very good “Evil Emperor” type villain — but other than that? Zhao’s alright, but there’s not much depth there. Same with Long Feng, and especially Combustion Man, the Darth Maul of Avatar. I find characters like Tarrlok, Amon, and Kuvira to just be much more compelling. The wider cast I think Korra was better at too — I loved loved looooooved Tenzin, and Lin, and Suyin. Again, Iroh was fantastic in ATLA, but there’s more in LoK than in ATLA. Though as a counterpoint, at least ATLA didn’t have Wu.

    From a production standpoint, it’s inarguable that LoK is superior. ATLA set a high bar for animation quality, but LoK set it even higher. And the music is more sophisticated, with more live recording of instruments throughout the series than ATLA. ATLA’s music was fantastic, but it’s clear that composer Jeremy Zuckerman matured a lot throughout the course of making music for ATLA and LoK.

    Anyways, those are just some rambling thoughts about how I think ATLA and LoK compare in some key aspects. It’s not to say that one is better than the other. Both are amazing.

    • http://www.recentlyheard.com Jordan D’Amico

      I love your insights. Most of what you say is pretty much how I feel. I agree with the key difference being that ATLA had an overarching plot while LOK was more season to season. ATLA also had a lot more character development, while I found LOK really focused on developing Korra as the Avatar at the expense of most others. That being said, both shows are phenomenal for their own reasons. In a way, I almost feel like LOK was made for a bit more mature audience – the same audience that would have watched ATLA as kids.

    • Jack Omally

      I pretty much agree with what you are saying, Both ATLA and LOK have great characters, but LOK had the problem of having to many characters that either were useless, went nowhere, or where thrown to the wayside. Especially when it came to Mako. I think that ATLA definitely beats LOK when it came to development and even with it’s filler episodes does real well. LOK still feels like there was too many things going on that either went no where or basically sacrificed rel development that we ended. ATLA certainly had a better finale as well. Most of it’s season Finales were much better the LOK’s.

      • Jason Bolt

        I actually thought the Legend of Korra finales were as good or better than ATLA’s for the most part, with Book 4’s finale being the weakest.

        • NeoLegendX

          the finales are good on both series for every season to me
          its just that korras season 2 and season 4 before stuff was kinda bad-good-awful at some points

        • Jack Omally

          Yeah I can see that. I think what Made ATLA better for me is when it came to the finales was that every finale left off of a great cliffhanger like book 2 or wrapped up everything like book 3.

  • NeoLegendX

    wou
    its not even close in the votes

    • recentlyheard

      Approved

  • NeoLegendX

    we can go on and on about the strengths and weaknesses of them
    agree and disagree
    i like both shows, and think they are great
    but ATLA to me is better in ways where korra of no fault of her own has made mistakes
    these shows are not nick material
    i cant believe no one is interested in them ( studio vise ) to buy them
    i expect the votes to be like 60:40 in favor of toph’s gang