I’ve been generally absent from the fandom crowd for some time now, mostly due to the lack of news and partly because of my personal schedule.
Now, as I jump back into The Legend of Korra offseason world, I find myself thrust into a “dying” fandom and an alarming amount of negativity to which I was ignorant prior.
I read through Keval’s article analyzing the current status of The Legend of Korra’s fan base with a distressed, echoing call from the distant back of my mind. This call is the one measure I believe many loyal fans of the series have overlooked since the airing of Book 2: The Legend of Korra’s standard of quality.
I do NOT wish to fuel the fire of negativity, so please don’t take my article as a lecture, and instead perceive it as an assertion of opinion.
So, what do I mean by The Legend of Korra’s standard of quality? The quality standard is the degree of success we the fans expect our favorite TV shows to reach with every episode. If an episode is below the standard we set, then we will be disappointed by the content. However, if the episode ranks above the standard of quality, we will be surprised and extra excited by its content. Personally, my standard of quality for both The Legend of Korra and Avatar: The Last Airbender is at about a 9 on a scale of 10 (which is very high for a TV show), and so if an episode ranks below a 9, I’ll be a little let down (depending on how far below the standard it is), and if it ranks above a 9, I’ll be ecstatic.
I often find that people misinterpret, at least in structured criticism (more than just watching something and deciding if it’s good or bad – Ex: explaining why something is good or bad with details), the actual quality of an episode because they are strictly focused on how the material did or didn’t meet or exceed their expectations. I’m going to use one of my past reviews as an example, so those critics of mine who I am referring to, don’t feel offended. After I reviewed the episode “Civil Wars: Part 1,” the third episode of Book 2, I was struck with immediate backlash from fellow fans who felt my rating was totally inaccurate. I gave the episode an 8, which is noticeably below the standard of quality I have for the show, and community members automatically assumed that I hated the episode when clearly, on a non-standardized scale, it still ranked at an 80%.
I try my best to designate an appropriate number rating for each episode I review based on my experience as a fan (the standard of quality) and as a respecting television enthusiast, and in my eyes, that is a completely fair method for assessing The Legend of Korra. In an ideal community, every individual viewer would abide by these principles of opinion as it prevents one from becoming one-sided, but obviously such cannot be the case. There will always be a number of commenters who fail to communicate their true opinions, and as a result, provide defective commentary that negatively influences other fans. For example, all too often I talk to fans who particularly dislike an aspect of a show (or movie for that matter) who dwell on that fault until the problem they have with it, while noteworthy, grows to affect their opinion of the work as a whole. Of course, some issues can be severely critical to success, but I’m specifically focusing on the ones that are incapable of damaging the entire compilation of material, yet are exaggerated to be so.
Unfortunately, people harshly criticizing The Legend of Korra for faults that weren’t quite as crippling to Book 2’s success as initially proposed, became a persistent theme amongst the fandom. A rewind in time to the lengthy Book 1-Book 2 offseason exemplifies a great deal of building anticipation for a season which many fans had faith would be a major improvement over Book 1. When Book 2 premiered, and as the season progressed, a lot of fans began to realize that the quality was approximately on par with Book 1, and thus it didn’t sustain the high expectations created in the midst of the previous offseason.
Flash forward to the present when the fandom is in “chaos…” Has true chaos encapsulated the land of Avatar, or has a skewed sense of negativity pierced the fandom? This is when we must remind ourselves of The Legend of Korra’s high standard of quality. Just how bad is a disappointing episode of The Legend of Korra? I can only answer based on what I personally consider to be below average, but I think it can be unanimously confirmed that an 8 out of 10 doesn’t equate to a “bad” episode, just a disappointing one.
No television production is perfect. We don’t resent tuning into our favorite TV shows each week just because of the issues that will inevitably become apparent. Overtime, we establish a standard of quality, and then we base our opinions on how closely the quality of content abides to that standard. In the case of The Legend of Korra, even the fans who “hated” aspects of the first and second season will eventually be watching the third and fourth seasons all the same (assuming of course that they actually like the series). Visiting this website is a sort of dedication requiring visitors to appreciate The Legend of Korra enough to track pertaining information.
There’s a difference between hating The Legend of Korra and being disappointed with it, and I truly hope the fans, who haven’t already, will begin to recognize the difference. Nobody who keeps up with the show hates it, otherwise, why would they keep up with it? This mental disconnect may be the source of the chaos which ravishes the state of the fandom, and if it is, then it is crucial that we all consider the standard of quality we maintain for the series currently.
I hope we all can mature before we squander Book 3 for ourselves.