Well, the good news is the new live-action TV series of Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting better reviews than the last live-action adaptation of the beloved cartoon series. (That one was a film, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, released in 2010.)

The bad news is the reviews for the new show, which is streaming on Netflix, still aren’t so good.

As of this writing the show has a 60 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s good enough for a “fresh” score ... but only by the thinnest of margins. (In fact, while I was putting this post together it briefly dipped into “rotten” territory before more reviews came in and it crept back up into positive territory.) So at best, the reviews are mixed.


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So what are the critics saying? Well, I’ve kind of already summed it up: This new show isn’t as bad as the Shymalan movie, but that’s not really saying that much, given that The Last Airbender movie is often called one of the worst movies of the 2010s. No matter whether the critics you read are a little more or a little less positive on the show overall, they all largely agree that Netflix’s Avatar can’t hold a candle to the original.

Here’s a selection of the reviews of the live-action Avatar so far:

Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge:

Avatar: The Last Airbender is everything that’s disappointing about Netflix’s live-action cartoon shows

Maya Phillips, The New York Times:

The streamer’s latest big money, live-action adaptation that proves just how difficult it is to capture the magic of a beloved original.

Coleman Spilde, The Daily Beast:

The beloved Nickelodeon cartoon doesn’t deserve a crappy live-action adaptation—let alone two of them.

Kambole Campbell, Empire:

Sadly, the new live-action take on Avatar: The Last Airbender, developed by Albert Kim (after the original creators stepped down, citing creative differences), mostly sheds the original’s cartoonish charm and dynamic presentation in favor of more self-serious fantasy.


Jeremy Mathai, /Film:

Despite its obvious good intentions, "Avatar: The Last Airbender" ultimately lets itself down through the most predictable of issues: a medium that doesn't fit the story, a wildly uneven grasp of pacing and tone, and a nagging sense of soullessness where the original's heart and spirit used to reside.

Aramide Tinubu, Variety:

A beautifully crafted disappointment.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, TV Guide:

This Netflix remake is an insult to everyone involved.

Therese Lacson, Collider:

Struggles with time constraints due to a shorter season and loses out on the depth of the original show.


Rollin Bishop, Total Film:

Netflix's live-action take on Avatar: The Last Airbender, for all its foibles, feels like an earnest attempt at a harmonious middle ground that never quite leaves the original behind nor faithfully recreates it enough.

Belen Edwards, Mashasble:

The new show is nowhere near the failure of the film, nor as spectacular as the series.

Elijah Gonzalez, Paste:

The animated version is still undeniably the definitive one, but there are enough interesting additions here, especially in the final stretch, to make things worthwhile for those who already know how this adventure goes.

Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender series is now streaming.

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