‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’

Avatar: The Last Airbender is a 2005 animated series that’s made in the style of an anime. It features a kid named Aang, who is the Avatar of his world. The Avatar can bend all four elements (fire, water, earth, and air), and is destined to face the Fire Lord to end the war between nations.

I can honestly say that this show is one of the best animated series I have ever seen.

First, let’s get one thing straight: this is not a kid’s show.

The art style might make that a little hard to understand, but after watching it I can say that anyone, no matter their age, can find enjoyment from this show. There are no jokes that one particular generation wouldn’t understand because it takes place in a fictional world.

It also isn’t immature. Some of the lessons they learn throughout the show might be specifically designed to teach kids things, but they’re never as stupid as “sharing is caring” or whatever else you would see on Sesame Street.

The characters in Avatar are probably my favorite part of the show. Each one is unique, and the cast of characters they meet throughout the show is so diverse there is someone you can find yourself in.

Aang is the Avatar, so holds a lot of responsibility on his shoulder, especially with the guilt of leaving his tribe 100 years before the story starts.

Katara wants to be a water bender to avenge her mother, but feels she’s not good enough after seeing Aang water bend so easily.

Sokka, Katara’s brother, doesn’t know how to bend, and often feels out of place in the group, and makes up for it with jokes and humor.

That’s just the main cast; almost every side character introduced has some sort of character development. Even Prince Zuko, one of the main villains of the series, has one of the most relatable stories, and his character arc is amazing.

The world is also amazing. Everyone is split into four tribes, either: water, fire, earth, or air. Each tribe can bend that particular element, so water tribe people can make water float and splash out in their opponents faces.

The way they bend is through martial arts, and they even had a martial arts and cultural advisor present when making this show, so every movement in the show looks authentic. Bending in their world is used in a natural way, like earth benders making trains that are powered by earth bending, and water benders living in a Venice-style landscape because they can control their boats with water bending. This makes the world seem real because they are simply doing what people do when given the opportunity to do something.

Some things I don’t like about the show is its pacing. Season 1 is pretty slow and has a number of filler episodes as they travel north. However, the show is written well enough so that it doesn’t get boring. In fact, many of the characters in these filler episodes come back later in the show, so I wouldn’t recommend skipping any of them on a first viewing. This problem is pretty much just in season 1; once you get into season 2, it starts to get really good.

My final rating for this show is a 10/10. 

Review of ‘Outer Banks’

As Netflix releases new shows and movies to watch regularly, one that has gained lots of attention since its release in April is Outer Banks. If you haven’t already watched it, or don’t really know if you should, this article will go into what it’s about and my personal review of the show along with its possible renewal for season two.

Outer Banks is a ten episode show released to Netflix on April 15, 2020. The show is based around four sixteen-year-olds that live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

John B, who is the protagonist among them, is looking for his father, who went missing nine months ago, and embarks on a whole new challenge of finding $400 million worth of missing gold. In this, he faces challenges with the rules of the island and the major separation between two different types of people, the rich group known as the “kooks” and the working class known as the “pogues.”

It mainly fits under the genres: action, drama, adventure, mystery, and I’d say a little comedy to lighten the mood.

This show has many aspects that contribute to my overall review. Production, storyline, characters, and overall execution are some of the main factors that make this show what it is.

Firstly, the production of the show is probably one of my favorite aspects of the entire series. After looking into the production and how they filmed it, almost all of the scenes that have natural elements were actually filmed outside utilizing the natural beauty of sunsets and the bodies of water in Charleston, South Carolina. This is really a game changer for the show and has been recognized by many people for the summer vibe that it gives off, something that would not have been captured if the scenes were filmed in front of a green screen and reliant on heavily edited clips. Of course, this made it harder for producers to have to consider the weather and conditions, but it paid off in the end.

What the whole show is based around, the storyline, was also very important for the show to be successful and get a bigger audience. As it turned out, the somewhat questionable plot had a lot of good points that may be unrealistic to expect in your own life but seemed to suit the imaginary lifestyle created in the show. It was also a fresh path that lots of shows may be hesitant to cover because it could easily turn out childish when involving a hunt for lost treasure, but this was not the case for this series. Because the plot was rather broad, it left lots of room for creative twists in this season and plenty more for a possible next season.

