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The End of Quality Animated Television?

As a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was privy to all sorts of television, and grew up in a generation where HUGE floppy disks and Tandy computers were the best around! Internet was just coming through with dial-up, and if you knew the ropes, you could use free-trial discs offered by your local retail giant (Thanks, Sears). With this growing up through the decades, there was the stint of Saturday morning cartoons! These programs, for their time, were animated and often times left the viewer (me) with an inspiring message and laughs for the week. Over the years, one would think that animation on television would get better as we forward to the new millenium!

One day, I visited my Aunt's house to find my cousin of 11 watching Saturday morning cartoons. Other than that older tradition, the cartoon itself was quite confusing. It was poorly drawn characters doing random things with seemingly no sense of plot! I asked him what he was watching, and he yelled "Adventure Time"! I asked him what the characters were doing this week, and his response was "being funny" quest, no rescue mission, no moral of the day...just "being funny". The look on my face was one of confusion.

As he got older, I informed him of a tv series that I watched as an adult (yeah, don't judge me), and just recently ended. This series is fantasticly animated with great plot, character development, tackles current issues, and gives a great inspirational message. What is this miracle tv series? Enter Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra.

If you haven't seen these series yet, you should. The world is set in a fantasy Asian culture where many of the inhabitants from four nations (Earth, Fire, Air, and Water) can magically control one of four elements pending on their nation of residence (there's your cartoon element right there). In all the world, there is one person that has the unique ability to bend ALL of the elements...the Avatar. To keep things fair and balanced, the Avatar is reincarnated into each nation in a cycle. At the start, we find that the new Avatar is a kid from the Air people who's was thought to be dead. What transpires is a journey filled with self-discovery, action, genocide, morality and pretty much anything else you can think of.

The series became so popular after it's 4 season run (each season is referred to as a "Book") that Nickelodeon made a spin-off (The Legend of Korra). In line with the show's plot, Korra is the new Avatar born into the Water tribe (after the passing of Aang) and the show is set 70 years after the last series ends...what we get is nothing short of breathtaking and awe-inspiring as we watch a strong female lead grow and mature into the Avatar we all know and love...needless to say, my cousin...and his parents, are now HUGE fans of the series! If you have the chance to check it out, please do! You won't regret it. Sadly, unless they release another Avatar, you will be hardpressed to find an animated series similar in quality anywhere else at this current time.

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