Created by Pendleton Ward, Adventure Time is an animated fantasy filled with great imagination and humor that airs on the Cartoon Network, currently in its fifth season. Set in the Land of Ooo more than thousand years in the future after the Great Mushroom War, the series presents the audacious adventures of a 13-year-old human boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his best friend Jake (John DiMaggio), a dog with the ability to shapeshift. Among their pals are Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch), who is made out of bubblegum; Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson); and their roommate BMO (Niki Yang), the living game console. A frequent nemesis is The Ice King (Tom Kenny), who becomes more sympathetic as more of his story is revealed.
This season features quite a number of guest stars. Henry Rollins and Laura Silverman are featured in “Her Parents” with the “her” being Jake’s girlfriend Lady Rainicorn. Paul Reubens is the Gnome Ruler in “Power Animal”. Michael J. Anderson, Miguel Ferrer, Biz Markie, Stephen Root, Andy Samberg, Kristen Schaal, and Peter Stormare also make appearances. The most notable may be Ron Perlman as the Lich, who becomes a major villain in later seasons after his brief appearance when he escapes his amber prison with the help of an unwitting and unlikely character.
While some of these episodes have been made available on previous releases, The Complete Second Season contains all 26 eleven-minute episodes that ran from October 11, 2010 to May 2, 2011. The colorful animation is mostly hand drawn, but “Guardians of Sunshine” was rendered in 3-D to create the appearance of an 8-bit game when Finn and Jake enter a video-game world.
The bonus features are surprisingly underwhelming in terms of creativity in contrast to the show. Each episode has a commentary with Ward and different members of his creative team. The freewheeling nature of their sessions result in the creation of a code ward (“orange juice”) when the discussion veers from all-ages material and edits of ukulele-playing to cover parts deemed unacceptable. It’s a little too chaotic, but some may enjoy them. Even less interesting is “The Crew of Adventure Time, Interviewed by Pendleton Ward” (6 min). After Ward interviews a few members of the crew, they are shown a video on a monitor. The viewer can only hear the video and watch their expressions.
Adventure Time is currently one of the best shows on television and The Complete Second Season should be a welcome addition to the collection of any fan of animation.