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Adventure Time Seasons 1 & 2

    Ian Jane

  • Adventure Time Seasons 1 & 2

    Released by: Warner Brothers
    Released on: June 4, 2013.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Hydnen Walch, Tom Kenny
    Year: 2010-2011
    Purchase From Amazon - Season One - Season Two

    The Series:

    Cartoon Network have finally ceased with the compilation releases and now, at long last, the first two seasons of Adventure Time live again on home video on Blu-ray and in fantastic presentations. For those unfamiliar with the show, it follows the exploits of a fourteen year old boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his magical shape shifting dog Jake (John DiMaggio). Together these two best friends explore a strange world named Ooo, inhabited by no shortage of strange creatures ruled over by strange royalty types who command the various kingdoms that make up Ooo. Finn and Jake have a few friends around, chief amongst them Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), but so too do they have some nasty types that they need to watch out for, like the evil Ice King (Tom Kenny).

    Created by Pendleton Ward and very obviously inspired by old timey role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons (you can even see the similarity in the logo), there's a really interesting sense of 'anything can happen' in this series that makes it a lot of fun to watch. Finn and Jake… adventure. That's what they do. They travel around the world of Ooo the way an imaginative kid might and they look for interesting things and dangerous situations to indulge in. It's easy to see why it's as popular as it is because the format lends itself to creativity and fun, which is pretty much what makes the series work. The characters are cute and even endearing and the hand drawn animation has its own unique style that helps it to stand out but it's the free spirited sense of fun that ripples throughout the show that is its most infectious quality.

    Here are the episodes that you'll find on the Season One Blu-ray disc:

    Slumber Party Panic / Trouble In Lumpy Space / Prisoners Of Love / Tree Trunks / The Enchridion! / The Jiggler / Ricardio The Heart Guy / Business Time / My Two Favorite People / Memories Of Boom Boom Mountain / Wizard / Evicted! / City Of Thieves / The Witches Garden / What Is Life? Ocean Of Fear / When Wedding Bells Thaw / Dungeon / The Duke / Freak City / Donny / Henchman / Rainy Day Daydream / What Have You Done? / His Hero / Gut Grinder

    And here are the episodes that you'll find on the Season Two Blu-ray disc:

    It Came From The Nightosphere / The Eyes / Loyalty To The King / Blood Under The Sun / Storytelling / Slow Love / Power Animal / Crystals Have Power / The Other Tarts / To Cut A Woman's Hair / The Chamber Of Frozen Blades / Her Parents / The Pods / The Silent King / The Real You / Guardians Of Sunshine / Death In Bloom / Susan Strong / Mystery Train / Go With Me / Belly Of The Beat / The Limit / Video Makers / Mortal Folly / Mortal Recoil / Heat Signature

    The animation style employed in the show might seem rudimentary to some but it suits the tone of the storytelling rather well and simplistic or not, there's a lot of really colorful and creative character and background design art on display throughout any given episode to appreciate. It's hard not to like what you see, the whole thing looks like it was put together by a bunch of kids and is animated in that same style - limbs tend to be wonky looking and sometimes out of proportion, a lot of characters don't have noses, mouths are often times just lines that don't move a whole lot but there's such infectious energy and enthusiasm here that none of that is a detriment, instead it becomes part of the show's considerable charm.

    The stories are simple and often based on goofy fantasy type scenarios - saving a princess from a bad guy, exploring a new land, encountering mystical people and magical animals, that type of thing, the type of thing that kids used to and hopefully still do let play out in their minds while sitting down at a sketchpad to doodle. As the series plays out though, and there's a lot of it here to take in, the world and the characters that inhabit it start to seem less childish and goofy and more likeable, even the bad guys. There's a great sense of humor behind the whole thing and an almost unfathomable amount of geek culture hot spots to poke at that it soon becomes almost hypnotic. It's trippy, it's weird, it's hilarious and it's ridiculously cute.


    The VC-1 encoded 1080p high definition 1.78.1 widescreen transfers on these discs are clean and colorful and rather beautiful, actually, considering that there's about six hours of material per season stuffed onto the BD50 discs. Some minor compression artifacts can be spotted, but outside of that the encoding here is good. Lines are well defined and look nice and clean and the color reproduction is fantastic. Detail is as good as the original animation will allow for, this isn't a hyper realistic looking show at all so that's not so much a concern, and there aren't any problems with banding or edge enhancement to note. Yeah, this stuff looks awesome in HD. Dig it.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes for the episodes contained on this release are pretty good, but most fans out there had probably hoped for lossless audio. There's some fun channel separation that helps give some more life to the animated characters and situations rather well. No problems with any audible defects and the levels sound good. No alternate language options or subs are offered but English closed captioning is included.

    Extras for Season One:

    Four of the episodes in Season One include some audio commentaries that break down like so:

    Trouble in Lumpy Space - voice actors John DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Tom Kenny, and Pen Ward.
    Prisoners of Love - John DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Tom Kenny, and Pen Ward.
    Tree Trunks - Pendleton Ward's mom, voice actor Polly Lou Livingston
    Ricardio The Heart Guy - voice actors George Takei, Tom Kenny, Hyndon Walch, Jeremy Shada and Pendleton Ward.

    These are fun tracks, there's a good mix of humor and information here and we learn about all aspects of the production, from who inspired certain locations seen in the series to where different character inspirations came from and more. We hear about what it's like 'getting into character' and what the various participants think about each of the episodes that they're talking over. These are worth a listen.

    Moving on, we get almost fifty minutes of Animatics for the Slumber Party Panic, The Enchidirion!, The Dungeon, and Rainy Day Daydream episodes, each of which contains some fun commentary from Pendleton Ward, Adam Muto, Pat McHale, and Derek Drymon that provides some welcome context to the visual side of the material. As far as the featurettes go, we get a fun ten minute tour of the offices where Adventure Time is created courtesy of Pendleton and his steadicam phone camera, a funny two and a half minute behind the scenes bit, and a ten minute bit that covers how the music for the series is created.

    Rounding out the extras for season one are a two minute live action music video and a two minute animated short called The Wand which is a fun bit with a magic wand and the Ice King getting into some trouble. Menus and episode selection are also included.

    Extras for Season Two:

    For this second season? Commentary tracks on each and every one of the twenty six episodes on the disc that come from Pendleton and a few of the storyboard artists that he worked with. These are… odd. They're a lot of fun but there are spots where the tracks were edited for whatever reason, and they've opted to fill on those blank spots with ukulele music. So a discussion will be happening, then it'll drop out and you'll hear a ukulele, and then the ukulele will stop and the conversation will start up again. What was edited out we'll never know but better to have superfluous ukulele music than dead air. Outside of that we get six minutes worth of interviews with the creative team behind the series conducted by Ward, menus and episode selection.

    The Final Word:

    It might take you a few episodes to fall under its spell but once you do, Adventure Time proves to be one of the most charming and quirky shows on television these days. It's ridiculously creative and captures like other shows rarely how great the wild imagination so many of us lose as adults can really be - and most importantly, it's a whole lot of fun and ridiculously entertaining. The Blu-ray sets from Warner Brothers/Cartoon Network don't make the jump to lossless audio but the extras are fun and the transfers look great.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps from Season One!

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps from Season Two!

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