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Sipping with the Segarras - Avatar: The Last Airbender

Updated: Mar 15

Sipping with the Segarras is a podcast hosted by the married couple Jonathan and Stephanie Segarra. The podcast launched in 2023, Stephanie and Jonathan using the podcast as a dedicated time to dive into random topics outside of the mundane questions of the day-to-day, hoping to better connect with each other after the chaos of work and parenting. On February 26, 2024 they premiered the episode speaking about the newly released live action adaptation of the Avatar the Last Air Bender.

To start things off, on today's episode of Sipping with the Segarras, the couple drank Juggernaut. Juggernaut wine is a Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon brand, Stephanie joked she might've gotten the least fancy wine after saying she wanted to feel fancy for the episode by drinking wine. She admitted she bought it because it looked fierce. Jonathan felt it was very dry although Stephanie disagreed.

The topic of this episode's discussion was the first episode of the live action Avatar the Last Airbender, which is based on the Nickelodeon animated series sharing the same title. Stephanie and Jonathan are big fans of the original animated series. It was noted and demostrated that the two host were not fans of the first live action adaptation feature film The Last Airbender directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The two decided to limit the scope of this episode only on the first episode and their thoughts on it. They said they would reserve another episode to speak to the season as a whole once they finish. They broke this episode down into a few categories, I won't cover all of the just some pieces I feel are important and want to add my opinion to.

When it comes to the bending, the earth bending Jonathan was a fan of where Stephanie had her reservations. I will need to side with Stephanie and don't think she was knit peaky, earth bending is very cause and affect; stomp the floor and a piece of earth will move with the same power as your strike in what ever direction you wish. I didn't mind the earth bender scene just mainly the few times when he tries to control multiple rocks and its like he's controlling them with his mind not his movements. This is congruent with Stephanie's belief as she associated these parts to feeling like magic.

The hosts also speak on the characters and their personal hits and misses. One person they had somewhat of a disagreement was Aang where Stephanie felt you could get a kid to go in and be about fun. Jonathan felt like there should be more depth to the character which I agree, even in the beginning of the series Aang could be goofy but he was at the same time very worldly and knowledgable. You definitely want to hear Stephanie's thoughts on Gram Gram...and Jonathan's passion towards the depiction of Katara.

When talking about the fighting, Jonathan said he would've liked more ruthlessness from the fire nation and Stephanie disagreed. I am more inclined to agree with Jonathan and here is why; I feel like you as a storyteller should understand the difference in what medium you are telling your story. Cartoons can be more silly because of the versatility they can have, where as live action can be more dramatic because it's easier for people to display emotions and I think more ruthless fire nation soldiers would add to the drama. Also Stephanie correctly noted that the fire nation is not all bad but the issue is in book one they are depicted as the bad guys. We only learn later that its just the soldiers following orders that make them the antagonists. So I think you could get away with showing a more menacing fire nation soldier. I agree with Stephanie that the air temple scene seemed chaotic. She says she would've appreciated one-off fights amongst the larger conflict, I personally don't think it was needed at all. I think they should've spent that screen time adding to the story in other ways although I know why they chose it; to bring more action.

I myself am a huge fan of the Avatar series but unlike most fans I am an huge fan of the universe whereas a lot of fans cut short their support at Aang's journey. I appreciate the Legend of Korra Series, although yes the Last Airbender is much better in my opinion. As far as the Netflix Series I only saw the first episode and will follow Stephanie and Jonathan, reviewing the premiere and following up after I finish the season. So my opinion of the episode and series so far is that it was enjoyable with some questionable deviations from the animated series. I think that they are showing too much too early in the timeline of what happens such as fire lord Ozai who was almost not shown in the first book. Zuko was the big bad of the first book but the audience already knows one of the bigger reveals which lessens his character growth. I also think they could have done a better job a showing the difference in skill between the characters where Zuko clear out matches Sokka and Aang out matches Zuko. And Katara's water bending leaped in one encounter which unfortunately means they are probably going to fast track everyones abilities. There were a few more but I don't want to bore you with complaints because for what it was I don't think it was terrible, and definitely better than the M. Night Shyamalan movie.



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