Just watched the new Korra, and it’s probably not a good sign when your audience is 10000x more invested in the characters who have ties to the old series than the new characters that the show is ostensibly starring.
Sticking my response (which is not really directed at you lexieface!!) behind a read more:
I think, tbh, it is because of Mako’s big brother paternalizing complex thing that he is so gd obnoxious. Because paternalizing people is always, always, always obnoxious. And idk, I think the creative team gets that, because the person with the most opportunities to paternalize is Tenzin — and he doesn’t do it. And that’s portrayed as a good thing, you know?
I am way the fuck over the complaints I’ve been seeing about how we were supposedly going to get this great story about class warfare and structural inequality and stuff but instead we got teenage romance and how DARE Legend of Korra not live up to the expectations of the first series. What did we think they were going to accomplish in a thirteen-episode season order? I’m frankly amazed they’ve done as well as they have with it. If each episode is 21 minutes long, we’ve got about three hours and twenty minutes’ worth of Legend of Korra at this point. At this point in season one of Avatar: The Last Airbender, not much was going on, either. The creative team knows they have two seasons of shorter length than the first series to tell a complex story for older audiences.
A complex story for older audiences where ‘older audiences’ means younger teenagers, not twenty-somethings who read feminist and social justice blogs and have axes to grind (and I certainly count myself in this demographic). On a network where they can’t use the word kill.
Expecting a perfect series with shade and nuance under these circumstances is frankly expecting too much.
The primary issue I have with the writers is that the choice to make Korra into the proverbial country mouse in the big city while at the same time making her female means that people tend to respond to Korra in one of three ways: paternalize her, dismiss her, or manipulate her. And Korra, who comes from a rural place and who grew up even more sheltered than her peers, frankly doesn’t know enough yet to be able to tell people where they can stick it and have them believe her. I personally would love to dropkick Mako into next week (because I have the experience to recognize what he’s doing and the vocabulary to tell him where and why to stick it, UNLIKE KORRA) — but he is a believable teenage boy, with a serious self-sacrificing paternalistic tendency to gross and condescending behavior toward others, who has no business trying to date anyone but because he’s a teenage boy, he does it. If they had more than thirteen episodes, I absolutely believe we’d see the character shading filled in. But they don’t. So we don’t.
They are trying to accomplish so much in what will ultimately come in at around four hours’ worth of show. They haven’t gotten everything. They are not going to get everything. This is what fandom is for.
You want to write the social justice and structural inequality story? Do it. This is why fanfiction exists — to respond to texts, to fill in holes, to make the world fit what we want to see. But don’t give the creative team the finger over problems which, likely as not, are out of their hands due to dual network constraints of episode order and standards and practices. I’m delighted the creative team left us the possibilities to fill in. And after the complex way they handled Aang versus Ozai, they get my trust and good will for Legend of Korra.