We all knew there was something special about Avatar from the start. Forget the witty humor or the brilliantly choreographed action scenes. There was far more to The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra than that. Both series’ seemed super-charged with an ingredient that has been missing from most forms of entertainment these days.
That ingredient is simply and most commonly referred to as a message.
Ask yourself, what do you learn from entertainment these days? Money is awesome, right? Drugs can be cool? If we break up, it’s all your fault? These three ideas are the norm when it comes to delivering a “meaningful” message through certain forms of entertainment.
When it comes to today’s entertainment, music and television are more along the lines of meaning-less. So what if you enjoy listening to Taylor Swift or watching A.N.T Farm? It’s not a bad thing; the only issue is that neither do justice in conveying a plausible message. That’s the difference between a show like Avatar and a show like A.N.T Farm: Avatar conveys a meaningful message whereas A.N.T Farm does not.
The best part about it is that Mike and Bryan, Avatar’s creators, actually revolve their show around a message. Mike DiMartino recently opened up a WordPress blog of his own in which he blogs about Storytelling. His recent post, titled Story Brain, was quite intriguing and it motivated me to leave a comment asking how the message of each episode or season is formed. I asked whether the creators sat down to form a message or if the message just formed on its own due to the depth of the show.
Mike actually replied to my comment and gave a rather thoughtful response: