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Carry on, my wayward son

I’ve just finished marathon-watching the first five series of Supernatural.

I don’t know how much I liked it.

The series is compelling in that ‘I want to watch more of this’ kind of way. It’s interesting. Castiel is adorable. The Winchesters really do come off as brothers, and even though the two leads aren’t the greatest actors in the world, they have undeniable on-screen chemistry and they just sell it. The programme is, at times, really funny. I will continue watching it. I’m only half-way through, after all. I do like it. But there are some glaring problems with it.

From the purely technical point of view, I think that, at some point, the arc became too big for the show. The whole ‘let’s defeat Satan or die trying’ idea must have looked good on paper, but in reality? Not so much. It may have been because the show is way too claustrophobic to suddenly go full-scale. It’s got very few characters, all the locations sort of bleed together – the road trip, the diners, the motels – they are all pretty much one and the same, all the time. And there’s a point in that. Supernatural didn’t invent this, of course. Read any of the classic road trip novels, starting with Lolita, and you will see the quintessential pointlessness of life and reality itself depicted through the metaphor of the unreal/hyperreal America in all its vast glory. And, as with any genre fiction, really, you kinda have to stick to certain rules. You don’t want to read a detective story where the culprit is never revealed (they may remain a mystery to the detective, but the reader must always get the answer to the whodunit question – that’s in the author-reader contract). You don’t want to read a romance where the heroine has finally got together with her beloved, and then she suddenly decides to divorce him, for no reason whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, genre fiction is a great place for experimentation; and in the hands of a skilled creator may turn into something much more. That is usually the case with works of art that have characteristics of lowbrow genres, but are, in essence, something more than that. Think Lolita, again. Nabokov plays with various genres and their conventions there, from detective story to case study to confessional to erotica. But the story is not that. Or, it’s not just that. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. Then again, Nabokov is a very, very skilled writer.

Eric Kripke , on the other hand, is not.

So when the roadtripping gritty realism of America-meats family story-meats horror suddenly turns into a poor man's rendition of Paradise Lost, something’s gotta give. (Want to see how a skilled author plays with Paradise Lost? First, read Paradise Lost. Then, go and read Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Probably the best series of books I have read in the last ten years.) And both the conflict and its resolution seemed frightfully… silly. In spite of all my willing suspension of disbelief (Coleridge would be so proud of me), I just couldn’t buy it.

But how is it that Buffy, another genre show, another show whose apocalyptic premise sounds completely ridiculous, manages to sell it, then?

For one thing, Joss Whedon is a skilled writer. His mixing-and-matching of grand themes and silly ideas, lowbrow genres such as horror with fiction staples such as Bildungsroman is seamless. Supernatural, for all its scenes of characters reading Campbell’s work on heroic quest, lacks that seamlessness. It is clumsy, and at times too heavy-handed. It also takes itself too seriously, all the episodes featuring parody notwithstanding.

Another thing, and probably something that a lot of people won’t agree with me upon – its characters are just not that compelling. (Except for Castiel. He is perfection.) The series starts off beautifully, introducing us to the brothers and their relationship, their complicated relationship with their father (I hated him and his terrible parenting), their past. And then it sorta dwindles into nothing. Rehashing the same old tired things over and over and over again. How many times have the brothers led the same conversation? Dean is tired. He doesn’t know if he can trust Sam. They come to an understanding. Except not. Sam just wants to be normal. Except he doesn’t. And so on and so on. It’s like Once upon a Time hitting us over the head with the ‘We’re family’ and ‘We can/cannot have our happy endings’. Good fiction can withstand both overstatements and understatements. Buffy said she didn’t know how to live in this world once. Did she magically learn how to do it in the next seasons? God, no. Did she still feel the same way? Of course she did. But she didn’t repeat it over and over again. We still got it. That’s the beauty of understatement. In Supernatural, everything is overstated. Everything Sam and Dean feel gets regurgitated. And it doesn’t have to be. We would still understand it. The worst thing you, as a writer, can do is to treat your readers/viewers like idiots. You don’t have to spell everything out.

There are many other little things that bothered me, like the third brother suddenly appearing and featuring heavily in the plot (Thank God he’s dead. At least I hope he is), or the characters I don’t like that, I suppose, pretty much everyone else does (e.g. Bobby), or the cheesy Chuck voice-over and thinly veiled allusions to both the absentee God and Kripke himself. But those are little things. The big things are the ones I have already mentioned.

