From the time I was 9, to the time I was 13, my favorite show in the world was Avatar: The Last Airbender.
If you had put a gun to my head, or a million bucks in my hand, I wouldn’t have admitted it.
When I was a kid, cartoons were looked down on, seen as something only for small children. Transitioning from a kid to a tween usually means leaving behind beloved childhood interests as fast as possible. Your life becomes various ways of proving your adulthood and maturity, and cartoons usually don’t fit in with that. Because of that I found myself growing frustratingly in love with a series that kids my age were just starting to look down on. Of course, I had seen Teen Titans, Batman Beyond,JL and JLU, Spongebob, and Disney, all of which nurtured my early love for animation. But there were also a lot of shows out that talked down to kids, and cared less about the integrity of the stories because they were aimed at children. Because of this, a lot of people got it into their heads that: Cartoons= for kids, and for kids=bad writing.
Avatar proved all of that to be totally wrong. Here was this show that had kids around my age, growing up and changing the world, making mistakes and making up for those mistakes. It was funny, heartbreaking, poignant, and beautiful. I found myself obsessively watching and re-watching the show, all the while obsessively making sure nobody knew how much I loved it. ( I tried to keep it from my parents, but when I was 9, I think I was pretty transparent. I clearly remember practicing my airbending by sticking my hands out of open car windows, and practicing my waterbending with a hose or a pool in the summertime) I had a secret-keeper in the form of my little sister, and I swear we never got along better than when we were watching Avatar together.
Avatar totally changed the way I looked at cartoons, stories, and life in general. It was a huge part of my formative years, and definitely had a hand in me growing up.
I see Green Lantern: The Animated Series as being a successor to that excellence in animation.
GLTAS never condescends to children, and in the same vein never excludes them. It excites and delights, it teaches and it entertains. I’ve seen the eyes of the children I babysit light up the same way mine did when it comes on, just as eager as I was to see a new episode.
They laughed when Kilowog pranked Hal with Ch’p, they cheered when Hal fought back against Atrocitus,they gasped while Razer choked, and they grew to love Aya as she grew herself.
GLTAS is special. Not only is it well written and thought out, it’s beautiful to look at, and can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It isn’t just an excellent children’s cartoon, it’s an overall excellent show in general. It defies stereotypes; Ilana wears a hijab garment with no fuss or negative connotation, and Carol and Aya are not prizes to be won, but strong independent female characters with their own important narratives. Hal, Kilowog and Razer are great male role models, who behave in masculine and feminine ways, never question the power of their female peers, and each go through a journey and react to the world in their own unique way. Characters make mistakes and are allowed to grow, they fight on and hold onto hope.
This show is so, so beautiful, and watching made me feel like I was experiencing Avatar as a kid all over again. Just like back then, I always make sure I never miss an episode, and I love talking about it and thinking about the characters. And somewhere out there, I know there is a little girl or boy on the edge of their teens who is hesitant about watching a cartoon, and GLTAS is changing their lives. It’ll change them like it changed me, and they’ll leave the story with a new love and appreciation for stories and cartoons.
Kids and adults alike deserve a show like GLTAS. A show with excellent themes, character progression, with a gentle humor and clever dialogue.
This show takes people to new planets and shows them the beauty of a different world, and it stays grounded and shows the truth about how people love, and how messages and causes can be misguided. It has so much heart, and is worth every view it gets.
I really want to thank the creators, from the bottom of my heart, for making GLTAS. If it’s really goodbye, I couldn’t have asked for more from the show, and if it was up to me, it would run however long you guys needed it to. I really loved it, and I know a ton of fans, old and young agree with me. What you made was truly special, and proves to audiences yet again that cartoons can tell great stories, and that stories aimed at children can be enjoyed by everyone.
I know that I’ll never forget this show, and the way that it managed to tell such a beautiful story.
GLTAS means so much to me.