Avatar Korra says Goodbye to Television

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Angry fans unleashed a raging wave of tweets and tumblr posts in the panic of Avatar: The Legend of Korra‘s possible cancellation earlier today, following the announcement of NickAndMore that the show would be pulled off air from their semi-weekly schedule on Nickelodeon.

Don’t worry Korra, your approval ratings are higher than Nickelodeon’s.

10PercentAlive

LoK is currently in its third season, with the eighth episode to be aired tomorrow as the final Avatar episode to be shown on television. The remaining five episodes have since been pulled off from the lineup. This sudden goodbye is said to be attributed to low viewer ratings for the television show.

Avatar co-creator Bryan Konietzko posted on his tumblog and twitter to clarify that the show wasn’t exactly cancelled, per se, only “moving to digital”, whatever that means, and that further announcements will be provided during their San Diego Comic Con panel.

from Bryan's official tumblr
Korra not cancelled. Moving to Digital. We’ll talk at SDCC. Thanks for caring.” -B. Konietzko

Co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino adds,

Hang tight, Korra fans. There is 1 new episode this Friday at 8, then the rest of the season will be available from various sites online. We’ll let you know when we have more details. Thanks!

The season finale would have been the 100th episode produced under the Avatar cartoon franchise, comprising of 61 episodes from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and 26 episodes from LoK seasons 1 and 2 combined, coming up to a hundred when season 3 closes with its 13th episode. To add to the disappointment, that means there will be no hundred-episode marathon to be televised for Avatar.

Not even Zuko could help Nickelodeon regain their honor at this point

FatherLordZukoZ

The fans of Korra are calling on their fellow attendees to the SDCC to give co-creators Bryke a standing ovation at their panel. In fact, as the eighth episode of the season, and the last Avatar episode to be aired on TV will go on tomorrow, Friday, July 25, fans are calling to make it Bryke Appreciation Day, to fill social media such as tumblr and twitter with their favorite Avatar posts, as a sign of gratitude for the co-creators Konietzko and DiMartino, and the team who created the show.

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I don’t know about you guys, but SpongeBob seems happy about the news. He did escape the rumors of his cancellation, after all.

For many, Bryke’s announcement of the show’s migration to a digital platform was half-comforting, in the worry that the fourth season would be cancelled for good, since the announcement only covered the last five episodes, until DiMartino’s recent Facebook update:

(…) there is most definitely a Book 4. All the pre-production is done and Studio Mir is hard at work on the animation. So this was a disappointing development for sure but as long as you all are able to see the show in some capacity, I’m grateful. And honestly, you’re all watching it online anyway, right?

The last statement seems to be hinting at the greatest cause of Korra’s falling ratings. The 3rd season’s first episode garnered as much as 1.5million, and the fourth dropping to 1.1million. This may seem to be a problem, however, this digital migration Korra must undergo seems only natural for this day and age. According to ReQuest®, a quarterly telecommunication behavioral study conducted by TNS, more than a third (34%) of the 20,000 US Respondent Households have streamed online content. TNS study Connected Life also found that among some fifty thousand online respondents, almost half (48%) are engaged in some online activity, whether social media or shopping, simultaneously while watching television at night.

 It is easy to infer that a large chunk of the viewers are fans of ATLA, which started airing from about nine years ago. The generally older audience would entail busier lifestyles in comparison to children, making online streaming a better option for them, as it gives them not only control of time, but the ability to access content on-the-go via mobile devices. Additionally, as the Avatar fanbase has expanded globally, non-US fans would opt to watch the videos online and in real-time, rather than wait for months until their local Nickelodeon channels would be up-to-date with the show.

The preferencial shift from television-to-digital sounds troubling for Korra fans, but for Nickelodeon to take the first step now, preemptive to the drastic shift, allows the network to solidify their base on the online market. If Nick’s move to put Korra online deems itself successful, then it would allow for a new venue for future show creators.

But that is for the future. And today, the impact of the loss of a female, Person of Color protagonist on a non-romance-centered television show means more for some fans. As korratea writes:

korra not being on tv means there’s THAT many more little brown girls who aren’t going to see themselves represented in the tv shows they watch and that fucking sucks

I sympathize, being a brown little girl that once looked up to Katara, knowing her as probably the only character I knew I could dress up as. (Princess Jasmine, Pocahontas, but they’re too pretty.)

Well, let’s just hope those little brown girls have high speed internet where they are. For now, all we can do is pray.

Our Lady of Weightlessness, guide us through these troubling times.
Our Lady of Weightlessness, guide us through these troubling times.

Are you as affected as we are by this loss? Do you think Nick’s move to digital is a good idea, or a form of surrender?

Updates will follow as soon as announcements are made at SDCC.

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