The biggest of them all is the treatment of women.

Because the purely technical things concerning writing – I can dismiss those. No programme is perfect, and the very fact that it manages to draw people in, despite its problems, is a feat.

But this? This is something that makes me angry. I had to stop watching certain episodes and only finish them after I have cooled down. Supernatural is monstrously misogynist. Its treatment of women is appalling. Women are not allowed the courtesy of being written as people. They are either abominations that must be destroyed, or they are senselessly killed off to further the plot of the male characters. And they are always sexualised. Both within and without the diegesis. They are reduced to parts of scenery, they are there with alcohol and food, merely objects to satisfy male desires (they say ‘women’ when they mean ‘sex’), and they are mercilessly tortured and killed off. They are not women, they are sluts, whores and bitches. Or virgins. It doesn’t matter which, the point is, they are equal to their sexuality, which is in itself grossly exaggerated. Every female demon has to do the sultry seductress thing, every woman is there mainly as a sexual object. Or at least as an object against which a male character is defined – his mother, his wife, his daughter. In one episode, Sam visits a pathologist (a woman being all-seductive and only there to act as that episode’s love interest) and asks her about three guys. They murdered their wives. The wives are never mentioned by names, even though they are the ones the pathologist was examining, not their husbands. And they are only ever referred to as wives. This kind of careless misogyny really stings. And the male gaze of the camera? I have no words. Why does every woman need to have a lingering camera presence over her breasts, or her bum, or any other part of her that is overly sexualised?

I realise that the programme is, by its nature, a sausage fest. Every main character is male, the road trip, the classic car, the classic rock – it’s all very deliberately lower-class misogynist America. But the problem is, the whole situation is presented as a good thing. In the Supernatural universe, women are in their rightful place as bitches.

And if there’s anything that might put me off finishing the programme, it’s that.

(Also? Castiel is precious. I adore him. Because he is adorable. I might have mentioned that. But seriously? He totally is.)  


So. I've seen all of Veronica Mars, and, even though I fear this might be quite an unpopular opinion, I think that the network that cancelled it was right. The show lost its footing, was turning rapidly into soap opera (I couldn't care less about the relationships bit that was dragging an already shaky season down), and the characters were becoming increasingly unlikable. I think the show just lost its momentum as it was moving on. Some shows do the graduation from a school setting to real world drama quite beautifully (Buffy only improved once it matured and grew out of its high school years), and some don't. The third season was quite weak, the new characters were completely undeveloped and were there only to get the story from point A to point B (Piz fared somewhat better that poor Parker whose only function was A) to be raped so that Veronica could investigate and B) to get together with Logan because they needed someone for that and she was convenient. They certainly got rid of her easily enough). Weevil getting a job as a maintenance guy was pure contrivance. Seriously, why? Just so you could keep him on? I might have something else to say, but these are my first impressions.

In other news, The Crazy Ones. I am really trying to like this show because of SMG, but so far, I'm just not that successful. I haven't found a single story line (or even scene) funny, and I don't find any of the father-daughter scenes sweet or heartwarming - they read as cheesy and embarrassing to me. (On a completely unrelated note, I've just noticed that my LJ has miraculously switched to German, which... Why on Earth? Speaking of randomness... At least I somewhat understand it, so I should perhaps be thankful that it hasn't decided to go all Mandarin on me or something) Anyway - it might be because of Robin Williams, an actor I've always found obnoxious and ridiculous (I liked him in Mrs Doubtfire, but that is because I was a child then). The big accountant guy is somewhat funny, as is the airhead girl, but the other characters are quite bland and boring, including the one played by SMG. I'm afraid that the show exists only as a vehicle for Williams to fake-accent his way through, and that just comes across as lazy and meandering. The only times I managed to watch Williams without cringing are the ones where he sticks to the bloody script.

Moving on, Once Upon a Time. Thank God that they have returned from Neverland, I couldn't stand any more of the same old same old over and over and over again. Seriously, all of the season three episodes so far have somehow blended together, there is nothing distinctive about any of them. The kid who plays Henry is still as bad as ever, and watching him struggle with playing a different part was particularly painful. The one who plays Pan is much, much better, and I really like how they picked up on all the disturbing Fin de Siecle elements that are there in Barrie's original story and decided to make Pan a villain, because I've been telling my Children's Lit students for years and years how utterly horrifying the concept of the eternal child truly is. Also, the actor playing Hook is ridiculously pretty.

