Few animated series are as beloved as Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, and everyone has their favourite moments from the story, including the show’s original cast members. Zach Tyler Eisen, the original voice actor for titular character Aang, has revealed his picks for the top episodes in the acclaimed 2005 TV series.
Set in a fantastical world full of elemental benders, Aang, the Avatar, must master all four elements and save the world from the militaristic Fire Nation. Running for three seasons, the show’s story has been universally praised as one of the best on TV, winning an Emmy award, multiple Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award throughout its 61 episode runt. Popular standouts in the series among the fandom include ‘The Blue Spirit’, ‘Sozin’s Comet’, and ‘The Storm’.
During an interview on the Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast, hosted by Eisen’s former Last Airbender co-star Dante Basco (Zuko) and Legend of Korra voice actor Janet Varney (Korra), the actor revealed his personal favourite episodes in the series. His top choice was ‘The King of Omashu,’ the fifth episode in the first season. In said episode, Aang is reunited with his old friend King Bumi, who reveals Aang’s destiny. It is here where Aang learns he must master all the elements and defeat Fire Lord Ozai in order to save the world. Other episodes that he mentions as favourites are, ‘The Tales of Ba Sing Se’ and ‘Zuko Alone’.
“I think that the most memorable to me, and I’ve said this before, is the King Bumi episode. I feel that’s kind of where I started to feel like I was hitting my stride as an actor like I started to understand the character,” Eisen said. “It was just a really fun episode. That being said, there are a few that also, throughout the rest of the series, that stuck with me.”
“One is ‘Zuko Alone,’ which I believe is the only episode that I’m not in, but Dante, you were incredible,” Eisen continued. “ Zuko’s character arc is amazing, and you were just so phenomenal in voicing him…Tales of Ba Sing Se, honestly…I also like the Guru Pathik stuff. I think it took the show in an interesting direction, added a lot of spirituality and other things that typically you don’t see in cartoons that are made for kids.”
Currently, Netflix has a live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender in the works, which is set to start production in November. Gordon Cormier (Gabby Duran and the Unsittables) will be taking over the part of Aang from Eisen, who, after the original animated series, is now working behind the camera. Only time will tell if the Netflix adaptation will deliver quality storytelling and striking episodes like its predecessor.