Category: TV

The Last Airbender: 101 & 102

Avatar: The Last Airbender first aired 14 years ago today. It unites audiences and themes that reverberate across the spectrums of young and old, critic and skeptic, and jovial and serious. It blends a unique array of serious issues, including imperialism, war, feminism, justice, power, physical disability, and subjective morality with lighter themes that explore family, loneliness, honor, and personal redemption. Ostensibly a children’s show, it maintains cultural relevance today due to its cross-appeal and for the way it evolved and matured with its audience, eventually spawning  a sequel series, Legend of Korra, that dealt with more complicated questions of self and morality. Although Legend of Korra has been the subject of much acclaim itself, the original series has been heralded as a key program in demonstrating the breadth and diversity within the greater Golden Age of Television and as one of the “greatest shows of all time.

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2019 Grammys Preview: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Will Cardi B break hip hop’s long loosing streak at the Grammys? (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NARAS)

As is the case with most live televised events these days, last year’s Grammys were met with a combination of disappointment and outrage. The disappointment came from the generally underwhelming nature of the night, which featured too many performances by artists no one really cared about (let’s just agree to never talk about that Sting and Shaggy collaboration ever again), and the outrage came from the reasons why certain artists didn’t perform, and who ended up winning the awards themselves. Bruno Mars swept Album, Song, and Record of the Year, shutting out more deserving candidates like Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z, and Lorde. The outrage was further exacerbated by the fact that those latter two artists weren’t even given a opportunity to perform. Jay Z apparently declined an invitation to do so, and Lorde backed out after they wouldn’t let her perform solo, and wanted to fold her into a Tom Petty tribute. Neil Portnow, the infinitely smug president of the Recording Academy, responded to the controversy surrounding Lorde’s absence and the dearth of televised awards going to female artists by calling on women to “step up,” comments that weren’t received warmly and may have lead to his decision to step down after his current contract expires.

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