Also, I should probably write that post on Willow and how I seem to be the only one who dislikes her (I love Buffy more than words can express, and I love Xander, but Willow? Eurgh - some episodes, I find her merely annoying, while in others I cannot stand her - and a lot of it has to do with Hannygan and her obnoxious little girl antics, but that post requires a bit more space that a tack-on I'm doing right now, so I'll just stop. For now.)

Logan Echols has a bottom locker

You know how in school shows every character has got a top locker, so that they don't have to awkwardly crouch when scenes next to their storage lockers (and there's always a bunch of those there) need to be filmed? I've started watching Veronica Mars (hadn't ever seen it, which I thought was a shame, so I decided to rectify that), and it turns out that Echols has got a bottom locker. I thought it was neat.

The show so far is fine, though it yet needs to grow on me. I'm only in the middle of the first series, so I suppose there's still time for that. So far, I've been enjoying the fashion time-machine and the fact that Jake Kane is played by Homicide's Bayliss (now, that's an awesome show, I used to watch it when it was on air, which might have been way too young, considering its grittiness, but then again, I've never been scared of realistic things. Dirty, violent, at times boring, at times gruesome, always thankless, and sometimes unsuccessful police job done by people who aren't under 35 models, but maladjusted, neurotic, average-looking coppers 90% of whom are middle-aged and male - this is why all the other police procedurals seem so fake next to Homicide. Because they are.). Anyway, here's hoping VM starts getting more interesting, cause so far, I'd describe it as lukewarm.

As far as origin stories go...

....the one I saw in The Legend of Korra is bloody brilliant.

I - along with everyone else in the fandom, I suppose - have been wondering about the first Avatar and the development of bending for years and years. Ever since A:TLA. And boy, did Korra deliver!

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So. If I come across an article, a blog entry, a whatever about Buffy, more often than not, it will turn out to be a list. Best episodes. Best villains. Top episodes. Top performances. Best seasons. Rating all the episodes in a season and creating a personal 'best of' and 'worst of' lists. And I have got to ask - what's with the lists? Why is it always the lists? What possible pleasure do people derive from making lists?Read more...Collapse )

Tigers in Red Weather, by Lisa Klaussmann

A few days ago, I was checking one of the few blogs I regularly read, and the author, who's actually a fashion blogger, goes and says that she was sent a copy of Klaussmann's Tigers in Red Weather by its publisher, so that she's do a review, and how that puzzled her, cause she's usually sent make-up samples, and hadn't done a book review in ages. But she said she'd give it a try. 

Normally, I don't much care about what someone on the internet does and never rush to try what this or that blogger recommended, but this made me download the book within minutes. Why? Because of the title. As you may or may not know, I'm a big poetry fan. My lj username is a line from a poem by Hart Crane. One of my favourite poets in Wallace Stevens, and the phrase 'tigers in red weather' is the last line from one of his poems, one of my favourite poems ever, 'Disillusionment of ten o'clock.' 

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Now, that's more like it. After the horrible 'Spirit of Competition', Korra is back on track with a couple of good episodes. They are fast-paced and full of action, and they have vast amounts of Chief Beifong, who's wonderful and a total bad-ass. I love it.

And the Winner is...

- Amon, you need to stop stealing frequencies. Get your own show or something.
- I agree with Tarrlok. Probending is just a game, Mako. Like football. Who cares about the Championships?
- Lin, you're brilliant. Though you might have been played here.
- 'Criminy!' - heheehhh
- No, Tenzin, do go on with your story. I'm really interested. Also, I like you more and more.
- Pabu is so cute!
- The Wolfbats look pretty cool.
- Korra, don't get all annoyed with Marylin Manson. That way lies an 'enemies attract' scenario, and I don't want that for you.
- How are the Wolfcats allowed to cheat so obviously? Even Tenzin is angry.
- 'I can't believe your sweet-tempered father was reincarnated into that girl! She's tough as nails!' - hehehehh
- Ooo, the equalists' entrance is both cool and scary.
- Why does no one here die of electrocution? Seriously, they're in water, and then they're full of electricity. People in the Avatarworld are tough cookies.
- 'I am currently wetting my pants' - that's what I call job dedication.
- I don't care how scary they are trying to make him, I simply do not believe that Amon can so easily best benders in dueling. That's rubbish. Also, how come he always stays so calm? Honestly, Korra shoots fire at him, and he's all, 'I'm not moving a muscle.' That's just silly.
- Poor Marylin Manson. He's a pillock, but he didn't deserve this.
- Ooo, more flashbacks. Toph, Aang, and some guy? Aang is in the Avatar state and is beating down someone. He looks really angry. And how did such a cute kid grow up so angular?
- I like how Bolin talks to Pabu, and how clever Pabu is. Remember how Sokka and Katara couldn't get Momo to bring them water?
- Korra, when are you gonna enter the Avatar state? I get that you're not in touch with your spiritual side, but you don't seem too Avatarish to me. You are tough as nails.
- Lin Beifong is the best.
- Now, this is what I call a good episode.

