Bleh. Wow, was that ever a let down.
Like most of Avatar fandom, I had high hopes for Legend of Korra
. Loved the early episodes, but by mid way through, it was becoming hard to ignore the feeling that the writers had gone a little overboard in trimming out the superfluous filler material. The overall impression suggested nothing so much as the experience of watching a full ~26 episode season squeezed down to fit into a mere 12 parts, leaving an awful lot of crucial development of characters, setting and conflict abandoned on the cutting room floor. I'd hoped that if or when I got around to typing up some thoughts on the problem, I'd at least be able to temper it with comment to the effect of, "but hey, they still pulled it all together for an awesome finale!", but alas, the final episodes only compounded the problems a thousand fold. ( Keeping the part with the actual spoilers under the cut )
There are good ideas all through the show, and good characters - I liked Tenzin and Lyn especially - and some gorgeously animated fight scenes. But Korra's 'team' never really get to develop beyond being less-emo!Zuko, earthbending!Sokka and RomanticComplication, and their relationships don't go far beyond teen romance cliches. The chance to show the audience around Republic City through Korra's eyes is largely squandered - even the technology is introduced on such an ad-hoc basis that we had no idea the Surprise New Tech in the last episode was meant to be a surprise until someone told us. The question of exactly how much truth there is behind Amon's anti-bender propoganda is left entirely to the audience's imagination, and likewise the question of whether there was any deeper significance to why Korra took so long to master airbending. And with the final battle such a bust, I'm struggling to think of a single clear, significant victory Korra has been allowed to have since way back in episode 2.
Incidentally, was it just us, or was the voice acting from episode 10 onwards all sorta flat? Everything about these episodes felt rushed - like watching the first draft of what would have been a good story crammed into far too little space and rushed out the door to meet a deadline. I really don't think we'll be back for season 2.