#1 Avatar: The Last Airbender (original animated series)
No not the movie. PLEASE don’t even think about the movie. The only GOOD thing about the movie is the resulting Avatar State omnibus on Nick.
This series is set in another world where certain people have the ability to manipulate one of the following elements: air, water, fire or earth. As such, there are also four nations inhabited by the respective benders and family: Fire Nation, Earth Nation, Air Temples and Water Tribes. The balance of the world and the four elements is kept by the Avatar: a person reincarnated repeatedly who has the power to bend ALL the elements. However, for the last hundred years, the Avatar has gone missing leaving the world in chaos as the Fire Nation invaded the other countries.
So. On to why I’m recommending this. Although at first glance, the characters look slightly goofy and childish, the series matures very much in the same way the main character Aang does. A twelve-year-old boy’s priorities are usually having fun over saving the world after all. Despite Aang’s slightly annoying tendency to fly wildly off course, he still remains endearing. Especially because of what he has lost while he was “missing”.
Being a tv show on a children’s network, the series is saturated with fillers and fun off cuts from the story. However, there remains an undertone of darkness and struggle in the early episodes within Zuko‘s story that deepens and spreads to other characters over time. I think that for a first-time watcher, the fillers will not bother you, in fact they might be welcome. But the first two books have very little replay value. Book 3 on the other hand has endless opportunities for enjoyment over and over again.
My only regret is that the series leaves a lot of loose ends: there isn’t an epilogue exactly to show us what happens years after the series. Which is why I am excited that the creators of Airbender are making a spin-off to continue the series in some respects. Though it does not directly involve the first-generation characters (they’d be dead in the time setting) it will do what the last episode did not. So, I’m definitely waiting with bated breath for Avatar: The Legend of Korra.
- Nickelodeon Announces New Avatar Series, The Legend of Korra (gamercenteronline.net)
#2 Merlin (BBC series)
Not a recommendation for the hard-core fans of the original story. I’m not particularly familiar with the Legend of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, so naturally this adaptation was brilliant for me.
It basically changes things up by introducing both Arthur and Merlin as teenagers/young men growing up in Camelot. Arthur is the heir to the throne currently held by his father, Uther Pendragron. Merlin arrives in Camelot to find Gaius, the castle apothecary, a friend of his mother. Merlin possesses magical ability without him ever studying magic. His mother sent him to Camelot in the hope that Gaius could help him with his powers and take care of him. The only problem is that Uther has a deep hatred and distrust of magic, and so Merlin must hide his abilities or risk being executed.
By chance, Arthur and Merlin meet and take an immediate dislike of each other. Later on, Merlin finds out that his destiny is to protect Arthur and help him become King of Camelot. So sets off a series of attempts on Arthur’s, Merlin’s and Uther’s lives in separate episodes.
It’s AWESOME! But don’t take my word for it! Watch some Merlin 😀
Maybe even the first season of Legend of the Seeker, after that it becomes quite repetitive. But I’m still watching it so 😛 Seeing as I can’t think of anything else, I’ll leave it here for now…But I’ll be baaaaaaack! With edits.