Adventure Time

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This article is about the 2010 animated TV series. For other uses, see Adventure Time (disambiguation).
Adventure Time
Adventure Time - Title card.png
Adventure Time title card featuring Finn and Jake.
Also known as Adventure Time with
Finn & Jake
Genre Adventure
Comedy-drama
Science-fantasy
Post-apocalyptic
Surreal humor
Created by Pendleton Ward
Directed by Larry Leichliter
Supervising Directors:
Adam Muto
Nate Cash
Elizabeth Ito
Andres Salaff
Art Director:
Nick Jennings
Creative director(s) Patrick McHale
Cole Sanchez
Adam Muto
Nate Cash
Voices of Jeremy Shada
John DiMaggio
Hynden Walch
Niki Yang
Tom Kenny
Olivia Olson
Martin Olson
Dee Bradley Baker
Pendleton Ward
Polly Lou Livingston
Jessica DiCicco
Maria Bamford
Opening theme "Adventure Time", performed by Pendleton Ward
Ending theme "The Island Song", performed by Ashley Eriksson
Composer(s) Casey James Basichis
Tim Kiefer
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 172 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Pendleton Ward
Fred Seibert
Derek Drymon (Season 1 only)
Adam Muto (co-executive producer)
For Cartoon Network Studios:
Brian A. Miller and Jennifer Pelphrey
For Cartoon Network:
Curtis Lelash, Rob Swartz (Season 1–2), and Rob Sorcher[1]
Producer(s) Kelly Crews
Pendleton Ward (co-producer, Season 1–2)
Supervising producers:
Thurop Van Orman
Adam Muto
Nick Jennings
Running time 6 minutes (pilot only)
11 minutes
Production company(s) Frederator Studios
Cartoon Network Studios
Broadcast
Original channel Cartoon Network
Nicktoons (pilot only)
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original run Pilot: January 2007
Official: April 5, 2010 (2010-04-05) – present
Chronology
Preceded by Random! Cartoons
Related shows Random! Cartoons
Bravest Warriors
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
Steven Universe
Clarence[nb 1]
External links
Website
Production website

Adventure Time (originally titled Adventure Time with Finn & Jake[7]) is an American animated television series created by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network. The series follows the adventures of Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada), a human boy, and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio), a dog with magical powers to change shape and grow and shrink at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. Along the way, they interact with the other main characters of the show: Princess Bubblegum (voiced by Hynden Walch), The Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny), and Marceline the Vampire Queen (voiced by Olivia Olson).

The series is based on a short produced for Nicktoons and Frederator Studios' animation incubator series Random! Cartoons. After the short became a viral hit on the Internet, Cartoon Network picked it up for a full-length series that previewed on March 11, 2010, and officially premiered on April 5, 2010. The series, which is heavily inspired by the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons as well as video games, is produced via hand-drawn animation. Episodes are created through the process of storyboarding, and a single episode takes roughly eight to nine months to complete, although whole episodes are worked on at the same time. The Adventure Time cast records their lines together in group recordings as opposed to different recording sessions with each voice actor, and the series also regularly employs guest actors and actresses for minor and recurring characters. Each Adventure Time episode is about eleven minutes in length; pairs of episodes are often telecast in order to fill a half-hour program time slot.

The series has completed five seasons, is currently on its sixth, and has been renewed for a seventh. Ever since its debut, Adventure Time has been a ratings success for Cartoon Network. As of March 2013, the show is viewed by approximately 2 to 3 million viewers per week. The show has received positive reviews from critics and has developed a strong following among teenagers and adults, many of whom are attracted due to the series' animation, stories and characters. Adventure Time has won two Annie Awards among twelve nominations, two Primetime Emmy Awards among seven nominations, a Motion Picture Sound Editors Award, and a British Academy Children's Award. The series has also been nominated for three Critics' Choice Television Awards, and a Sundance Film Festival Award, among others. Its comic book spin-off won an Eisner Award and two Harvey Awards. In addition, the series has also produced various clothing and merchandise, video games, comic books, and DVD compilations.

