Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender has just landed on the streamer, giving the Gaang the live-action treatment.


But how does it hold up against the beloved Nickleodeon animation it's been adapted from? Well, the jury is rather divided.

At the time of writing, the series holds a 67 per cent rating from critics on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, with critics largely praising the Netflix adaptation's cast, but commenting on a lack of heart.

In its review, wrote: "While it's bold that the showrunners have attempted a differing tone and direction for this latest outing, it feels like part of the essence and artistry has been lost in the process.

"Comparisons aside, the series proves a decent fantasy entry, setting up a compelling showdown between Aang and his allies against the fearsome Fire Nation."

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Elsewhere, The Guardian called it a "thrilling ride", but Variety said "cheesy acting and some Disney Channel-like dialogue turn what could have been a resounding epic adventure into a whimpering thud".

Avatar: The Last Airbender. (L to R) Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh, Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh and Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Netflix

The audience score is higher, however, with a 75 per cent rating, though it's worth noting that there are currently just over 50 reviews from viewers on Rotten Tomatoes. It's early days still, with fans yet to work their way through the series.

Still, the reception on social media has been rather positive, with many noting how the adaptation has exceeded their expectations despite original creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko not being involved. (The pair left the show during production due to creative differences.)

One fan wrote that the show was "squashing every negative thought" they had about it prior to it airing. "Every character is so good, the bending looks amazing, the settings and scenes look beautiful, just finished episode 2, and already want the 2nd and 3rd season!" they added.

"I'm really with #AvatarNetflix after ep 1, as a big fan of the animated shows and comics," another wrote.

Another fan commented on how characterisation wasn't quite on point, but added that the show was "getting better and better" after the first episode. "I don't see what critics were talking about," they added.

Of course, not all fans are happy with the changes made by the streamer. One X user said the series "looked and felt REALLY weird. The pacing, writing & even the acting felt very stilted. Awkwardly dashing through the spark notes of 3 & 1/2 eps. with no room for the characters to breathe."

With the series just being added to the streamer, reactions are likely to continue pouring in as fans race to the ending.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender is available to stream on Netflix from 22nd February 2024. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out more of our Fantasy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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