An aspect probably just as important as the actual storyline itself is the characters and actors that are involved with the show. Personally, I believe that the group of people they choose for all the different roles were pretty much perfect. All the actors seem to have no problem performing their designated role, which comes as a shock to some of the parts that may be harder to sell. The development of the characters is also something to note. Just after a couple of episodes, opinions of certain characters can shift and change very easily which leaves lots of questions at the end of the first season.

Lastly, the overall execution of the show. You can definitely tell that this has been thought out and put together very well by the producers, actors, cameramen, and editors. There are lots of details that make a big difference in the show, but one being all the thought put into it. In addition to that, this show was no do-it-yourself series filmed in someone’s backyard, as it seems they spared no expense to produce it with $50 million dollars invested only in season one.

Another positive thing about the show was some of the work done before it. In an article, it was said that the producers considered filming in Wilmington, North Carolina but chose not to after learning of the anti-LGBTQ bill that required people in the state to only use the public restroom that was consistent with their birth certificate. In disagreement with this bill, they decided to shoot outside of North Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

A couple of things I would say I disagree with includes its rating and description on the Netflix streaming service.

Firstly, I don’t think this show should be rated TV-MA because it never gets to be overly inappropriate or graphic. Besides some occasional swearing or kissing scenes, it never really escalates past that. Despite the mature language and actions within the show that are used for effect, this show’s rating should at least be TV-14.

Secondly, I would not recommend deciding to watch the show based on the description Netflix provides. Personally, I don’t believe it does it justice and I think that you should determine if the show is for you based on a review or just watching it.

So, the question is, would I recommend that you watch this show? Although I have lots of positive thoughts about it, I don’t think this is for everyone, as no show really is. If you like the idea of almost hour long episodes involving a good deal of action, mystery, and some romance then this show would be a good option for you. In the end, I would say that if you have any interest in watching it, just go for it and if it is not your cup of tea you don’t have to finish it, even though the ending has some of the best parts.

And for those of you who have already watched it, will there be a season two? As of now, there is no definite answer. Even though Netflix usually lets us know about a show renewing for another season about a month after it’s premiere, they have yet to make the call about Outer Banks. Even though it may be concerning to know there is no for sure answer, there is room to assume this beloved show will be back.

The fact that the show was successful would be one major reason they would renew it. Also, the producers of the show, Josh Pate, Jonas Pate, and Shannon Burke have said to multiple different sources that they planned for Outer Banks to be a four, or even five season show, which makes lots of sense after the season finale cliffhanger that left lots of questions unanswered. Not only that, but Netflix had told them to work on scripts before season one was even released, giving them a few months now. In addition to that, Chase Stokes, the actor of John B., posted a picture to his Instagram of his character’s signature button-up shirt and bandana around his neck with the caption saying “JB’s back.”

So, as we not-so-patiently wait for some clarification, remember that Netflix also may be holding off to confirm a season two to keep the audience interested. If they release a statement that they will be back for a season two when production is on its way, and they are closer to being able to release it, the second season will likely get more attention when it does release and more of the audience will still be around.

How the pandemic has affected movies

The coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of changes to daily life and how things are going. Stores started closing early and only letting a certain number of people into the store, some business closed entirely, and many people have started to work from home.

One of the other things that has changed has been movie production.

Production on lots of movies and TV shows has been halted due to it including large groups of people and it being hard to adhere to the safety guidelines: like staying six feet apart. Movie theaters have also closed.

Due to the theaters closing, many film studios have opted to release their movies instead on a streaming service to be able to rent. Movies typically cost twenty dollars to watch this way.

The price has caused some controversy as some people feel like twenty dollars is too much. This is because theater ticket prices for one person can be as low as five dollars, depending on where you’re going. Even an AMC ticket is usually only around fourteen dollars for a single person.

However, for a family with children, this price is extremely cheap. Some families would be paying double the price to go see a movie, plus with food and drinks it becomes even more expensive.

An at home theater experience ensures families can pay a way lower price to see a film, they can have cheaper microwave popcorn, and they can pause the movie if they need to.

This has proved to be beneficial for the movie companies too, as Trolls: World Tour made way more money than its projected profit.

Companies seem to be comfortable offering their movies this way, as at home theater rentals seem to become more and more common.

Not every movie can benefit from the pandemic. Many have had to halt production and change their release date. This can cause a shift in a company’s schedule for years. This can be seen with Marvel. They had every movie planned out for many years, so even having to push back one release date can affect all their movies. This can result in a major profit loss.

