Soul stillImage: Pixar

Like seemingly everyone else right now, I watched back through Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time in years (actually, just the second and third seasons since my wife got through most of the first one without me) because it’s come back to Netflix. It’s been really wonderful seeing such a brilliant, funny, epic, and deserving show suddenly getting this widespread recognition.

On (what is probably my fourth) rewatch, what really stood out to me is the incredible attention the show gives to building out vibrant, fascinating cultures throughout its world. The show’s protagonists are constantly traveling, yet even towns and characters that only show up for an episode get distinct traits and humanizing moments. It adds up to a…

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