Sunday, May 26, 2013

RR Adventure Time

You know what time it is?

Name: Adventure Time: The Complete First Season
Created by Pendleton Ward
Original run 2010
Genre Post-apocalyptic fantasy/sci-fi animated series

And I used to think Cartoon Network didn't produce anything good anymore...

Series creator Pendleton Ward originally proposed an Adventure Time pilot for Nicktoons Network way back in January 2007. It never got made by Nickledeon, but actually manage to get a huge popularity since its release on the internet. Which brought back some attention to Ward's concept.

So when the chance presented itself, Ward was able to sell the now popular pitch to Cartoon Network executives.

And through the independent animation studio Frederator Studios, he was finally able to turn AT into a full series by March 2010.

In a way, Adventure Time is a return to the sort of shows CN used to produce in the mid to late 90s.

Hand drawn animation, interesting intelligent stories with a broad appeal, a show originally aimed at children on the surface yet like many of the older great Cartoon Network series very much self-aware and quite enjoyable to a large audience, kids and adults alike.

"Adventure Time with Finn and Jake" as it was originally known as.

Adventure Time follows the adventures of a 14 years old human boy who lives in a very strange and unique place known as the magical land of Ooo.

Finn the Human lives with his best bud/brother Jake the Dog. They usually like to hang out at their tree-house and play videogames. But these radical dudes are never afraid to kick some ass and take some names when there's a day that needs saving!

When they aren't protecting innocents and helping people, they can usually be found saving Princess Bubblegum from the mischievous Ice King.

The tone of the stories change from episode to episode. This series is able to blend silly humor with a light-sided dark nature of what the world of Ooo really is.

The entire series seems to be mostly inspire by fantasy roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons as well as retro video games. But that doesn't stop Adventure Time from playing with and exploring other genres as well as science-fiction tropes.

Before anything, AT is a fantastic creative idea with great motivated people behind it.

Most of the series' screenwriters are actually animators and occasionally songwriters/voice actors as well. This means they're quite dedicated to the world of Ooo and its inhabitants.

Adventure Time is certainly unique in the way it is perfectly fine playing with its bizarre humor once, quick fast paced and modern dialogues and then won't hesitate to throw it all away to become sort of what I like to call a "genre show".

Creator Pen Ward not only came up with a great idea for a series with Adventure Time, but also a fantastic playground for artists and writers alike. The land of Ooo is really an imaginative world.

With great visuals and characters that change from one location to another. From Bubblegum’s Candy Kingdom to the City of Thieves, you never stop to wander.

This cartoon series is also not on rest when it's about giving a life to all these colorful characters. On AT the cast actually records their sessions in group compared to other shows. Finn the Human/Jeremy Shada and Jake the Dog/veteran voice actor John DiMaggio (Bender on Futurama!) are the core that give the entire show its purpose. Their different voices and personality are at the heart of AT. They're joined by a great Hynden Walch as Princess Bubblegum and Olivia Olson as Marceline, and occasionally by writer/storyboard artist Niki Yang as Beemo. Pendleton Ward also does some additional voices and the awesome Lumpy Space Princess(!). This all-star main voice cast is rounded by the fantastic SpongeBob SquarePants himself, Tom Kenny as the Ice King!

The Ice King is truly favorite character on the show. He starts as this princess-capturing stereotypical villain that fails time and time again. But we grow sort of attached to this sad figure over the time. As if there's more to him than meets the eye... (and there is!)

Each episode attempts to surpass the previous ones, with new ideas or characters. Adding little bits of mytho whenever, never repeating the same formula twice.

The first Season is perfect to familiarize yourself with the show. While many of the better ideas and original directions for the series would come up and develop later on, these early episode are still fantastic. And the foundations upon which Adventure Time is built upon.

From Lumpy Space Princess' crisis of adolescence to that time Finn (and the Ice King) gave life to a robot he invented. And let's not forget the brilliant zombie invasion-first episode which even contained some nods to Army of Darkness. The show isn't afraid to throw in some existential questions here and there and what makes a hero "good".

There's a lot of singing and music is a big part of the show. Thankfully most if not all of the songs on Adventure Time are great and memorable. Jake loves music and plays violin. Finn has a sort of auto-tune voice going on. Even the Ice King plays drums and loves to sing once or twice! Not even counting all the other numerous musical characters such as Marcy.

It's all about creativity.

The series started seemingly all about the fantasy parody and riffs on D&D-type of games but has become its own thing.

The art looks great and is well detailed. It would only get better over the years (I'm thinking about the shadows particularly). The animation is perfect and smooth.

You often find yourself amaze by all the jokes, inside references and hidden details in the backgrounds.

All in all, it's a show about fun. Fun stories, fun characters having fun and the people behind it clearly having fun as well.

Overall, it's a fantastic original series! Possibly one of the best shows produced this past decade.

If you don't know it yet or have had some doubts about it, it's A Must Watch! Really! Don't miss out, you'll be missing a lot!

A great show than can be both hilarious and deep at the time. With great replay value, it only gets funnier every time.

On the surface it might look like a "kid's show", but it actually is easily the best scifi series on TV these days. AT is able to examine and play along deeper themes one episode and embrace its silliness with simpler goofy episodic stories the rest of the time. It's genre experiment at its best.

Adventure Time has a lot going for it. There seems to be a bigger picture thing resulting in some intense Season Finales every year, clues in the background, but the series leave those more complex captivating details for nerds of the show to figure things out. There's a lot of foreshadowing future storylines and whatnot.

The series would go on using guest voice artist for some minor important roles, although it's more common in the later years. But Season 1 gave us a fantastic George Takei in the role of Ricardio the heart guy.

Adventure Time has become a huge unexpected phenomenon. The show has been nominated for several Awards over its run, including a nomination for the Emmy's and a Golden Reel Awards it won in 2013. It still is wildly popular to this day and spawned lots of expanded material from various merchandising to comics, graphic novels, video games and even clothing!

I give it:
3 / 3 Felixes!

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