Premise

The series follows the adventures of Finn, a human boy, and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake, a dog with magical powers to change shape and grow and shrink at will. Ward describes Finn as a "fiery little kid with strong morals", while Jake is based on Bill Murray's character Tripper Harrison from Meatballs.[3] Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo. Along the way, they interact with the other main characters of the show: Princess Bubblegum (voiced by Hynden Walch), the sovereign of the Candy Kingdom; the Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny) a menacing but largely misunderstood wizard; and Marceline the Vampire Queen (voiced by Olivia Olson), a thousand-year old half-demon rock music enthusiast.[8]

Development

Concept and creation

A brown-haired, bearded man in a red button-down shirt and white pants holds a microphone while his other hand rests in his trouser pocket.
The show was created by Pendleton Ward.

According to series creator Pendleton Ward, the show's style was influenced both by his time attending California Institute of the Arts and by his experience working as a storyboard artist on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. In addition, he explained that he tries to include "beautiful" moments like those in Hayao Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro, in combinations with elements of subversive humor.[3] The show began as a single stand-alone animated short which ran for seven minutes. Ward created the short almost entirely by himself, and wrapped up production for the short in the spring of 2006.[9] It originally aired on Nicktoons Network as a stand-alone short in January 2007,[9] and was later re-aired as part of Frederator Studios' Random! Cartoons on December 7, 2008.[2][10] After its initial release, the short video became a viral hit on the internet.[11] Frederator Studios then pitched an Adventure Time series to Nicktoons Network, but the network passed on it twice.[12] The studio then approached Cartoon Network. The network said they would be willing to produce the series if Ward could prove that the series could be expanded into a series while maintaining elements from the original short.[13]

Ward quickly retooled the concept of the pilot; he wanted a potential series to be "fully realized", rather than be characterized by the "pre-school vibe" that permeated the original pilot.[11] One of the major changes from the pilot to the series was the new-found emphasis placed on the background art. Dan "Ghostshrimp" James, an artist and former Flapjack storyboardist, was tasked with designing the world of the show; reportedly, he was told by Ward to make the series look like it took "place in a 'Ghostshrimp World'".[11][14] He designed major locations, such as Finn and Jake's home, the Candy Kingdom, and the Ice Kingdom.[14] Ward, with help from his college friends Pat McHale and Adam Muto, turned in a rough storyboard that featured Finn and an "oblivious" Princess Bubblegum going on a spaghetti-supper date.[12] However, the network was not happy with this story, and asked for another. Ward then created an early storyboard for the episode "The Enchiridion!" which was his attempt to emulate the style of the original Nicktoons short. Cartoon Network approved the first season in September 2008, and "The Enchiridion!" became the first episode to enter into production.[12][13][15][16] The series was originally billed as Adventure Time with Finn and Jake.[7] This was because the producers were at first unsure if they could secure the rights to the simpler title Adventure Time. Despite these initial reservations, the end of the original was later dropped.[17]

Production

While many cartoons are based on script pitches to network executives, Cartoon Network allowed Adventure Time to "build their own teams organically" and communication through the use of storyboards and animatics.[18] Cartoon Network chief content officer Rob Sorcher explained that this novel approach was sanctioned because the company was dealing with "primarily visual people" and that by using storyboards the writers and artists could learn and grow "by actually doing the work."[18] Many of the series' artists have backgrounds in indie comics. Pendleton Ward refers to them as "really smart, smartypants people" who were responsible for inserting weirder and more spiritual ideas into the series during its third season.[19]

