All 3 seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender ranked from worst to best

Avatar: The Last Airbender is widely regarded as one of the greatest animated shows of all time, but which of its seasons is truly the best?

Avatar: The Last Airbender, photo courtesy Nickelodeon
Avatar: The Last Airbender, photo courtesy Nickelodeon /

The first thing that comes to everyone's mind when they think of Avatar: The Last Airbender is how much this show was the start of peak television in the world of animation.

At the time, the 2005 smash-hit series was something that was never before seen, as it dared everyone to take animation shows seriously because not all of them are as lighthearted and as goofy as they appear to be. And because of the creators' commitment to ensuring that they told a complex and powerful story instead of underestimating their audience, we received three amazing seasons of the most compelling tale of a hero named Aang and his friends who accompanied him on his perilous journey.

Without a doubt, each season of Avatar: The Last Airbender was full of love, laughter, and life, three things that were imperative to make sure this show was the greatest of all time. This is why it's such a struggle to say which season (or book) was the best. Nevertheless, there is a season that we believe will stand the test of time.

Without further ado, here are all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender ranked.

3. Book Two: Earth had its ups and downs

When we think of Book Two: Earth, also known as season 2, we remember so many wonderful episodes that Avatar: The Last Airbender could never do without.

For example, the seventh episode titled "Zuko Alone" gave us a peer into the more kind side of Prince Zuko, which was much-needed after the first season giving us the impression that he was a crude yet misguided teenager who was very hard to read. This episode helped prepare us mentally for the complex emotions we would feel when we came to terms with the fact that Zuko's sister, Azula, could've displayed kindness and understanding like him had it not been for their father, Fire Lord Ozai.

The same sentiment is felt when we think fondly about the episode before "Zuko Alone", also known as the episode where we first meet one of the strongest individuals and the badass of the entire show, Toph Beifong.

Without Toph, Aang wouldn't even be half as strong as he was in later episodes. But, outside of the show, without Toph, we wouldn't have gotten the much-needed representation of characters with disabilities and how having a disability doesn't necessarily make someone weak. Toph's formidable Earth-bending aided her to the point where her blindness, while in the way, didn't hinder her. Rather, Toph's blindness made her (and in turn, Aang) more innovative and creative with Earth-bending.

For "Zuko Alone" and "The Blind Bandit", we can't help but praise Book Two: Earth. Even so, compared to the other seasons, the sophomore season of Avatar: The Last Airbender falls flat in terms of memorable episodes and unforgettable moments that contributed to the show's uniqueness.

Grade: B+

2. Book One: Water was where it all began

Needless to say, without the first-ever season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, we wouldn't have this show in the first place.

However, being the inaugural season of what would turn into one of the most beloved animated franchises of all time isn't what sets this season apart from season 2. Instead, the first season, Book One: Water, is mostly cherished by us because of its many hair-raising episodes that we believe were culture resets.

Like many, the first episode that comes to mind when we remember season 1 is "Winter Solstice". This episode captivated us not only because of how it introduced to us the magical Spirit World but also because of how breathtakingly beautiful the episode was. We often forget how, at the time, this title's animation was an undeniable work of art, so this episode is a gentle reminder that the animators behind the title put their heart and soul into every aspect.

Another episode that set the tone for the rest of the season had to be "The Warriors of Kyoshi", as it taught us that even the well-intended characters who couldn't hurt a fly, still had a lot to learn and weren't above reproach.

When we first meet Sokka, he has a very skewed perspective on women. Some would even go so far as to call him a misogynist. Even so, when Aang and the crew arrive at Kiyoshi Island, a place inhabited by mostly women, Sokka quickly learns that he must change his thought patterns if he ever wants to evolve.

Thankfully, He evolves healthily and takes with him that women are just as strong and impressive as men, a conclusion that comes in handy when he eventually meets Toph.

Season 1 was an impressive collection of stunning episodes. However, similar to season 2, we just think that even the best episodes of the pilot season pale in comparison to the heavy-hitting episodes the final season had.

Grade: A-

1. Book Three: Fire is what made Avatar a masterpiece

As we've seen with countless other shows, the final season is usually where the ball stops rolling, leaving the show as an underwhelming mess that could've been better had it not been rushed. Fortunately for us, this couldn't be any further from the truth with season 3, better known to many as Book Three: Fire.

The stakes were higher than ever in the final season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, as this season was an accumulation of everything we've learned in the previous seasons, meaning Book Three needed to ensure that the end justified the means.

Appa's kidnapping, Zuko's character growth, Katara and Sokka's discovery of Aang in the ice, and countless other moments had to be proven as necessities for the final season, or else these moments would all be in vain and would be written off as nothing more than unnecessary.

Above all, the final season had to do the highly-anticipated battle between Aang and Fire Lord Ozai justice, as Aang's entire journey would be for naught if not for this very decisive battle that would tell whether humanity would live in prosperity for all or whether humanity would succumb to the overwhelming dictatorship of the Fire Nation.

The battle easily could've been a rushed fight that could've lasted all but two minutes. However, it was a well-thought, fleshed-out masterpiece that served as the perfect climax for the series.

However, what we loved most about Book Three: Fire is that it cemented to us that this show is a passionate product of love because the final moment of the series was of Aang and Katara finally expressing their love to one another.

Simply put, Avatar: The Last Airbender began and ended with love and is, therefore a story of love.

Grade: A++

Again, no matter how we feel about each season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the animated series is a force to be reckoned with, breaking numerous records and setting the pace for many of the animated titles we have with us today. Be sure to make it a point to re-experience this masterpiece at least once a year. Trust us, it'll be worth it!

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Avatar: The Last Airbender is now streaming on Netflix.