We’re joined by Mae’s sister Sonia to discuss the inaugural film of Algerian director Rayhana Obermeyer, “I Still Hide to Smoke.” How well does this film convey the experiences of living as a woman in Algeria in the mid-1990s? How are the themes explored applicable to women’s issues worldwide? How amazing is Hiam Abbas in the lead role (answer: incredibly amazing as she is in everything.) We also have a lot of MENA news to discuss, including the news that our fave Marwan Kenzari will be starring in the DCEU’s Black Adam! We also discuss Mauritanian-American actor Mamoudou Athie’s new film project, the announced tv adaptation of Hafsah-Faizal’s “We Hunt the Flame,” which takes place in a fantasy Arabia, the upcoming return of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the Writers Guild of America forming a Middle Eastern Writers Committee, and the exciting news about the establishment of Avatar Studios, which is expanding the animated universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on Nickelodeon and Paramount+!
Anyone who knows me knows I love The Wizarding World. My entire family does. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first ‘big girl book’ my daughter read. Her first serious Halloween costume was that of a Hogwarts’s student — she is a true Gryffindor. My wife loves the films — they are our Christmas tradition. We’ve been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter more than a few times. The books, the world, have been a part of my life since 1998. But like so many others, I am nursing a huge fan-wound because The Wizarding World’s creator, the TERF Who Must Not Be Named, showed their true colors. Those colors have betrayed the very values and ideals The Wizarding World extols.
Last summer, the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra expanded with the release of The Rise of Kyoshi; the first young adult novel in the franchise. Written by F.C. Yee, it tells of the humble beginnings of the hardcore, justice-pursuing Avatar Kyoshi.
Now, Yee is capping off the Kyoshi duology with the release of The Shadow of Kyoshi. In the aftermath of establishing herself as a fully realized avatar, Kyoshi stumbles her way across the world, tending to her responsibilities as best she can, when a mysterious threat emerges from the Spirit World.
These elements are known to kick off the beginning of episodes of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and its sequel series, The Legend of Korra. While fans everywhere seem to know Avatar Aang and Avatar Korra, they also know that there were many other avatars preceding them, all with stories of their own. While we’ve heard the stories of some of these other avatars like Roku and Wan, there is one that fans are familiar with, but by way of only a tiny bit of information: Avatar Kyoshi. Continue reading “From Fan to Writer: F.C. Yee on Developing the Story of Avatar Kyoshi”
In the 1990s, Xena: Warrior Princess — starring Lucy Lawless — ruled TV. Her chakram, armor, and famous warrior cry helped elevate Xena to one of the 25 best TV shows of all time. It’s 2015, and we have a new TV super woman, and her name is Korra, the Avatar (voiced by Janet Varney). The Legend of Korra is the Nickelodeon animated series that tells the story of a young woman who has the power to control the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Her power to control the elements makes her the most powerful human on the planet. Korra is tasked with bringing balance to the world by merging the spirit and human world in perfect harmony.
Being a fan of both Xena and Korra, the wheels started turning in my head, so I came up with a theory that the creators of Legend of Korra had a little Xena inspiration.
A month ago, at New York Comic-Con, I attended a panel for The Legend of Korra. It was full of sneak peeks, laughs, and goodbyes (considering this is likely their last panel for the series) but there was also a reminder — that Platinum Games is making a video game derived from the series. It takes place between the second and third books of the series, where Korra is stripped of her bending by a chi-blocker, and must regain her abilities throughout the game.
What I’ve found is that people aren’t really talking much about the game. I even forgot myself, considering it was a nice reminder at New York Comic-Con. The creators basically mentioned it as a passing thought, but that may have been due to time constraints. The game isn’t meant to be long (it’s about four to six hours to play), and is a digital download, so that’s likely an aspect of it. The game isn’t a full-fledged entity, but a charming addition to the series. It’s not the most important thing. However, forgetting Korra… this isn’t exactly new. Let’s talk about how Nickelodeon has been treating the series.
This first part of Book 3 has been fast and full of non-stop action. So you know there would be some “set up” episodes and “The Stakeout” falls under this category. There isn’t too much revealed and not much action, but we do see the return of the spirit world and we learned about Zaheer’s past and perhaps clues to his intentions with Avatar Korra.
Note from Julie: This week, I’m going to keep the recap brief in order to discuss Nickelodeon’s decision to pull The Legend of Korra off the air into online-only distribution, and to showcase some choice cosplay from San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend!
Korra is already metalbending like a champ, but Bolin has yet to bend any metal at all. Combine that with Opal leaving for the Northern Air Temple to train with Tenzin, and he is despondent, uttering lovesick schlock such as “Every time I eat raw kale, I’m gonna think of you.” Opal still is charmed by him, bless her heart.
This episode showcased the rise of the new Air Nation. Tenzin is the master teacher of about a dozen new recruits, and in his typical way, is pedantic and tone-deaf to their needs. He drones on about the histories of various ancient monks, while his brother Bumi and the other recruits die of boredom.
