AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER is a beloved children’s show and the best thing to come out of Nickelodeon. It had incredible character arcs and symbolism. And the soundtrack? Beautiful. For the past several years, fans have debated whether or not any other children’s show could compete. Luckily for them, AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER writers Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond are back at it and gifted us with THE DRAGON PRINCE. Thrilling, well-paced, and entertaining, it’s sure to make quite the mark. Here’s 5 reasons why THE DRAGON PRINCE is the next big thing in children’s television.

1. The Storytelling is So Well Done

Remember how A:tLA told a war story? There wasn’t just a clear good side and bad side. They showed how Fire Nation citizens were feeling the effects of the war, that waterbending could be just as destructive as firebending, and that the rich can get away with anything while the poor pay the price.

Similarly, TDP gives us a plot that isn’t black and white. There are morally ambiguous decisions that characters need to make. Each show sends you down one storyline, but the path you take along the way isn’t simple. We have another war story, and our main characters realize they’re on the wrong side. We see the sacrifices they make and, much like in A:tLA, the tragedies that befall them.

THE DRAGON PRINCE fight
A tender moment before a fight. Courtesy of Wonderstorm, Netflix Originals

2. There’s Awesome Representation

TDP has a wonderful arrange of characters. The royal family includes a black king, an Asian equivalent Katolian queen, and their two sons (both of whom are biracial). A neighboring kingdom has a young girl as their queen. Her parents were a loving, interracial lesbian couple.

Outside of royalty, there are still a whole lot of super cool characters. There are a bunch of elves that all look different and aren’t the typical tall-blonde-and-beautiful Tolkien type. My personal favorite is General Amaya, a deaf woman who, above all, has some of the most badass fight sequences in the show (who reminds me a lot of Toph, a blind girl who’s A:tLA’s resident badass).

When asked about the cast, Richmond gave this wonderful answer: “We knew from the beginning, we didn’t want the same type of fantasy tropes that had been done before. We wanted to hopefully reflect a wider diversity of characters. Not only that, but we wanted to reflect more of what, hopefully, people can see on the screen as themselves, or a reflection of a superhero version of themselves.”

THE DRAGON PRINCE amaya
General Amaya, best general ever. Courtesy of Wonderstorm, Netflix Originals

3. The Humor is Fantastic

Ehasz and Richmond know their comedy — it’s woven into the show perfectly. They know just when to add in a bit of humor to lighten a situation, or how to build up a scene for a genuinely good joke. Also, their sense of humor doesn’t rely on offending people. It’s just funny for the sake of being funny. Isn’t that what comedy should be all about?

To this day I still quote A:tLA for a quick laugh. “‘Can your science explain why it rains?’ ‘Yes! Yes, it can!'” “‘My first girlfriend turned into the moon.’ ‘That’s rough, buddy.'” Iconic.

That same brand of humor is easily found in TDP. There’s a scene where Viren calls Soren for an incredibly important meeting, and while Viren is talking about a really dark topic (i.e. murdering the princes) Soren is just… in the background, getting his squats in. I had to pause the show the first time I watched it because I was laughing too hard. Thank you, Ehasz and Richmond. You bring me so much joy.

THE DRAGON PRINCE
Don’t skip leg day. Courtesy of Wonderstorm, Netflix Originals

4. There’s Amazing Character Development

A:tLA spoiled its fans with great character development. Sokka went from a sexist jerk to a respectful, intelligent warrior. Zuko had the most memorable redemption arcs to come out of a children’s show. Azula? She had one of the best villain arcs ever, hands down. Her final scene was so satisfying yet so tragic at the same time.

In just two seasons, TDP already gave us nuanced characters to fall in love with. Let’s look at Prince Ezran. His arc is a lot like Aang’s in that he’s a young kid that has an enormous responsibility thrust on him. In their respective first seasons, both characters start out playful and outgoing. They each have a childish innocence about them. As each series progresses, though, the hero must mature as a result of circumstances they’re thrust into (Aang with facing the Firebird, Ezran with returning to rule his kingdom). They both have stark differences in themselves by the time the second seasons are over.

Innocence lost
A loss of innocence. Courtesy of Wonderstorm, Netflix Originals

5. It Tackles Heavy Topics in Ways Kids Can Understand

A:tLA taught me valuable lessons as a child. For example, with Zuko’s whole storyline we learn that it’s okay to leave abusive family members behind for people that actually care about you. Just because you’re related by blood doesn’t mean you owe them anything.

TDP stepped it up and gives children these same types of lessons. Callum struggles with the fact that he is only King Harrow’s stepson. Throughout the series he grows to accept that Harrow is his father figure, even if they aren’t related. Family relationships and the found family trope are important aspects of TDP — and it’s easy to see the source of influence.

THE DRAGON PRINCE
Father and son. Courtesy of Wonderstorm, Netflix Originals

All in All for THE DRAGON PRINCE

I love A:tLA as much as the next person — it was my favorite show growing up. There were strong plot lines, character arcs, and life lessons. You see many of these same aspects in TDP; clearly, it drew inspiration from its predecessor. It’s a show the whole family can watch. Yes, it is targeted towards children, but there’s enough depth to it that adults can enjoy it, too. If you need a new show to binge, THE DRAGON PRINCE is it.

2 Comments

  1. James

    April 12, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I agree to a certain extent. The political correctness sometimes goes too far in which you know they have tried very hard to meet the PC criteria and those restrictions are irritating.

    Reply

  2. Zack

    April 11, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Awesome article! I loved the original series!

    Reply

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