The Legend of Korra has been forced into obscurity by its parental unit - also known as Nickelodeon. It all started early this year, when season three (Book 3: Change) was aired prematurely in another market. From that moment on, it's almost been as if the executives at Nickelodeon wanted nothing more than to usher Korra to an early grave.
The past two seasons of Korra were marketed poorly, which eventually led to the series being taken off the air. Konietzko and DiMartino had to toe the company line, claiming that more people were watching online anyway, but really, how does that logic work? Imagine if HBO came out and said that due to the large amounts of fans watching Game of Thrones on their GO app, that the network has decided to remove the series from airing on cable. Simply put, that would never happen.
Would the head offices rather the show never existed? Perhaps that is too harsh a claim to make, but there' something going on within the studio that we will most likely never be privy to. Thankfully, some of that hidden knowledge was revealed to us in the form of a letter written to fans by series co-creator Bryan Konietzko.
In his letter, Konietzko speaks of budget cuts for season four and having to make a tough descision on whether to make a clip episode, or fire some of his staff. Even though this episode felt like a waste of time at such a crucial point in the season, Konietzko deserves to be applauded for valuing loyalty to his crew over the bottom line. Hollywood is a messy place, forcing even the best kinds of people to mire through the muck of studio politics. By releasing this letter, Konietzko drew back some of that corporate curtain, so fans would not be left in the dark. Three cheers for Bryan!
Here is an excerpt from Konietzko's tumbler post:
In a couple hours the eighth chapter of Korra Book 4 will be released online, and I suppose, if you are none the wiser, a few minutes into it you will feel duped and yell at your screen, “Hey! This is a crummy clips episode!” And that is (almost) exactly what it is––except we all worked really hard to make sure at the very least it isn’t crummy. I’m here to explain why we ended up having to do one.
Sometime around a year and a half ago we were similarly duped on a large scale. We got the news from the higher-ups that our Book 4 budget was getting slashed, almost to the tune of an entire episode’s budget. We had two options: 1) let go a significant number of crew members several weeks early, or 2) make a clips episode. We never considered the first option. We weren't going to do that to our crew, and even if we were callous enough to do so, we never would have been able to finish the season without them. But having grown up on TV in the ’80s and ’90s, we all dread clips episodes, where characters sit around saying, “Remember that time when…” and leftover footage is reheated for no one’s enjoyment.
For some, "Remembrances" will come as a let down, but there are moments worth mentioning before we completely write off this episode. Varrick, as he's done many times throughout this season, stole the show with his elaborate retelling of Bolin's story. The phone conversations between Zaheer, Unalaq, Vaatu, and Amon culminated into one of the funniest scenes in recent memory. In an episode forced by the network's hand, the writers still found a way to make us smile, and isn't that what this is all about - having fun?
Korra took a break this week, but rest assured, the final five episodes should be worth the wait. What are you looking forward to seeing in the coming weeks? Keep watching to see what happens next.
The Legend of Korra continues next Friday on various streaming services.