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Ward explained that the writing process for the show usually begins with the writers telling each other what they had done the past week in an attempt to find something humorous to build off of. He also said that, "a lot of the time, if we’re really stuck, we’ll start saying everything that comes to our mind, which is usually the worst stuff, and then someone else will think that’s terrible but it’ll give him a better idea and the ball just starts rolling like that."[20] Ward also revealed that a major inspiration for the series is the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Before the series aired, many of the writers were avid fans of the game. However, because of the busy schedule that comes with writing and coordinating a television series, they no longer had time to actively play the game. Ward explained that, because the writers were too busy, they would attempt to write stories that they would "want to be playing D&D with."[20] Sometimes, the series' writers and storyboard artists convene and play various writing games.[21] One example is called exquisite corpse, in which one writer starts a story on a sheet of paper, and the paper is folded and another writer tries to finish it.[21][22] Ward, however, noted that "the ideas are usually terrible".[22] Storyboard artist Cole Sanchez revealed that episodes' scripts are either created by expanding the good ideas that these writing games produce, or are based upon an idea that a storyboard artist proposes, in the hopes that it will develop into an episode.[21]

Adventure Time is a storyboard-driven series, meaning that the writers for the episodes use storyboard templates (pictured) to draft out both the dialogue, as well as the action in a scene.

After the writers pitch the stories, the ideas are compiled onto a "two-to-three" page outline that contain "the important beats".[23] The episodes are then passed to storyboard artists, who are given a week to "thumbnail a storyboard" and fill in the details, complete with action, dialogue, and jokes.[23][24] Ward and his creative directors then review the storyboard and make notes. The storyboard artists are then given another week to implement the notes and clean up the episode.[24] Storyboard writing and revisioning can take up to a month. Following the revisions, the voices for the episode are recorded and an animatic is compiled to get the timing of the episode down to the necessary 11 minutes. Prop, character, and background designers then create and clean up the designs. Following this, the animation process begins.[25][26] The episodes' design and coloring are done in Burbank, California. Animation is handled overseas in Korea, courtesy of Rough Draft Korea, a sister studio of Rought Draft Studios, Inc.[26][27] Actually animating an episode takes about three to five months.[25][26] During this time, retakes, music scoring, and sound design are completed.[25] Once the animation is finished, it is sent back to America where it is reviewed; during this time, the staff looks for mistakes in the animation, or "things that didn’t animate the way [the staff] intended".[26] These issues are then fixed in Korea and the episode is finished.[26] It takes about eight to nine months for a single episode to be created, although multiple episodes are worked on at the same time.[20][25][26] Almost all of the animation in Adventure Time is hand drawn.[28] There have been elements in episodes that were not hand-drawn, such as the second season entry "Guardians of Sunshine", which was partially rendered in 3-D to emulate a video game.[28] For this computer-generated segment, the series asked animator Ke Jiang for assistance; he single-handedly "modeled, rigged and animated" the sequence.[29] Furthermore, the fifth season episode "A Glitch is a Glitch" was written and directed by Irish filmmaker and writer David OReilly, and features his distinct 3-D animation.[30]

Ward described the show as a "dark comedy"; he said "dark comedies are my favorite, because I love that feeling—being happy and scared at the same time. It's my favorite way to feel—when I'm on the edge of my seat but I'm happy, that sense of conflicting emotions. And there's a lot of that in the show, I think."[31] Executive producer Fred Seibert compared the show's animation style to that of Felix the Cat and various Max Fleischer cartoons, but said that its world was also equally inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and video games.[32] Ward intends the show's world to have a certain physical logic instead of "cartoony slapstick". As a result, even though magic exists in the story, the show's writers try to create an internal consistency in how the characters interact with the world.[3][32] In the United States, the series is rated TV-PG,[33] and Ward has said that he does not want to push the show's PG rating. He explained, "I’ve never really even thought about the rating. [...] we don’t like stuff that’s overly gross. We like cute stuff and nice things".[24]

