Avatar: The Last Airbender (also known as Avatar:
The Legend of Aang in several countries) is an award-winning American
animated television series that currently airs on the Nickelodeon
Set in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental
manipulation, the series follows the adventures of the latest of a
long line of Avatars, Aang, and his friends in a quest to save the
world from the ruthless Fire Nation. The series is shown as a book
series, with each episode serving as a "chapter" and each individual
season as a "book."
Originally slated to begin airing November 2004, Avatar: The Last
Airbender debuted on TV on February 21, 2005. The show is also
available on DVD or for download at the iTunes Store and Xbox Live
Marketplace. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are the
creators and executive producers of the series along with Aaron Ehasz.
The show receives high ratings in the Nicktoons lineup, even outside
its intended 6-to-11-year-old demographic. Avatar: The Last Airbender
is popular with both audiences and critics, garnering 4.4 million
viewers on its best-rated showing.
The series' success prompted Nickelodeon to order second and third
seasons. Merchandise based on the series includes eleven DVD sets of
episodes, six-inch (15.34 cm) scale action figures, a trading card
game, two video games based on the first and second seasons, stuffed
animals distributed by Paramount Parks, and two Lego sets.
Avatar draws on four classical elements for its bending arts (rather
than the 5 Classical Chinese Elements): Water, Earth, Fire and Air.
Although each has its own variation, most ancient philosophies
incorporate these four elements in some way, including the classical
Hindu, Buddhist, Greek and Japanese elemental traditions.