Earlier this week, a wind of panic blew over the Legend Of Korra fans when a rumour spread that the beloved show had been canceled. Soon after, a post on Bryan Konietzko’s tumblr reassured the fans: Korra, he said, had not been canceled. It had just been moved to digital release. A couple of days later, during the Korra panel at SDCC, Bryan Konietzko and his partner in crime Michael Dante Di Martino confirmed that the rest of Book 3 would only be released on the Nickelodeon website. Apparently, while the ratings on the main channel had been really bad, the number of views that the episodes had gotten online were astounding.
Wait. You mean that in the era where entire episodes of a show leak online before its official release, you have a better chance to get to a large audience on the internet?
Okay, let’s be serious for a moment. I am not against the release of The Legend Of Korra online. On the contrary, I think that it is a smart choice. All I’m saying is that there are some things to think about here. Notably, the reason why The Legend Of Korra didn’t do so well on air this season.
First of all, the first trailer I saw for Book 3 appeared online after months of almost complete silence. I follow Nickelodeon on Twitter and I do not remember reading much concerning the new season of The Legend of Korra. As far as I knew, Book 3 was going to get an end of summer/fall release, like Book 2. I actually had time to forget about it. You can just imagine my surprise when season 3 started three weeks after I saw the first « trailer » that leaked online. The only reason why I knew about the date of the season premiere is because I just happened to be on Twitter when Nickelodeon made an announcement. Then, on top of not advertising Book 3 correctly, Nickelodeon chose a very peculiar schedule for its release. It is not uncommon to kick off a season by airing two episodes in a row. However, airing two consecutive episodes per week seemed like an odd choice. The first thought that came to my mind was that Nickelodeon acted like they wanted to get rid of Korra as fast as possible.
At their SDCC panel, Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino explained that The Legend Of Korra had been moved to digital release both because the ratings were bad and because Nickelodeon apparently had trouble finding a place for the show in its schedule.
To be fair, The Legend Of Korra, despite having a lot of really good material, is a pretty uneven show. Plus, I can’t help but asking myself who it is for. Even if it is not always very good at it, it wants to be darker, more mature than Avatar: The Last Airbender. So, is the audience of Korra supposed to be a more adult version of the fans of its predecessor? If so, the problem with a lot of those people is that they’re not kids anymore. A lot of them, like me for example, are struggling young adults, often without a television or simply time to watch TV.
Now, I will admit that Nickelodeon’s downright negative attitude towards The Legend Of Korra is cringe-worthy. What they did is the equivalent of saying that a show with good writing and well-rounded characters, a show that’s a little more mature than SpongeBob and a little bit prettier than, well, most of what Nickelodeon has to offer right now, had no place on its main channel. The fact that they barely cared about giving a proper advertising campaign or a proper schedule for Book 3 makes me want to bloodbend the shit out of them. You know, if you can bloodbend non physical things. However, I am still glad that The Legend Of Korra is moving to digital.
First, the show has not been canceled! It is still time to show our support to Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. Guys, you rock. Also, maybe take your talent someplace else.
Second, I won’t have to feel bad for not watching Korra on TV anymore. Plus, it might give ideas to other studios about their shows. If they’re not sure that a show is going to work or if they don’t want to have to cancel it and anger fans, boom! Digital release. The studio is happy, the fans are happy, everybody is happy and I can cross an item off my list of reasons to go to therapy.
Third, I will insist that releasing shows directly on the internet is not a bad idea. We know that because we spend an awful lot of time watching stuff either on Netflix or on YouTube. It is probably a good strategy for Nickelodeon. They will still make money off the adds that will pollute our viewing and we will still get to see Korra punch things and fail at being wise.
The only thing that may be annoying on the long term is that if digital releases become the next big thing, we might start getting as many ads on the internet as we do on TV. Not that studios love their dough, but they kind of do.
In the mean time, I just want to see Jinora with a shaved head and tattoos everywhere. Team Jinora forever!
– Anais L