Movies like Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984, and Venom 2 have been pushed back months for their release. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is nearing it’s tenth anniversary and was going to be rereleased in theaters, but now it’s going to have wait.

Other movies like Scoob! and The Invisible Man have adjusted to the pandemic by releasing for a rental.

The pandemic has caused many things in our daily life to change. One thing is for sure though, movies will always be around and many studios are willing to adapt to change to put out their movies for viewing. Although production has halted on some projects, they will still be released.

‘Community’ review

By Oliver Kelly

Community is a 2009 sitcom available on Netflix that centers around a group of college students in a study group in community college. It’s quite funny, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes to laugh.

Community starts out as cliche as it gets. You have predictable character arcs, like the handsome jerk, the rebel, and the cooky old man, but through time, their character development becomes unique and interesting to watch. The quote on quote “handsome jerk,” a character called Jeff Winger, is a former lawyer who doesn’t care about anyone, but over the course of the show he slowly comes to care for the people around him.

This show was created by Dan Harmon, so naturally it is pretty wacky. Nothing is off the table for the students at Greendale Community College. Weird events happen all the time, and on multiple occasions the main characters play paintball on school grounds. There’s even a side plot about Troy Barnes, one of the main characters, deciding if he should attend the evil air conditioning repair school, which goes on and off for multiple seasons.

I think my favorite character would have to be Abed, whose dream is to make movies, and who spends all of his time making movie references and being weird. One of the running jokes of the series is how Abed pretends his entire life is a movie, so he does all sorts of fourth wall breaking and calls out setups for cliches.

However, this show is not without its flaws. It’s supposed to last four seasons because that’s how many years it takes to complete college, but for some reason it returns for two more simply because the writers thought it should be longer. They do this by making Jeff a law teacher after his lawyer business failed, which makes enough sense, but the last two seasons are a severe drop in quality. Trust me, if you want to watch this series, you are not missing anything if you just don’t watch the final two seasons. They are really not worth it.

My final rating for this show is an 8/10.

Phase Four of Marvel

By: Zhara Christopher

Ever since Endgame many Marvel fans have wondered what’s in store for Marvel. Lucky for us, Disney has provided us with a loose timeline for phase four.

In 2019, Disney released Disney+, a streaming service for all things Disney, National Geographic, Star Wars, Pixar, and of course Marvel.

During that time, Disney has released their plans for multiple Marvel TV series that will come out in the next three years. This will include:

  • The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, a mini-series bringing back Captain America: Civil War villain, Helmut Zemo. This will be released in fall 2020.
  • A Loki mini-series, which will pick up after the events of Endgame, coming out in 2021.
  • Scarlet Witch will also be getting a show called WandaVision where Wanda and Vision live in a typical classic sitcom where everything is not what it seems. This will be released sometime in 2020.
  • Next title is, Marvels What If… a show about the alternate universe of the MCU; coming in summer 2021.
  • Other titles with dates not conferenced are Hawkeye, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight.

On the movie side of Marvel, they have released many tiles of movies coming out in Phase Four.

To start is, Black Widow, a movie about Natasha Romanoff confronting her history of being a spy and working to fix broken relationships she left in the past. This will be released November 6, 2020, or a different date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Next year we will be seeing Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, our first leading Asian superhero in the MCU. This will be released May 7, 2021.

We will also see The Eternals, a new group of Marvel superheroes following the events of Avengers Endgame. It follows a secret race of aliens that have to step out of the shadows and defeat their enemies “The Deviants.” This will be released February 12, 2020.

In 2022, Thor Love and Thunder is scheduled. Few details have been released, but we know it will come out February 12th of that year. The second movie coming out in 2022 will be Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness. Again not many details about the movie itself, but it will be coming out on March 25.

For more information, please go to: https://www.ocolly.com/lifestyle/turner-s-take-marvel-studio-s-phase-thoughts-and-predictions/article_9583e8b0-b2e6-11e9-a8e2-bbde93a8e44c.html

‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ versus real life Ted Bundy

By: Yanyoua Xiong

In 2019, the film Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile came out about the famous serial killer from the 1970s, Ted Bundy. Ted Bundy was famous for killing young women he either seduced or lured in by playing inured. He was later convicted for several things which led to the death penalty. 

