Blu-ray Review: Adventure Time – The Complete First Season [PG] by Bede Jermyn

AdTimeBluStarring (voices): Jeremy Shada, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenny, Hynden Walch, Olivia Olson, Polly Lou Livingston, Pendelton Ward.

The Show:
You know you might find this hard to believe but it’s absolutely true, until recently I’ve never heard of the TV animated show ADVENTURE TIME. I know that it has been on TV for a few years now and it’s extremely popular but I guess I never really took notice of it until recently (I guess you can say that I’ve been living under a rock or something). However I got my first taste of the show when my nephew Nate came to visit me here in Melbourne for a holiday. One day he was watching the show and he asked me if I could watch it with him. Being the good uncle that I am (and as well as being curious to see what it was like), I sat down with him and we watched together. Based on the very first episode that I saw, I honestly had no idea what the hell I was watching. But at the same time I also really dug it and I was definitely interested in watching more of it, so I decided to check out the entire first season on Blu-ray (which my friend and podcast co-host Super Marcey sent me to review). So what did I think of the show overall? Well, read on and find out!

The show follows a human boy named Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and his best friend Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio), a talking dog who has very unique special powers. They who both who live in a place called the Land of Ooo and go many adventures together, while at the same time battle the forces of evil.

Now having watched the first season (which consisted of 26 episodes), I can tell you right now that this show definitely has a brand new fan in me. I absolutely loved it! This is one of the most original and unique animated shows that I’ve seen in quite a while, it’s just absolutely fun and surprisingly hilarious. Seriously, I lost count over many times this show got a huge laugh out of me. I can definitely see why someone would perplexed by the show’s humour but I found that it was right up my alley in terms of the type of comedy I love. The humour is wacky, offbeat, surreal, silly and even dark at times, however at the same time it’s done in way that’s neither cynical or mean-spirited. It’s tricky combination to get right but ADVENTURE TIMES pulls it off perfectly. The humour appeals to both children and adults. You’ll get jokes that kids will like and as well as some clever subtle adult-oriented humour that grown ups like myself will find hysterical. Also I love the fact the deals tackles many different sub-genres, sometimes even in a single episode. It mixes together fantasy, sci-fi, adventure and even a little bit of horror (I knew this had me when the 1st episode I watched from this season, SLUMBER PARTY PANIC, dealt with zombies). Plus the show also finds a way to organically weave in a nice moral message in every episode without it ever feeling cheesy or heavy-handed.

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The show features some really fantastic set of characters that I couldn’t help but love. Our protagonists Finn and Jake are terrific and likable duo whose friendship and chemistry with each other is the key element that gives ADVENTURE TIME its heart. Both Jeremy Shada & John DiMaggio do a fantastic job as the voices of these two characters. Also the show has a great bunch of memorable supporting characters like the villainous Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny) Princess Bubblegum (voiced by Hynden Walch), Marceline the Vampire Queen (voiced by Olivia Olson), Tree Trunks (Polly Lou Livingston) and many more. However I have to admit that one of my favourite characters on the show is Lumpy Space Princess (who is voiced by the show’s creator Pendelton Ward). She is a hilarious character who steals every scene she is in and Ward does a great job with her (I like that he gives LSP a Valley Girl accent). Also the show’s 2D animation is beautifully and brilliantly done from top to bottom. There’s no-show out there at the moment that’s so uniquely animated as this one and I love that it’s all done in 2D (there’s not a single 3D animated shot at all in this show). Plus the scripts for each episode were all extremely well written and the music (both the scores and songs) are great.

Overall ADVENTURE TIME is a truly fantastic animated TV show that both children and adults will enjoyed. It won’t be for everyone but once you get into it, you’ll see how much of brilliant and one-of-a-kind show it is. Personally, I really can’t wait to check out the next couple of seasons. I have a really good feeling that this is going one of my all time favourite animated shows.

The Australian Blu-ray:
Audio/Video: The video is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen 1080p HD. The HD transfer is absolutely fantastic. The colour and depth that it gives to the show’s animation both remarkable and beautiful. The Audio is presented with Dolby Digital English 2.0, the subtitles are in English. The audio is terrific and I had no problems with it at all. It was top-notch and clear all round.

Extras:
*Audio Commentaries
*Behind The Scenes
*Behind The Behind The Scenes
*Adventure Time Music With Casey + Tim
*Animatics
*Music Video
*Finnemonium
*The Wand

There is a pretty solid bunch of special features on this Blu-ray. There are a couple of audio commentaries by the cast and crew that they did for 4 episodes from the season (TROUBLE IN LUMPY SPACE, PRISONERS IN LOVE, TREE TRUNKS and RICARDIO THE HEART GUY). They were all solid but I would have liked if they went a bit more in-depth with the episodes. However for what they are, they were still entertaining to listen to. The Behind The Scenes is interesting because it starts off with creator Pendelton Ward going around and documenting all the crew working in their offices but then eventually it takes a strange turn halfway through and becomes a wacky short film. I wish I could explain more but you would just have to see it for yourself.

The Behind The Behind The Scenes featurette gives us a look at the making of the Behind The Scenes featurette. I won’t spoil what happens but it’s pretty clear that it’s not real, but it’s still quite funny. Adventure Time With Casey + Tim is cool featurette  where music composers Casey James Basichis and Tim Kiefer talk about writing the show’s scores and their inspirations for each one. The Animatics section shows us how 4 episodes (SLUMBER PARTY PANIC, THE ENCHIRIDION!, DUNGEON and RAINY DAY DAYDREAM) looked in their original animatic form, each one also comes with an audio commentary by creator Pendelton Ward and other members of the crew. We also have a cool Music Video, a video called Finnemonium that features ADVENTURE TIME fans dressed up as their favourite characters and as well as a quick a 6 minute short episode called THE WAND.

Overall rating:
StarRating-05

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– Bede Jermyn

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