The episode "All Your Fault" was the last regular episode of the series to feature a "directed by" credit.[34] The subsequent episode, "Little Dude", only credited Adam Muto as supervising Director and Nick Jennings as art director.[35] Muto later explained that as of season five, no one was being credited solely as director.[36] Both Muto and Nate Cash had, in previous episodes, been credited as creative directors, but according to Muto, the series decided to phase the title out in favor of the title "supervising director".[36] "Bad Little Boy", the subsequent episode, however, still had a "directed by" credit.[37] This is due to the fact that the episode was produced before "Little Dude", but aired out of order.[38] Similarly, "A Glitch is a Glitch" also featured a "directed by" credit, but this is due to the fact that the episode's director, OReilly, was a guest animator and director for the series.[30] For the first half of the season, both Muto and Nate Cash took turns holding the supervising director credit on different episodes.[35][39] Starting with "Shh!", however, Elizabeth Ito, a former storyboard artist for the show in season one, returned to the series and was also credited as supervising director in place of Muto.[40] Muto in turn was promoted to supervising producer,[41] and later co-executive producer.[42]

Cast

The series employs the voice acting talents of John DiMaggio (left) and Jeremy Shada (right), who voice Jake and Finn, respectively.

The voice actors include voice acting veterans John DiMaggio (who portrays Jake the Dog), Tom Kenny (who plays the Ice King), and Hynden Walch (who voices Princess Bubblegum). In addition, Jeremy Shada portrays the voice of Finn the Human, and Olivia Olson portrays Marceline the Vampire Queen. Ward himself provides the voice for several minor characters, as well as Lumpy Space Princess. Former storyboard artist Niki Yang voices the sentient video game console BMO, as well as Jake's girlfriend, Lady Rainicorn.[43] Polly Lou Livingston, a friend of Pendleton Ward's mother, Bettie Ward, plays the voice of the small elephant Tree Trunks.[44][45] The Adventure Time cast records their lines together in group recordings as opposed to different recording sessions with each voice actor. This is to record more natural sounding dialogue among the characters. Hynden Walch compared these group recordings to "doing a play reading—a really, really out there play."[46] The series also regularly employs guest actors and actresses for minor and recurring characters.[47] The crew members cast people who they are interested in working with. In a panel, both Adam Muto and Kent Osborne noted that the Adventure Time crew has been attempting to cast the entire cast of both Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Office as various characters.[48]

Setting and mythology

The show is set in a fictional continent called the "Land of Ooo",[49] in a post-apocalyptic future about a thousand years after the "Great Mushroom War", essentially a nuclear holocaust. According to Ward, the show takes place "after the bombs have fallen and magic has come back into the world".[50] Before the series was fully developed, Ward's original intention was for the Land of Ooo to simply be "magical". After "Business Time" aired, in which an iceberg containing reanimated business men floats to the surface of a lake, the show suddenly became post-apocalyptic, and Ward notes that the production crew "just ran with it."[31] Ward later described the setting as "candyland on the surface and dark underneath".[18] Ward stated that he has never intended for the Mushroom War and the post-apocalyptic elements to be "hit over the head in the show".[51] In fact, he limited it to "cars buried underground in the background [and elements that do not] raise any eyebrows."[51] Ward has acknowledged that the post-apocalyptic elements of the series were influenced by the 1979 film Mad Max.[31] Kenny called the way the elements are worked into the plot "very fill-in-the-blanks", and DiMaggio noted that "it's been obvious the Land of Ooo has some issues".[51]

The series also has a mythology, or an overarching plot and backstory that is expanded upon in various episodes.[52][53] This backstory largely involves the Mushroom War, the origin of the series' principal antagonist the Lich, and the backstory of several of the series principal and recurring characters, such as the Ice King, Marceline, and Princess Bubblegum.[52][53][54] Ward has admitted that the details behind the Mushroom War and the series' dark mythology form "a story worthy telling", but that he feels that the show will "save it and continue to dance around how heavy the back-history of Ooo is."[55]

