Avatar: The Last Airbender

TV review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Avatar: The Last Airbender TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Asian mysticism meets epic fiction in top-notch 'toon.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 132 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 353 reviews

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

Though the show is intended more to entertain than to educate, kids might learn something about martial arts traditions.

Positive Messages

More thoughtful than your average action cartoon, this show includes themes that touch on bigger-picture issues like spirituality and duty, as well as courage and integrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Aang is a happy-go-lucky hero who receives lots of help on his quest. The narrator is a female whose powers initially bring Aang back to life. Elders are present and generally revered, but the teenage males sometimes act irrationally and often aggressively.

Violence & Scariness

This is a martial arts-themed cartoon. Tribes are at war, though traditional Asian concepts of honor and respect are integrated into the action as well.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Avatar: The Last Airbender isn't a one-dimensional display of cartoon violence. The well-developed fantasy material includes a spiritual aspect that underlies much of the plot, making it an epic martial arts tale, rather than a bang-'em-up show. As long as you're OK with the show's level of action, it's a fine pick for grade-schoolers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJohn M April 9, 2008

One of the Best Shows on TV for Adults or Children

Excellent show that depicts children that act like real children who argue, make mistakes, and sometimes need turn to wise adults for guidance and advice. Deep... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 8-year-old Written bycvanorder April 9, 2008

Great family show

My husband and I enjoy the shows as much as our two boys, 6 and 8. The story and character develop are well above average for a children's show. There are... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybill jeff penel... January 30, 2020

OMG you need to watch this right now

This show is literally the best ever. completely appropriate. educational. AMAZI NG i watched this as a kid every single episode and it is just WOW WATCH IT ALR... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDarkMidnight December 26, 2010

Best. Series. Ever.

This show is just. plain. awesome. The story is deep and clever, they thought the whole thing through, it shows all of the charaters side of the story. The bend... Continue reading

What's the story?

In AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, imbalance has fallen on the people as a result of the Fire Nation having declared war on all of the other tribes. Harmony has fallen to the wayside, forcing the surviving tribes to scatter to the winds. All the while, a uniting force has been missing for a century's time, as war has been raging. This force is embodied by the Avatar -- a being who encompasses mastery and balance of all of the elements. This peaceful presence had been lost to the world -- that is, until he comes to life in the body of an 11-year-old boy named Aang. Though Aang is the last of his tribe, he possesses a happy-go-lucky nature, which immediately endears him to the siblings who have discovered him frozen in the ocean. They soon realize the extent of Aang's powers and accompany him on his quest to realize his past and his present place in the world.

Is it any good?

An epic fantasy about mythological tribes of people were represented by the elements water, earth, air, and fire, this may look like a video game send-up, but it's really closer to Japanese-style anime. Mixing magical fantasy and comedy, martial arts challenge sequences with Godzilla-style monsters, Avatar: The Last Airbender goes beyond the everyday action cartoon, bringing an interesting mix of Asian mysticism and epic fiction to the small screen. Take note -- adults may enjoy this one as much as the kids do.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the martial arts tradition, concepts of reincarnation, and elemental imbalance in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  • What would you want to come back as in another life? What skills does martial arts help teach?

  • How do the characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender demonstrate courage and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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