For the past few months our family has been watching the animated Nickelodeon series ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender‘ through Netflix. I think it’s my all-time favorite animated series. It’s been an absolutely marvelous adventure watching all 3 seasons of the show. And last Sunday night we saw the hour and a half series finale. And it was awesome!
As throughout the entire series, we laughed, we cried; I was blown away by the heart and soul, the wisdom, humor and amazing character developement of this “kids” TV show. Now I understand why I’d heard so much love and praise from its fans over the last couple of years. And I think I can understand the disappointment expressed by many fans of M.Night Shyamalan’s Live action movie ‘The Last Airbender‘ that was based on the first part of the TV show. I don’t have any desire to see the film after reading numerous different reviews of it. And it looks now like another movie that continues the story may not be in the making. That’s a shame, but I just don’t see how anyone could improve on the original. The artwork, the animation, the voice actors and the story were delightful. It was perfect! This is one show that people of all ages can enjoy. Buy it! Rent it! It’s great! And I’m already missing this show.
But… I recently learned that the creators of the show and Nickelodeon are working on a new Avatar series, or a miniseries, really, consisting of 12 episodes that will premiere about a year from now. Called ‘Avatar: The Legend of Korra’, it will be set about 75 years after the original series, and will be about Korra, the female Avatar who succeeds Aang. And she’ll be taught airbending by the son of Aang and Katara. I think this should be very cool.
While we’re on the subject of anime (although I guess ‘Avatar’ is not technically considered anime, since it wasn’t made in Japan. But it is in the style of anime) here are links to two of my other favorite anime series you might like to check out: Cowboy Bebop and Mushi-shi. I’ve mentioned Cowboy Bebop here before. I think it had a major influence on the great and way too short-lived (thank you very much, FOX!) series Firefly by Joss Whedon. And Mushi-shi is just… well… it’s bizarre, beautiful, meditative and a little depressing at times. But it’s cool! Kind of like animated Shinto poetry. About a guy named Ginko who wanders around the wild mountains of Japan about a hundred years ago and helps people get rid of invisible (mostly) primordial life-forms called Mushi that can inadvertently have strange effects on humans that they encounter. Have I peeked your curiosity? A very unique series of 26 episodes.
In the last post I also mentioned I was reading a novel by Terry Pratchett called Hat Full of Sky. I finished it, and it was just as wonderful as the previous book in the Tiffany Aching Adventures called The Wee Free Men. This series of stories have become priceless treasures to me, and I’m looking forward to reading the last two books, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight, which just came out recently. They are so wise and hilarious and exciting and sweet! I must read them all again to Stephanie and the kids.
Gosh, it’s gotten late! So… happy first day of December. We’ve got a little snow on the ground and the children are thrilled by it! Ah, to be that young again! I will leave you with links to a couple more movies that are coming out soon that look good to me. Hopefully we can find time to see them!
This week has been a bit of a roller coaster again. Our dog Tessa’s health is fading once more, and this time things aren’t looking too good. She has slowly been eating less and less, and now only turkey deli meat or maybe some hamburger, if we’re lucky. She has lost much weight, and is getting weaker by the day. It’s hard for her to walk much, her breathing is more difficult and she’s had some nasty accidents on the floor. It looks like she’s bleeding internally. So I guess that’s enough of the details. I took her to see the vet on Thursday. He gave her another shot of steroids to make her more comfortable and an IV of fluids, but we soon have to make a decision about putting her to sleep (I almost did it on Thursday, but I just couldn’t yet). It’s going to be tough on the kids, especially Arthur. Having pets has so many benefits, but is also so difficult at times! More reminders of mortality, I guess. ‘Tis the season.
On a brighter note, I’ve been finding some wonderful shows to watch on the telly to while away these cold, rainy nights of November, as well as good reading material from the library. Also, this past Monday Stephanie spent the day, with our friend Tracy, at the TED Rochester conference and got to hear a lot of local people talk about lots of cool stuff. If you haven’t heard of TED (Technology, Education, Design) check it out: TED.
This got me thinking of one of my favorite (among many) TED presenters, Ken Robinson, who has given some wonderful talks about education and illustrates another reason why we home school our kids. Here’s the link: Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! And here’s another very inspiring video on Youtube along similar lines: Changing Education Paradigms.
Moving on to what appears to be my favorite topic on this blog, Entertainment, I have some TV shows to recommend that you might like too! I just saw the first episode of a new series from AMC about a zombie apocalypse called ‘The Walking Dead‘. Wow! This was intense, very realistic, gruesome, disturbing and really, really cool! Now, I’m not a big fan of the whole zombie genre. I liked George Romero’s original ‘Night of the Living Dead’ in all it’s black-and-white cheesy low-budget glory, but I was never that interested in seeing his later zombie flicks. However I did really enjoy ’28 Days Later'; that was different and incredibly intense. And I got a kick out of ‘Zombieland’ with Woody Harrelson. Who would have thought zombies could be horrifying and hilarious? But I thought ‘The Walking Dead’ premiere episode (broadcast Halloween night) was very well done. Having an ongoing television series with interesting characters trying to survive a world overrun by zombies and deal with their own human shortcomings has all kinds of potential! It’s not for the squeamish, though. But it’s cool.
Any fans of ‘Doctor Who’ who loved David Tennant in his stint as The Doctor will like his new show from Across the Pond. It’s called ‘Single Father’ and I believe it’s only a four-part drama, according to the BBC. We saw the first part and loved it. Here’s a link to David’s website: David Tennant.com.
And speaking of television on This Side of The Pond, (well, actually it takes place in a whole other Pond), I’m really digging the new version of ‘Hawaii Five-O‘ from CBS. Man, this show is cool, action-packed, surprisingly humorous and has great characters! Including the guy who played Mick the vampire on ‘Moonlight’ as Steve McGarret, Grace Park from ‘Battlestar Galactica’ and Daniel Dae Kim from ‘Lost’. This remake is awesome! Book ‘em, Danno! (yes, McGarret says that in amusing ways at the end of every show!)
And speaking of ‘Battlestar Galactica’, the creators of that monumental remake are whipping up a new prequel series about young Bill Adama and the first Cylon War. Check this out: SyFy To Make New ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Series Pilot Called ‘Blood & Chrome’. And I just heard that the series ‘Caprica’ is not going to get a second season to finish their ponderous but quite creative and fascinating series about the creation of the Cylons. And I, for one, am very disappointed! I enjoyed this show. It was unlike anything else on television; combining great acting, soap opera drama, cyberspace shenanigans, religious beliefs and everyone’s favorite robots! It was really thought-provoking. But…what the frak! We can’t have too much of that! Maybe ‘Blood and Chrome’ will be more the SyFy channel’s cup of tea. At least it should have lots of action!
This week I’ve been reading ‘Oryx and Crake’ by Margaret Atwood (author of ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ and other classics of speculative fiction). I’ve heard of this book for a long time, and found it at our library last week. I’m only halfway through, but it’s very good. An excellent and disturbing tale of where our civilization may be heading.
Another great anime series we have been watching through Netflix is the original ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender‘. I think this is my all time favorite animated TV series. I’m also digging ‘Cowboy Bebop‘ right now. It’s great! And I can see it was a big influence on Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly’. I highly recommend both shows, but Avatar is just a great series for viewers of all ages. The kids love it and Stephanie and I love it. This show has better character development than 80% of all the live action shows out there, and a wonderful, enlightening, funny, complex story. In fact I need to go watch it right now with the family.