There are some opportunities when my whole family sits down and enjoy a TV show, The Legend of Korra is one of them. This is episode really dives into the history of the Beifong family, sibling fighting and of course metal bending.
Beifong and team Avatar are in Metal City trying to recruit Opal who has now discovered she is an air bender. Beifong blew up at her when she tried to introduce herself and we start this episode at the breakfast table.
Team Avatar and Lin Beifong are taking a break in an idyllic valley. Naga is in full retriever mode, wanting Lin to play fetch with her. Lin responds thusly:
The team is headed to Zao Fu, the home of the Metal Clan, as there are reports of a new airbender there. Lin doesn’t want to go, because apparently, she doesn’t want to do anything. Lin, you know I love you, but remind me not to travel with you!
Kai has been kidnapped to be part of the Earth Queen’s new Air Bender Army. Mako and Bolin rediscovered family. The league of super evil benders is forming. Korra and Tenzin are trying to figure out where are all the air benders in Ba Sing Se.
We begin with a sparring session between Uncle Bumi and Kai, led by Jinora. Uncle Bumi’s stance is all old-school fisticuffs, and Kai makes easy work of him. Jinora’s crush on Kai grows deeper, and Kai starts the charm offensive on her.
Team Avatar (minus Mako the Brooding Teenager) is ready to set off for Operation Air Nation. Pema, Kya, Ikki, and Meelo are staying on Air Temple Island in order to receive any potential pilgrims. But first, two words: HOLY AIRSHIP.
Two weeks have passed since Avatar Korra’s amazing triumph against UnaVaatu during Harmonic Convergence. The portals between the Spirit World and the human one have remained open all this time, with at least one annoying side effect: giant Spirit Vines have been growing all over Republic City, taking over entire buildings and displacing many people from their homes. Korra has yet to figure out how to deal with the vines, so her approval ratings are down to a dismal 8%, with even President Raiko distancing himself from her. Our poor teenage Avatar is questioning whether her victory was a victory at all.
On Air Temple Island, however, things are on the up-and-up. Uncle Bumi, after chasing Bum-Ju off a cliff, has discovered he can now… airbend!?!?
If your only exposure to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender came by way of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 feature film adaptation, then I am truly sorry. I can see how that limp, bland take on creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s blisteringly entertaining animated series would steer you away from ever checking out the source material. And that’s a shame, because Avatar — a story about a world where certain people can “bend” the four elements to their will and a young Airbender named Aang who is destined to be the Avatar, who alone can restore balance to a pre-industrial civilization that’s out of whack — is everything an animated series can be. Avatar: The Last Airbender is like a cross between Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Stand By Me if it was animated by Hayao Miyazaki.
Team Korra, we have a date! On Friday afternoon, Nickelodeon announced that the first THREE episodes of the third season of The Legend of Korra will air this Friday, June 27, starting at 7 PM/6 Central. They will then take a week hiatus for 4th of July weekend, then air weekly on Fridays at 8 PM.
And of course, being the NOC’s resident Korra experts, Rodrigo and I will be on-hand to recap every episode!
The Republic’s finest ships and zeppelins are circling the city. General Iroh, sultry-toned leader of the United Forces, sits in wait, wondering what kind of enemy he’s about to deal with. In flies UnaVaatu, decimating the ports of Republic City with Spirit Vines of Evil.
Vaatu is free. Harmonic Convergence is upon us. Unalaq is still being an ass and making no sense. It’s like those winter mornings when you don’t want to get out of bed. So, who do you call? The Fire Ferrets. Mako, Bolin, and Korra take on Vaatu and Unalaq in a Wrestlemania meets Celebrity Death Match quarrel. We’ve been waiting for this, when Korra goes Hulk smash… and slams Vaatulaq!
The second half of this week’s exciting installment of The Legend of Korra set things up for what seems like a VERY dramatic finale.
We find Team Avatar on Varrick’s zebra-striped warship, heading south. Quick history lesson: that stripe pattern was actually a real form of battleship camouflage during World War I called “razzle dazzle.” It made it difficult to guess the size, type, speed, and heading of a ship.
I am not going to lie. This season of The Legend of Korra has been better than I expected. So the next four episodes are for sure going to make me drop some F-bombs and some holy expletives with tons of exclamation points to fill in my excitement. So you’ve been warned.
“The Night of a Thousand Stars” was a filler episode and a warm-up to what we all have been waiting for, the “Harmonic Convergence” show down.
The last two episodes of Korra have been intense. Which has reflected the way my life has been the past two weeks as well. A year ago, around this time, I lost a close friend of mine: a family member, the godfather to my son, and one of the biggest nerds of color I’ve ever known.
The wife and I introduced him to A:TLA, and I know he would geek out over LOK. So forgive me, if this post is a little bit different.