Title sequence and music

Originally, when Ward was developing the title sequences, the rough draft version consisted of quick shots and vignettes that were "just sort of crazy, nonsensical", and that alluded to the show's theme of quirky adventures.[24] These shots included "the characters [...] just punching random ghosts and monsters, jumping through anything and everything [and] there were a bunch of atomic bombs at the end of it".[24] Ward later called this version "really silly".[24] After he sent the draft to the network, they did not enjoy it; they wanted something more graphical, like the intro to The Brady Bunch. Ward, inspired by the intros to The Simpsons and Pee-wee's Playhouse developed a new intro that would feature a panning sweep of the Land of Ooo, all the while, a synthesizer note would slowly rise until the main theme enters. Ward's draft for this idea was handed off to layout animators and the sequence took shape. Notably, Pat McHale worked on the Ice King's shot and gave him a "high school book" smile, and the crew also struggled on getting Marceline's shadows correct.[24] After the panning sweep, the intro cuts to the theme song, with shots of Finn and Jake adventuring. For this part of the sequence, Ward was inspired by the "simple" aspects of the intro for the 2007 comedy film Superbad; when the theme mentions "Jake the Dog" and "Finn the Human", the characters names are displayed next to their heads, with only a solid color in the background.[24] The sequence was finalized right before the series aired.[24]

The theme song for the show, entitled "Adventure Time", is performed by Ward accompanied by a ukulele. The theme was originally used for the pilot episode, although Ward used guitar for the earlier version. Because the ukelele is a higher-pitched instrument, Ward's singing is noticeably in a higher register; he explains that he was "trying to match the ukelele".[24] The theme song used during the credits was originally a temp version. Ward explained, "I recorded the lyrics for the opening title in the animatics room where we have this little crummy microphone just so that we could add it to the titles and submit it to the network. Later, we tried re-recording it and I didn’t like it... I only liked the temp one!"[24] According to Ward, much of the music has "hiss and grit" because the show's original composer Casey James Basichis, reportedly "lives in a pirate ship he’s built inside of an apartment [and] you can hear floorboards squeak and lots of other weird sounds."[24] As the show progressed, Basichis's friend Tim Kiefer joined the show as an additional composer.[56] The two currently work together on the music.[57]

The series regularly features songs and musical numbers. Many of the cast members—such as Shada, Kenny, and Olson—sing their own songs.[46][58][59] Characters often express their emotions via song; examples of this include Marceline's "I'm Just Your Problem", as well as Finn's "All Gummed Up Inside".[60][61] Although the background music for the series is composed by Basichis and Kiefer, the songs sung by characters are often written by the storyboard artists.[62][63] For instance, the "Fry Song" was written by storyboard artist Rebecca Sugar, who storyboarded the song's parent episode "It Came from the Nightosphere". Reportedly, during the network pitch of the episode, Ward beatboxed and Sugar played ukelele and the two performed the "Fry Song". Sugar later called the experience "super terrifying", although the network did green-light the episode.[63] Frederator, Seibert's production company, would often post various demos and full versions of songs sung by the characters.[64][65]

The show rarely refers to popular music, although Johnny Cash's 1969 single "A Boy Named Sue" was originally supposed to be featured in the third season episode "Dad's Dungeon", the 1982 song "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" by Gary Portnoy—better known as the theme from the sitcom Cheers—played a pivotal role in the fifth season episode "Simon & Marcy", Tree Trunks sings a karaoke version of the song "(I'd Like to Get You on a) Slow Boat to China" in the fifth season episode "Bad Timing", and the Frank Zappa album Apostrophe (') makes an appearance in the same episode.[54][66][67][68] Furthermore, the promotional television ad for the sixth season premiere "Wake Up" and "Escape from the Citadel" featured the song "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin.[69]

Broadcast

Episodes

Each Adventure Time episode is about eleven minutes in length; pairs of episodes are often telecast in order to fill a half-hour program time slot.[70] The series has completed four seasons of twenty-six episodes each, a fifth season of 52 episodes, and is currently on its sixth season. The series previewed on March 11, 2010, and the first season officially premiered on April 5, 2010.[71] The season concluded on September 27 of the same year.[72] The second season premiered several weeks later, on October 11.[73] It concluded on May 2, 2011.[74] The third season premiered on July 11, 2011, and concluded on February 13, 2012.[75][76] Its fourth season ran from April 2, 2012 through October 22, 2012.[77][78] The show's fifth season ran from November 12, 2012 to March 17, 2014.[79] The series is currently airings its sixth season, which began on April 21, 2014.[80] On July 25, 2014, the series was renewed for a seventh season.[81] On March 30, 2013, the first season of Adventure Time was made available on the Netflix Instant Watch service for online streaming, and the second season was made available on March 30, 2014.[82][83] In addition, the first, second, and third seasons have been released on DVD and Blu-ray.[84][85][86]

