Nickelodeon's relationship with Legend of Korra has been interesting, to say the least. The sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra started strong during its first season in 2012, which prompted Nickelodeon to order three more seasons of the show. Then, part-way through the show's third season and the day before its San Diego Comic-Con panel, Nick took the show off the air, instead premiering all remaining episodes of the series on Nick.com. Weeks after season three concluded, season four aired online.
Now we've come full circle. Nickelodeon announced today via its Facebook page that Legend of Korra will be returning to TV starting Friday when season four appears on the network for the first time. Hooray! So far no word if the remainder of season three will also make a television debut.
It's been a strange journey for Korra fans. Ratings for the show dwindled on cable, but online the show's presence was strong. That prompted Nick to premiere the show as an online exclusive, though many fans and even the showrunners themselves were at first confused by the sudden move.
"It's no secret that Avatar, especially Korra, is not typical Nickelodeon fare," show co-creator Bryan Konietzko said during the Legend of Korra panel at Comic-Con, shortly after news broke that the show was going off the air. "And so they've had kind of a hard time fitting it into their programming. But basically the Book 2 finale, the numbers were insane when they streamed it, when it went on Nick.com. It was the biggest event they had that year. And that show, digital downloads for that season was amazing. And, as you've seen, not so much on the channel. So it's just part of this shift over. It definitely caught us by surprise and it wasn't necessarily done in the smoothest way and that was upsetting to many of you and us as well."
Konietzko recently took to Tumblr to explain why the show's most recent episode, "Remembrances," was a clip show comprised almost exclusively of scenes from previous episodes. The reason for the recap? Nickelodeon slashed the show's budget.
"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," Konietzko says in the post. "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."
And now the show is back on TV proper, though only for a limited time. Season four marks the end of Legend of Korra, and to have a sequel series at this point seems unlikely. Enjoy it while it lasts.