You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Legend of Korra

Certainly, this represents a bit more ambitious storytelling for older kids, and perhaps a few adults with the geek gene.

Voices: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Steve Blum, Lance Henriksen, Mindy Sterling, Daniel Dae Kim, Seychelle Gabriel, Eva Marie Saint.

Nickelodeon’s animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was not only a success for the network, but even gave rise to a live-action M. Night Shyamalan movie that advanced its name recognition, if not the cinematic art form. So a follow-up was inevitable, and the cable network obliges with “The Legend of Korra,” another slick-looking, anime-informed concept, filled with lots of portentous “You have a destiny” gobbledygook, but at least easy on the eyes. Certainly, this represents a bit more ambitious storytelling for older kids, and perhaps a few adults with the geek gene.

If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, it’s hard to know where to begin. Suffice to say the concept possesses a rich mythology, in a fantasy world populated in part by “benders,” who possess the ability to control elements like water, air and fire.

Each generation must have its own world-saving Avatar who can conquer all the elements, and for reasons that have as much to do with marketing as anything else, this time the mantle falls to Korra (voiced by Janet Varney), a 17-year-old girl, who is the reincarnation of the earlier Avatar, 70 years later.

Or something like that. Mostly, the intrigue in the half-hour pilot proves a trifle head-scratching, but there’s a fair amount of action and an impressive look, as Korra moves from her sheltered upbringing to Republic City, where the mixture of grimy and exotic trappings resemble something out of “Star Wars.”

“Korra” has so many moving parts and characters that are the principal villains are barely represented in the premiere, providing a mere hint of what’s to come. Yet creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino (reprising their partnership on the earlier show) have already demonstrated it’s possible to paint on Nickelodeon using a serialized canvas, featuring a world where spectacular creatures and extraordinary powers are the norm.

Oh, and by the way, this whole reincarnate-the-hero every generation idea? What a great way to keep stars from getting out of line. In fact, forget water, fire and air: Mastery over those kinds of unstable elements is a skill even many of Hollywood’s power brokers would no doubt envy.

Popular on Variety

The Legend of Korra

Nickelodeon, Sat. April 14, 11 a.m.

Production: Produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studios. Executive producers, Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino; co-executive producer, Joaquim Dos Santos; supervising producer, Ki Hyun Ryu; producer, Tim Yoon; directors, Dos Santos, Ryu; writers, DiMartino, Konietzko; storyboard supervisor, Ian B. Graham. 30 MIN.

Cast: Voices: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Steve Blum, Lance Henriksen, Mindy Sterling, Daniel Dae Kim, Seychelle Gabriel, Eva Marie Saint.

More TV

  • THE BACHELORETTE - "The Bachelorette: Season

    'The Bachelor': ABC Announces Leading Man For Season 24

    ABC has cast its next leading man for Season 24 of “The Bachelor.” Peter Weber has officially been named the upcoming “Bachelor.” The announcement was made Tuesday night on ABC’s “Bachelor In Paradise” reunion special. Weber appeared on Season 15 of “The Bachelorette” with Hannah Brown, ultimately becoming the second runner-up. He was a fan-favorite [...]

  • SEAL TEAM stars David Boreanaz (left),

    Showrunner John Glenn Exits 'SEAL Team' at CBS

    CBS is cutting ties with “SEAL Team” showrunner John Glenn, Variety has confirmed. Glenn joined the show for its second season, which premiered in October of last year. Christopher Chulack, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly also executive produced. “Regarding ‘SEAL Team,’ I am proud of the work we did – and greatly enjoyed having the chance to [...]

  • NBC Campaign Aims to Reclaim Brand

    NBC Launches Campaign to Reclaim Brand Ownership of Hit Comedies (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBC is preparing a new salvo in the streaming-era TV branding wars. As audiences increasingly watch shows like “The Good Place” and “Superstore” on other platforms, the Peacock network has launched a new campaign to remind them that these are, first and foremost, NBC shows. And they’re even enlisting a real-life peacock to convey the [...]

  • Shane Gillis

    'SNL' Sought Conservative Appeal With Shane Gillis Hire

    “Saturday Night Live” was looking to shake things up with the casting of Shane Gillis — and it did, albeit unintentionally. According to sources, the long-running NBC comedy show and series mastermind Lorne Michaels were actively looking to cast a comedian for its new season who would appeal to more conservative viewers. This was meant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Arsenio

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Arsenio Hall's Comedy Special Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for Arsenio Hall’s comedy special and a “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” duo (among others) will guest star on “Elena of Avalor.” CASTING “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” stars Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub, as well as Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana”), John Leguizamo (“When They See Us”), Taye Diggs (“All American”), Eugenio Derbez [...]

  • How 'Save Our Show' Campaigns Affect

    From 'The OA' to 'One Day at a Time': How 'Save Our Show' Campaigns Affect Network Interest

    Organized flash mobs and mounting billboards still may not save your favorite shows, as some fan campaigns are finding out. Following Netflix’s most recent decision to stand firm on its cancellation of “The OA,” the question remains, “what will save these shows?” When networks and streamers find that smaller favorites aren’t big cash cows, fans [...]

  • Afton WilliamsonABC All-Star Happy Hour, TCA

    Afton Williamson 'Rookie' Investigation: Studio Finds No 'Inappropriate' Workplace Behavior

    Updated: Former “The Rookie” star Afton Williamson has responded to Entertainment One’s (eOne) findings into her claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment and assault on the ABC series. In an Instagram post Tuesday night, Williamson lamented “the lengths that were taken to Deceive, Lie, and Cover Up the Truth” following eOne’s statement. “It’s Heartbreaking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content