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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > Animation > Role Playing Games > Adventure Time – The Complete First Season + The Complete Second Season (2010 – 2011/Warner Blu-ray Sets)

Adventure Time – The Complete First Season + The Complete Second Season (2010 – 2011/Warner Blu-ray Sets)


Picture: A-     Sound: B     Extras: B-/B     Episodes: B+


The long awaited Blu-ray release of Adventure Time: Seasons 1 & 2 (sold separately) has finally arrived!  The animated series that throws caution to the wind as it releases a barrage of creativity and unbridled humor on audiences.  Adventure Time is a series that any age can enjoy and it is due to the fact that creator Pendleton Ward utilizes a plethora of pop culture, video game, anime, and other references to propel the fantasy stories forward.  Though not embodying the gross out factors that series like Ren & Stimpy or Rocko’s Modern Life had; I believe Adventure Time to be reminiscent of that free spirited creativity that Nickelodeon pushed for in the early ‘90s.  This seemingly free spirited, yet cleverly precise/planned brand of animated humor makes Adventure Time one of the best and most innovative series on television today.


The heart and soul of Adventure Time plays like a game of Dungeons & Dragons, but again utilizes the plethora of other factors already mentioned.  The series most definitely uses an off-brand of humor and animation styling; never feeling restrained and in turn taking it to the next level.  I had only had the opportunity to view the series in pieces previously (having been released on volumized DVD sets); never whole heartedly appreciating (understanding?) the genius that is Adventure Time. What I understand now is that the series must be viewed as a whole.  This is not (too much) due to continuity, but rather because the viewer must gather the nuances of the characters and their world to value the developing relationships.   The series is truly an adventure.


These adventures follow Jake the Dog (John DiMaggio) and Finn (Jeremy Shada) the ‘Human.’  They live in The Land of Ooo with various kingdoms ruled by a variety of wacky princesses.  Together with Jake [who has the inexplicable ability to stretch…no not fetch], the 12 year old Finn looks for trouble and treasure helping anyone he can along the way; demonstrating his kind hearted, heroic nature.  He battles powerful foes and uses his ability to shape shift to his advantage.


The adventures and often time troubles that the duo gets into are odder than the animation itself.  As the 26 episodes of Season One and into the 26 episodes of Season Two, the quests get increasing peculiar and seemingly haphazard.  But again this is why the series is intriguing, what seems haphazard one moment is perfectly precise and as intended the next; leaving the viewer surprised and fully entertained.


I had thought the series (obviously) had taken place in the head of a young boy (or at least it seems implied) where adventure, treasure, princesses, and trouble are the most awesome things ever.  Now, after viewing the series straight through, however, I think the writers may be more creative than that and perhaps (just maybe) Adventure Time could be some kind of post apocalyptic world…but who knows?  Every episode has a good sense of heart, soul, and silliness with a creative animation style that holds your interest.


The episodes are only 11 minutes long, which might seem short, but in actuality is just right.  Enough time to tell the adventure tale, wrap it up, and move on to the next.  What the creators accomplish in those mere 11 minutes is impressive; catering to children, but at its core being much more mature and referential.  The series has a ton of dark undertones, sexually implicit moments, gross gags, pop culture awareness, and an ability to explain life like Sesame Street but on another level (wave length?).  So parents might worry that the series is TOO MATURE for their kids, not at all as the jokes intended for adults are so cleverly disguised it goes right over the youngsters’ heads.


Both seasons of the series are presented in a wonderful (near perfect) 1080p VC-1 encoded, MPEG-4, 1.78 X 1 widescreen.  The picture clarity is stunning, the colors are bright, and black levels are very nice.  There isn’t much detail and the outline of characters can be a bit rough, but both of these factors are intended and not criticisms of the Blu-ray transfer.  There are a few moments of horizontal banding, but nothing so overt that it becomes off-putting.  The sound is not as stellar as the visuals as it is only presented in a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo presentation.  The stereo comes through clearly in the front without issue with clear, concise dialogue/sound effects.  We must remember this is a children’s series, but I would have still loved a Surround track; especially with the host of absurdity that is going on, on screen.


Extras are nice and include the following:


Season One

·        Audio Commentaries  for four (4) episodes

·        2 Behind the Scenes Featurettes

o       Not very insightful, but both are VERY funny as they act as tongue in cheek looks into the creative process

·        Music Video

o       Again a odd take on the series as a live action music video is shot; still very amusing

·        The Wand

o       A short with Jake and Finn finding a wand (~2minutes long)

·        Finndemonium

o       Shows off some very nice fan art

·        Adventure Time Music with Casey and Tim

·        Animatics


Season Two

·         Commentaries on ALL 26 episodes

o        A huge upgrade that concurrently delivers hilarious moments and insight into the developing series

·         The Crew of Adventure Time Interviewed by Pendleton Ward

o        Again an absurd pseudo-interview process that has the crew displaying a variety of reactions to a mysterious video Pendleton is showing them


A brilliantly absurd series that will have audiences demanding more.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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