Adventure Time series overview
Season Episodes Originally aired Season DVD release date Season Blu-ray release date
Season premiere Season finale Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Region A
Pilot January 2007 N/A
1 26 April 5, 2010 September 27, 2010 July 10, 2012[84] December 9, 2013[87] November 17, 2012[88] June 4, 2013[85]
2 26 October 11, 2010 May 9, 2011 June 4, 2013[85] TBA September 4, 2013[89] June 4, 2013[85]
3 26 July 11, 2011 February 13, 2012 February 25, 2014[86] TBA March 3, 2014[90] February 25, 2014[86]
4 26 April 2, 2012 October 22, 2012 October 7, 2014[91] TBA November 12, 2014[92] October 7, 2014[91]
5 52 November 12, 2012 March 17, 2014 TBA
6 TBA[93] April 21, 2014 TBA TBA
7 TBA TBA TBA TBA

International broadcast

Cartoon Network's affiliates also air the series in Australia and New Zealand,[94] India,[95] South Africa,[96] Southeast Asia,[97] and the United Kingdom and Ireland.[98]

Reception

Ratings

Since its debut, Adventure Time has been a ratings success for Cartoon Network. The show first premiered on April 5, 2010 and was watched by 2.5 million viewers.[99] The episode was a ratings smash; according to a press release sent out by Cartoon Network, the episode's timeslot saw triple digit percentage increases from the time period of the previous year. For instance, the entry was viewed by 1.661 million kids aged 2–11, which marked a 110 percent increase from the previous year. Furthermore, it was watched by 837,000 kids aged 9–14, which saw a 239 percent increase.[100] The second season premiere, "It Came From the Nightosphere", being watched by 2.001 million viewers, marked a decline from the first season premiere, but it marked an increase from the first season finale, which was watched by only 1.77 million viewers.[72][73][99] "It Came from the Nightospere" also marked gains when compared to the same timeslot a year prior; for instance, 732,000 kids aged 6–11 watched the episode, an increase by 35 percent when compared to the previous year.[101] As the show has gone on, its ratings have continued to grow; the third season debut was watched by a total of 2.686 million viewers, the fourth season premiere was watched by 2.655 million, the fifth season opener was watched by 3.435 million, and the sixth season debut was watched by 3.321 million.[77][102][103][104] In March 2013, it was reported that the show averages roughly 2 to 3 million viewers an episode.[2] According to the Nielsen ratings, the show consistently ranks first in its timeslot among boys aged 2 to 14.[18]

Critical reviews

"Adventure Time makes me wish I were a kid again, just so I could grow up to be as awesome as the kids who are currently watching Adventure Time will be."

D.F., Entertainment Weekly[105]

The show has received positive reviews from critics and has developed a strong following among children, teenagers, and adults alike; fans are drawn towards Adventure Time due "to the show’s silly humor, imaginative stories, and richly populated world."[20] Television critic Robert Lloyd, in an article for the LA Times, said that the series was a good companion piece "to the network's [then] currently airing Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack."[7] He complimented the setting and compared the show to the two previously mentioned series, noting that each take "place in a fantastical land peopled with strange, somewhat disturbing characters and has at its center a young male person or person-like thing making his way in that world with the help of unusual, not always reliable, mentors."[7] He went on to write that the show is "not unlike CN's earlier Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, about a boy and his imaginary friend, though darker and stranger and even less connected to the world as we know it."[7] Lloyd also compared it to "the sort of cartoons they made when cartoons themselves were young and delighted in bringing all things to rubbery life."[7]