The film uses real life quotes and basically re-enacts Bundy’s whole life starting from when he gets caught the very first time for running a stop sign, twice. Obviously, there are details that can’t be thrown into the film, but it holds a lot of facts that were caught on camera.

Things like Bundy’s personal thoughts, his plans, and even his feelings were all put into the film. After my own personal research, I found that Bundy’s friends, attorneys, and prosecutors released recordings of Bundy explaining how and why he did things. They also released information about personal meetings they had with him that unfortunately couldn’t be recorded. The film captures these emotions well and it sometimes even feels like it’s truly Ted Bundy himself.

Something that interested me was during Bundy’s trials, women were stacked in the audience watching. They were scared, yet found an attraction to him. Every one of them watched his trials knowing he attacked only women, especially young women, yet they still went hoping to catch his attention.

Bundy’s attorney even noted that some women would even sneak her some notes and ask her to give them to Bundy. Bundy’s attorney wasn’t in the film but they put in the interviews of women that explained how they felt about Bundy. 

I personally enjoyed this movie even though there were some unsightly images, but it added to the realism of the film. I recommend this film to people who like thriller and mystery films. It was accurate and interesting, and really showcased Ted Bundy’s trials. 

Cast reunions in quarantine: How they are making an impact

There is no question that we are in unprecedented times. With the coronavirus taking the world by storm, who would have thought that reunions of our favorite TV shows and movies would be keeping us busy.

There is no question that the majority of the population has been spending a lot of time at home. Luckly, for most, streaming our favorite shows and movies has been keeping us relatively busy. 

Not only do we get to spend our days binge-watching all sorts of entertainment, but we also get to watch reunions of our favorite shows. Virtual reunions have brought together our favorite casts. All the way from Scandal, to The Office, to Austin & Ally, a variety of shows have reunited during these difficult times. Disney channel favorites, 90s dramas, classic comedies, and even recent shows (like Tiger King and Too Hot To Handle) all are reuniting virtually for fans.

As of April 30, TV Line reported that there have been more than 20 virtual cast reunions. 

Here are just a few of the reunions so far…

Chuck, 90210, Desperate Housewives, Difficult People, Entourage, Frasier, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friday Night Lights, Glee, Grimm, Hannah Montana, Jessie, The Last Man on Earth, Melrose Place, The Nanny, The Office, Outsourced, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, SCTV, Sonny with a Chance/So Random, Taxi, Twin Peaks, and Victorious.  

So, why reunite now? And what are they doing to help?

Many shows are reuniting now because they have the time on their hands. Sometimes with a popular show, it is hard to get the whole cast together due to busy schedules. Now, people have the free time to connect again.

Another reason shows are reuniting is because of a rise in popularity. With more free time, old shows are gaining a newfound popularity. This encourages a cast reunion that maybe wouldn’t have been wanted before.

As for what the reunions are doing to help people, the Parks and Recreation reunion is a great example of what reunions should be doing. During the Parks and Recreation reunion on April 30, they encouraged viewers to donate money to Feeding America. They dedicated the entire reunion to Feeding America as well.

Although not every reunion is dedicated to charity, all of them have been spreading well needed positivity. Reunions are also putting smiles on people’s faces and encouraging them to stay positive.

These reunions are a great reminder that one day, our world will be back to normal. 

Complaints sent to the FCC about ‘The Walking Dead’

Season 7’s villain, Negan, got many complaints. Image taken from: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/walking-dead-who-does-negan-940640

The Walking Dead has always been a show victim to jokes and complaints. Many people point out it’s many seasons, dumb characters, and awkward romance. The amount of people tuning in every week has been chopped by more than half.

Production of new episodes of The Walking Dead has been stopped due to the coronavirus, and recently the FCC decided to release its biggest complaints about the AMC show.

Almost all are about the violence, and many called for the show to be taken of the air. A few viewers even called it satanic.

Complaints about violence consisted of the idea that such gore does not belong on cable television. A Texas complaint said there is no need to show blood and cites Hitchcock’s Pyscho as a non-violent horror.

Lots of these violence complaints centered around season seven’s villain. He wields a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, and uses this as a weapon against people. One viewer had said the image of seeing the bat used had horrified them, and even days later they couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Another focus was a group of people in the show who wear zombie skin as a disguise. Ads were shown on different channels showing the people cutting and sewing the skin masks. The complaints had said that the ads were too graphic. One person had been “Watching Princess Diaries 2 for goodness sakes,” and couldn’t change the channel quick enough. Another was trying to watch the “wholesome, clean” Hallmark channel, but was subjected to the same commercial. Complaints like these span over many channels such as The Food Network and TV Land.