The Aftermath

- What? Tarrlock, Lin is the baddest bad-ass you've got. I'm starting to agree with my brother that there's something fishy about you.
- No one can resist Pabu, Korra.
- So, the Cabbage guy founded the Cabbage Corp company, and got to have his statue in front of it, and to have his descendant be its boss? Niiice. :)) ('No, not my cabbage corp!')
- Oh, poor, poor, Marylin Manson. He's so sad, and he looks awful.
- The Sato mansion looks amazing. And Bolin really gets on that servant's nerves, doesn't he?
- I like the fluffy look on you, Pabu.
- Let's see, shopping and makeovers or race car driving? No contest. Korra, we need to discuss your priorities. Race cars are boring! I'd rather watch you shop. (I miss Sokka's love for shopping)
- And now for the boring bit - the race. Yawn.
- Heeh, Korra has met her greatest enemy to date - the powder puff.
- I'm not the gratest fan of overhearing, but whatevs. At least it moves the plot forward.
- 'I'm supposed to baby-bend' - I'd love to see that.
- Mako, you're being very annoying. 
- Now, I hate that that guy just happened to spill it to the Avatar. That's just lazy.
- Lin uses Toph's vibration sensing! Great!
- That underground thing is huge! How come no one's ever noticed it? Kinda like the Initiative.
- The new weapons look like robots from Star Wars.
- 'That sounds familiar. Why? Because you said it!' - Yes. And the hammer is my penis.
- Why should Asami stay up there, Mako? Cut the sexism.
- Oh, the source was a set-up. Well, that explains why it looked so lazy.
- One thing I don't understand: Why can't Tenzin just use air pressure and bend metal with air? They haven't thought it through, methinks.
- I knew Asami was gonna stop him, it was pretty obvious. 
- You go, Lin! I want to see you work outside the law, cause you're gonna be even more awesome!
- Yep, two great episodes. :)


Yeah, I know that these are terribly late, but I've been really busy at work and have only now found a little bit of spare time for this, so I'm gonna do these two episodes here, and the other two right after that, in another post. 

The Voice in the Night

I really like this episode, it's got the political sleaziness of the second season of AtLA, what with Tarrlok (who seriously resembles Long Feng, doesn't he?) and Amon's calculations, and with poor Korra being played like that. Also, we got to see more interaction between the principal political players - with Tenzin, and Tarrlok, and Lin Beifong; and moreover, it's high time we saw the rich industrialists of the city. The only bit that was boring was the Asami-Mako interaction - as I've already said, I don't care about shipping, and it seems to me that this part of the episode is only there to keep the teen brigade happy. Ah well...