Mike LeChevallier of Slate magazine awarded the third and fourth seasons of the show four stars out of five.[106][107] In a review of the third season, LeChevallier wrote that the series "scores relatively high marks for storytelling, artwork, music, voice acting, and realization with its neatly wrapped, 11-minute packages of multicolored awesomeness."[106] He further complimented the show because he felt that "it scarcely appears to be trying too hard to attract attention, yet it does just that".[106] He did note that "the short-form format leaves some emotional substance to be desired", although he argued that this was inevitable for a series with such short episodes.[106] In a review of season four LeChevallier positively complimented the show for "growing up" with its characters, and that "the show's dialogue is among the best of any current animated series."[107] He concluded that the series possesses "strikingly few faults".[107] The A.V. Club reviewer Zack Handlen summed Adventure Time up as "a terrific show, and it fits beautifully in that gray area between kid and adult entertainment in a way that manages to satisfy both a desire for sophisticated (i.e., weird) writing and plain old silliness."[108] He concluded that the show was "basically what would happen if you asked a bunch of 12-year-olds to make a cartoon, only it’s the best possible version of that, like if all the 12-year-olds were super geniuses and some of them were Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and the Marx Brothers."[108]

Robert Mclaughlin of Den of Geek wrote that Adventure Time "is the first cartoon in a long time that is pure imagination".[109] He heavily complimented the show for "its non-reliance on continually referencing pop culture [...] and the general outlook is positive and fun."[109] Eric Kohn of IndieWire said that the show "represents the progress of [cartoon] medium" in the current decade.[110] Kohn also enjoyed the way the show not only revels in "random, frequently adorable and effusive" aspects, but also "toys with an incredibly sad subtext".[110] Entertainment Weekly named Adventure Time number 20 on their The 25 Greatest Animated Series Ever list.[105][111] Later, in 2013, Entertainment Weekly reviewer Darren Franich awarded the series an "A" and called it "a hybrid sci-fi/fantasy/horror/musical/fairy tale, with echoes of Calvin and Hobbes, Hayao Miyazaki, Final Fantasy, Richard Linklater, Where the Wild Things Are, and the music video you made with your high school garage band."[112] Franich praised the series' "consistently inventive" plotlines and its "vivid landscape", as well as its continued maturation.[112] Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker praised the show, likening it to "World of Warcraft as recapped by Carl Jung", and applauding its unique approach to emotion, humor, and philosophy.[113]

Awards and nominations

Television

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2007 Annie Award Best Animated Short Subject[114] For "Adventure Time" short Nominated
2010 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[115] For "My Two Favorite People" Nominated
2011 Annie Award Best Animated Television Production for Children[116] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[115] For "It Came from the Nightosphere" Nominated
2012 Annie Award Best Animated Special Production[117] For "Thank You" Nominated
Best Storyboarding in a Television Production[117] Rebecca Sugar Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series[118] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[115] For "Too Young" Nominated
2013 Annie Award Best Animated Television Production For Children[119] For "Princess Cookie" Nominated
Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production[120] For "The Hard Easy" Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production[121] For "Goliad" Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production[121] For "Lady & Peebles" Nominated
Sundance Film Festival Animated Short Film[122] For "Thank You" Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue, and ADR Animation In Television[123] For "Card Wars" Won
Annecy International Animated Film Festival TV Series[124] For "Princess Cookie" Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series[125] Adventure Time Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Animated Series[126] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation[127] Andy Ristaino Won
Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[128] For "Simon & Marcy" Nominated
British Academy Children's Awards International[129] Adventure Time Won
2014 Annie Award Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production For Children’s Audience[130] Adventure Time Won
Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[131] Nick Jennings, et al. Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[130] Tom Kenny Won
Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[131] Paul Douglas Nominated
Hall of Game Awards Most Valuable Cartoon[132] Adventure Time Won
Kids Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[133] Adventure Time Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series[134] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation[135] Nick Jennings Won
Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[136] For "Be More" Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Animated Series[137] Adventure Time Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Colombia Favorite Animated Series[138] Adventure Time Pending
Kids' Choice Awards Mexico Favorite Animated Series[139] Adventure Time Pending