In the same vein as violence, people also said the show is satanic. This is due to the gore, language, and LGBTQ+ characters.

Complaints also centered around the swearing. One viewer didn’t understand why cuss words would be on a show for kids, despite the fact that it is a TV-14 rated show.

Another had said that the show pulled in people of all ages and should be more clean. Walking Dead’s rating has been under fire as well, due to people thinking the show is not age appropriate for teens, and it should be rated TV-MA instead.

It feels like most of the complaints are just due to personal taste. While you might think gore is horrible, another person enjoys the thrill and tension that it can come with.

At the end of the day, if you don’t like the show, you can always turn it off.

‘The Midnight Gospel’ review

The Midnight Gospel is a Netflix show that came out on April 20th. The show was directed and produced by Duncan Trussel and Pendleton Ward, the creators of Adventure Time. The show follows the journey of a guy named Clancy who goes to different worlds and records podcasts interviewing people from those worlds. These interviews are based on real life conversations Pendleton Ward and Duncan Trussel had with philosophers around the world.

Each episode dives into different topics from the legalization of marijuana to the modern use of witchcraft. On top of the oftentimes bizarre topics, the animation that goes alongside it is very confusing, but interesting and fun to watch. The style of animation is very similar to Adventure Time in that it’s very colorful and there’s a lot of organic movement. 

The eighth and final episode was my favorite. This episode is based off a 2013 interview with Duncan Trussel’s mom. At the time, she had metastatic breast cancer that had spread to her bone marrow. She died three weeks after the interview. The episode dives into death and what happens after you die. They also talk about going with the flow of life rather than fighting against it.

The way they use metaphors and analogies makes it easy to understand the deep they’re talking about. I also really like this episode because it makes you feel so many emotions at once, there are times when your mind tells you you’re supposed to be sad and dark, but you can’t help but be happy at times, and there are times when it feels like you’re supposed to be happy but you feel sad.

Overall, this show was very good. I think that I will have to watch it a couple more times to fully understand everything because there is so much information, but the visuals make it interesting enough that it will still be fun to watch. I highly recommend watching it.

2011 film ‘Contagion’ compared to COVID-19

In 2011, the film Contagion was released. The film is about a virus that, started in China, and spread rapidly throughout the world causing people to get sick and die.

This description is eerily close to the current 2020 pandemic that’s caused by COVID-19.

Starting off, both the viruses attack the respiratory system and have extremely close symptoms. According to cdc.gov, the COVID-19 symptoms are: cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell. 

In the film, Dr. Mears, a doctor from Minnesota, is given the job to investigate the virus but ends up catching the virus. Her symptoms were that she couldn’t breathe very well and had a tight chest. She was coughing a lot and she had fever along with chills. She didn’t go into more depth, but in the film, you can see other people that caught the virus shared the same symptoms and died usually by seizure.

Next, both viruses came from bats. There is no clear answer as to how COVID-19 started, but most scientists say, and believe, it started from a virus that bats carried and then transferred to someone from Wuhan, China. This then developed into something more dangerous that was passed onto other humans. 

In the film, a fruit had fallen from a bat’s mouth into a pig pen. The pig then ate the fruit and there, the virus started developing. The pig was then slaughtered and brought to a casino in Hong Kong, China where the cook touched the pig and didn’t stop to wash his hands before holding someone else’s.

The pandemic in the film and in reality both put the whole world in chaos and had extremely close similarities, but there were also things the film did differently. Beth Emhoff, the first case of the virus in the movie, went home to Minnesota and gave her family the virus. Her son passed shortly after she did, but we learned that her husband was immune. Currently there isn’t a known person that’s immune to the Coronavirus.

Also, in the film, people died within a day to 3 days of getting the virus, whereas COVID-19 seems to have a 2 week incubation period. People would get seizures and their mouths would start to foam as they die in the movie, but there hasn’t been any reports of seizures due to COVID-19.

Contagion and COVID-19 are extremely similar, but thankfully it’s not exactly the same. The film had it much worse, but the things leading up to the chaos were eerily close.