- A lot of people on the forums complained about the opening credits - they want them longer, with an original series style voice-over intro and more explication. I don't agree. In fact, not only are the shortened credits a vast improvement over the AtLA ones (seriously, Katara's voice-over seems to drag on and on, how can anyone miss several minutes of same old same old?), but I love love love the newsreel thing. Again, a lot of people hate it, but I think it gives a level of authenticity to the chronotope and culture they are trying to portray. 
- Why does Korra sleep in boots? (Also, I knew the whole thing was a dream, cause I saw the previous week's teaser.)
- Also, Korra seems to prefer firebending to her own waterbending, which goes hand in hand with her fiery personality, but not so much with her culture...
- Tarrlok, you're very sleazy.
- Who's the previous threat? It was 42 years ago, so Aang dealt with it. I'm curious.
- Asami and Mako - yawn.
- Love the face Tenzin's wife makes when Tarrlok invites himself for dinner.
- 'Why do you have three ponytails, and how come you smell like a lady? You're weird!' - This kid proves that she's my favourite for a reason.
- Oh, so Asami's a daddy's girl. Okay.
- 'Get out of town!' - Hehehehh
- Naga is lying on her back, letting Korra pet her. Nice. At least she's doing something, for a change.
- 'I understand you're dirt poor!' - heheheh. You tell him, Mr Ford Sato.
- Hm, who is the guy who gave Sato that loan?
- Oh, Korra, just listen to Tenzin. Stupid teenagers.
- I like Korra's dress.
- 'That is not a toilet!!! Oh dear' - lol. I love how exasperated poor Tenzin is with his kids.
- Chief Beifong - 'I came, I insulted, I left.' Nice work. Btw, what's with the scars on your face?
- Stupid Korra, you've been played.
- Why are the equalists wearing masks in training? This reeks of set-up.
- Oh, Korra, don't provoke Amon! - Tenzin's gonna follow her, isn't he? 
- Avatar Aang memorial island - Is Aang buried here? What happened to him? 
- Oh, Amon, you clever coward, what is your plan? And how can you have a duel between a bender and a non-bender? Is Amon really a non-bender? Maybe he wants to destroy all benders, and then remain the only one in the world. (My brother's got a theory that Amon is actually Tarrlok.)
- Flashback time. Or Aang connection time. Is that Sokka? He looks serious and angry. Toph! She's in uniform. Was she the first chief of police? Is that Aang? He's doing something. It's like a court or something. He looks really angry. Is he dueling someone? Taking someone's bending away? What is going on???
- Well, yeah, that's what I said. Korra, just please listen to Tenzin.

The Spirit of Competition

Oh, dear. This is, hands down, the worst episode of the series so far. It combines the two most annoying, boring things - probending, and love triangles. Good God. The least said about it, the better.


- Korra, don't ask preteens for romantic advice.
- I'm gonna call the Wolfbats guy (Tahno?) Marylin Manson. Look, he's even wearing eyeliner!
- Oh, God, just stop all that ridiculousness and go back to being friends. I don't want to watch stupid Twilight.
- I love that Bolin burst into tears instead of being angry. Go genderbending! (Also, how silly is it that Mako found him beside many empty food bowls? I know that this is the kids show metaphor for empty bottles, but still. It's strangely cute.)
- Flameo Instant Noodles - I say, flameo, hotman!
- Korra learned healing from Katara. Cool.
- At least they're all being mature and will hopefully, continue as friends only. 

I haven't got anything to ad. This episode is pure filler. Worse than 'The Great Divide'.


The Legend of Korra: The Revelation

Of the three episodes I've seen so far, this one is my least favourite. I don't think that it's bad, just that it feels like exposition of the show's main plot. We have to see what Amon is all about, and how he imagines to fight the benders, so we get the Bolin subplot (that doesn't really feel organic) to have Korra listen to him and see what it is that he does. Still, I concede that this might be one of those episodes that grow on you. Again, I have to say that the animation is brilliant - as good as AtLA was, Korra is miles ahead. The closing shot of the city, nightlit, reflected in water, is gorgeous. All the scenes with light (light from the windows, light from the streetlamps, etc) are wonderful, soft, and done with such attention to detail that I find myself staring at the screen just absorbing the light. Absolutely stunning.

Little bits:

- 'The morning is evil!' - You said it, Korra. Totally with you there. Everything should be done by night.
- Hey! I've just noticed that the brothers' and Korra's belts match their eyes. Sweet.
- There's a statue of Zuko on the square! And he's holding what seems to be a never-ending ball of fire. That's very cool.
- How come everyone is capable of throwing lightning now? We only saw the Firelord, Azula, and Iroh do it in AtLA - now there's a power plant with all the workers doing it like it's nothing (and can I just say, Flashdance?). 
- They repaired that air-bending teaching device. Good for them. And good for Korra, for getting the hang of it. I like it so much that she is the opposite of Aang - he was a sweet, peaceful guy in touch with the spiritual side of being the Avatar, and she's this brawny, impulsive force who will probably need quite a lot of time to understand her spirituality. Nice.
- Lol at Korra earth-bending Tenzin's kids away and them using air-bending to land gracefully. 
- Shady Shin. Lightning Bolt Zolt. How do they come up with these names?
- Naga and Pabu have huge shoes to fill. They seem pale in comparison with Appa and Momo. So far.
- The chase, the fight, the motorcycles, the city... - the whole old-school feel of it reminds me a lot of Gotham. 
- The fight was quite good. Also, what's that green stuff? And the chi-blocker Korra was fighting was a girl (check out the boobs). Where did these guys learn this? Metal-bending seems fairly widespread - according to the comic, Toph had her own metal-bending academy. But lightning bolts? Chi-blocking? All the skills seem much more developed in this era. Does Amon have some connection with the Kyoshi warriors? There was speculation on some of the forums that he might be a descendant of Ty Lee. I don't think so. I wouldn't like this story to be  tied too much to the previous series. Still, they have to have learnt it somewhere...
- I keep wanting to pluck those hairs on the upper side of Mako's eyebrows, then I remember that he's a cartoon character.
- Mako's and Bolin's parents dies as a result of a mugging gone wrong. How utterly mundane. I like it. Not everything has to be
connected with scheming and politics, not everything has to be a mystery. A nice touch of reality.
- 'The Avatar's oppressing us!' - hehehehhheh
- The Equalists' rally resembles the early 20th century Communist meetings, which is entirely in keeping with the temporal theme.
- Amon totally looks like Darth Vader when he appears. This was probably deliberate. Now, his story doesn't ring true, does it? I mean, I thought that he wore the mask so as not to be recognised, or as a statement (his goons wear masks too. Are we to believe that they are all somehow scarred? I doubt it.). He says that 'he took my face' - who's 'he'? The fire-bender he mentions in that sentence, or a different 'he' altogether? The prosodic flow of the sentence suggests that 'he' does refer to the fire-bender ('he' is not emphasised, but rather shortened as if the pronoun has an antecedent), but that is somehow... anti-climactic. My brother thinks that Amon might have gone to the Spirit world, and that Koh took his face. It's a valid theory, especially as Amon mentions that spirits spoke to him, but the spanner in its works is that the faceless monkey Koh stripped of his face is completely egg-like (yeeesh! *shudders* I know that facelessness is a traditional way of showing the unpalpability of evil in Japanese culture, and I remember reading a Japanese horror fairy-tale about some faceless evil guys when I was but a youngster, but no matter how many cultural and literary explanations I come across, this still creeps me out like (almost) nothing else), and Amon clearly has eyes, and a mouth (how else would he speak?) Speculations, speculations...
- How did Amon learn to take away bending? Did he also meet a giant lion-turtle? He mentions that the spirits taught him that, but why hadn't they stepped in to tell Aang how to do it, leaving him to talk to the turtle instead? And seriously, how stupid was that turtle? I'd really like to have the skill explained in a way that does not feel like either a cop-out or an ass-pull. Mike and Bryan probably feel the same way, given that they weren't very pleased with the lion-turtle thing, and they are the guys who came up with it!
- Korra's air-bending the steam! Coolness.
- People in the Avatarworld can survive a whole lot of electric shocking, can't they?
- 'I / want / to be/ on / your back' - hehehehhheh

And how about that preview? Silly Korra, it's too early to face the bad guy yourself. I hope your bending stays with you.


Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favourite television shows ever. I was well over twenty when I first saw it, and, even though the target audience were seven-year-old boys, I (and many many others) never found it to be simply a kiddie show. If you haven't seen it, go and do it. It's that amazing. (The less said about the film version, the better.)

So I, like many others, couldn't wait for the sequel-of-sorts, Avatar: The Legend of Korra (the title is in keeping with the British version of the first show's title, Avatar: The Legend of Aang. It was changed because bender has unfortunate implications. Giggle) Still, I'm not what you would call a rabid fan, of anything, really. I don't care about fanfiction or extended universes (don't read the Buffy comics, don't watch any of the Star Wars animated series, etc) - for me, the primary story is It. And apart from literary analysis of the things that are deliberately multilayered and prone to such analyses (like Buffy), I'm not one for obsessive discussion. Sometimes it's because obsessive discussion can be scary. I mean, after seeing the Buffy-referential episode of Criminal Minds I wrote about, I googled it to see if there's any mention of the references anywhere, and ended up on a CM forum where people were raging about what a bad episode it was because there wasn't much team interaction (which I really don't care about, I watch the show for the insight into, well, criminal minds, not for the soap of it) and going on and on about how Prentiss touched Hotch 's elbow and how it must mean something. (Which was, what? I can't even. I mean, obviously, we all watch a different show, even when it's the same show, but still. Priorities, they are more different than I could've imagined) So. Back to Avatar. I used to lurk a bit on an ATLA forum (Spirit net, I think?), and got to know what people were obsessing about. Good thing I did, or I wouldn't have caught some hilarious references in Korra. Anyway, here are my impressions of the first two episodes. 

- I lolled so hard at the 'What happened to Zuko's mum?' thing. This is one of the things that the fandom is going insane about, and I... couldn't care less. I was evilly imagining the faces of the audience when they realised that they weren't getting an answer. And the kid who interrupted Katara instantly became my favourite (also, she's totally like Aang, what with happiness and dancing moves and all)
-The art is fantabulous. I'm not the biggest visual type, it's difficult for me to catch everything on first viewing, but that scenery is breathtaking, and the screen is busy, but not crowded, and the colours are wonderful. This looks much better than the original show.
-  Where did that skybison come from? Did it turn out that Appa was, after all, a girl?
- The White Lotus is recruiting avatars? Since when?
- What happened to Sokka? Katara says that her brother and many of her friends are gone - who is still alive? Is Zuko still the firelord? Also, I thought I'd be more interested in Katara and Aang's life, but... I'm not. They had their story, I want to know about Korra. The only character I really, really miss is Uncle Iroh. I want to know what happened to HIM.
- I like Tenzin just fine, but don't yet know what to make of him.
- How wonderful is it that Korra is a statuesque, physically strong woman? Don't get me wrong. I HATE slim-bashing. I don't have problems with any body type (your body, your business), but at the same time, I hate the double standards. I hate it that people are not allowed to say 'fat,' but made to use euphemisms like 'curvy' for people who are not curvy, but obese; and yet it's perfectly acceptable to say things like, 'She needs to eat a sandwich' any time they see a skinny person. At the same time, if they saw a fat person and said, 'She needs to lay off sandwiches,' it would be considered insulting. (And it is. But the first one is too.) And don't even get me started on the phrase 'Real women'. I suppose small women are imaginary, are they? Feelings, I have a lot of them. Ahem. Anyway. I like what Joss did with Buffy and how her smallness and prettiness worked against her physical strength and somewhat masculine way of dealing with emotions, and, as a tiny woman myself (Even SMG has a few inches on me!), I appreciate it entirely - but - a strong warrior who trains hard and beats up bad guys can be allowed to be big and strong herself from time to time. I like Korra's looks, especially because she's so different from all the girls we've seen in the original series - they were all fragile-looking. Korra isn't, and it works.
- Metalbenders are quite ominous-looking (shades of Dai-Lee, anyone?), but they're also the coolest. Btw, why can't Korra metalbend? Do you need to learn the primary bending skills before you move on to the more sophisticated ones? Or was she simply never given an opportunity? Maybe her earthbending teacher doesn't know metalbending.
- The city chase music is groovy.
- Is that a statue of Toph at the Police HQ? 
- I'm not sure how I feel about Lin. Also, who is her father? I cannot imagine what kind of guy Toph might have chosen. Also, I'd like to learn more about her relationship with Tenzin. They seem friendly, but short with each other, kinda sibling-like. 
- A granny and a platypus bear. I'm giggling, cause I'm secretly 10. And it reminds me of that scene on the train in Ba-Sing-Se.
- I liked how Korra lifted all the kids AND Tenzin. I told you I was 10.
- Amon and his goons look a bit silly with those masks. Who is he? Maybe he's Azula's son or something. 
- Yay for the flying lemur! 
- The bending match looks nice, but is kinda boring. I guess that's because I hate sports, especially team sports. Even football bores me, though I sometimes watch it with the tone turned off because all those tiny TV people running across the green has a soothing effect on me. Also, even though I don't understand the world's fascination with football, I do understand the offside rule. I'm cool like that.
- My brother hated the brothers-Korra dynamic. He was all, 'Oh, God, why? Why are they turning this into Twilight?' I don't think they are. I don't think that Bolin (sp?) is interested in Korra in that way. Or I hope it isn't so, because NOT every show/book/film/whatever needs a silly love triangle with a girl torn between two guys. Seriously.
- How great is it that they named a character after Mako? 
- Korra's temper and patience are totally Zuko-like. Tenzin himself seems to have got a bit of Katara's temper in him.
- That contraption they use to train airbending is 2000 years old? Where did they get it? Probably one of the air-temples.
- 'Yeah, you're a terrible teacher, Daddy!' - heheeh
- What was that bit about running out of bending juice? Does bending exhaust you? We never saw that in AtLA.

All in all, I like the beginning. Can't wait for the next episode.