Comics

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Eisner Award Best Publication for Kids[140] Adventure Time comic Won
Harvey Award Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers[141] Adventure Time comic Won
Special Award for Humor in Comics[141] Ryan North Won
2014 Eisner Award Best Lettering[142] Britt Wilson Nominated

Related media

Comic books

On November 19, 2011, KaBOOM! Studios announced plans for an Adventure Time comic book series written by independent web comic creator Ryan North, noted for penning the series Dinosaur Comics.[143][144] The series launched February 8, 2012, with art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb.[145][146] After the success of the initial ongoing comic book line, several spin-off miniseries were launched. In April 2012, a six-issue miniseries written by Meredith Gran—who had created the series Octopus Pie—was announced; entitled Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens, it launched in July 2012 and features the characters of Marceline and Princess Bubblegum touring the Land of Ooo as a part of Marceline's rock band, the titular Scream Queens.[147] Another six-issue miniseries, Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake was launched in January 2013. This series, drawn by Adventure Time series character designer and storyboard revisionist Natasha Allegri, follows the gender-bent characters of Fionna the Human and Cake the Cat from the episode "Fionna and Cake".[148] Other spin-off comic series have been released, included Candy Capers, and Flip Side, each penned and illustrated by different writers and artists.[149][150]

A single 160 page graphic novel titled Adventure Time: Playing with Fire, written by Danielle Corsetto and illustrated by Zack Sterling was released in April 2013. It focused on recurring character Flame Princess, and it followed her on "her very first adventure" with Finn and Jake.[151] A sequel volume, entitled Pixel Princesses, was released on November 6, 2013.[152] In December of 2013, it was announced that Kate Leth would be writing a new graphic novel focusing on Marceline and Jake's adventure to the Nightosphere. It was released in March of 2014.[153]

Video games

A video game based on the series was initially announced by Pendleton Ward on his Twitter account.[154] The game, titled Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!, was developed by WayForward Technologies for Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS and was released by D3 Publisher on November 20, 2012.[155][156] Various video games have been released on the iOS App Store, including: the game Legends of Ooo: The Big Hollow Princess, Fionna Fights based on the fifth season gender-swapped episode "Bad Little Boy", Jumping Finn Turbo, Adventure Time – Rock Bandits, "Beemo – Adventure Time", and Ski Safari: Adventure Time.[157] In May 2013, it was announced that a new game will be releasing a new console game called Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! The game follows Finn and Jake as they strive "to save the Candy Kingdom by exploring the mysterious Secret Royal Dungeon deep below the Land of Ooo."[158] It was released in November 2013.[158] A new video game titled Finn & Jake's Quest was released on April 11, 2014, on Steam.[159] Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom is due November 2014 for Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.[160] Cartoon Network also released a MOBA game Adventure Time: Battle Party on Cartoonnetwork.com, June 23, 2014.[161]

Other merchandise

Jazwares has produced an assortment of 2-, 5-, 10-, and 20-inch licensed action figures for the series, which were launched in the fall of 2011.[162] "Grow Your Own" characters that expand more than 500 percent when immersed in water were also released.[162] Role playing toys have also be produced, with a 24-inch "Finn Sword" being released first.[162] Jazwares is also producing a cuddle pillow of Jake and Lumpy Space Princess. Splat toys of Jake and Lumpy Space Princess have been released as of spring 2012.[163] Since the dramatic series increase in popularity, many graphic t-shirts have been officially licensed through popular clothing retailers like Hot Topic, We Love Fine, and Threadless.[164][165][166] Pendleton Ward even hosted t-shirt designing contests on the latter two sites.[166][167] Other shirts can be purchased directly from Cartoon Network's store.[168] A tabletop card game called Card Wars, inspired by the season four episode of the same name, has also been released.[169]

Home media

Region 1
DVD title Season(s) Aspect ratio Episode count Total running time Release date(s)
My Two Favorite People[170] 1, 2 16:9 12 137 minutes September 27, 2011
It Came from the Nightosphere[111] 1, 2, 3 16:9 16 176 minutes March 6, 2012
The Complete First Season[84] 1 16:9 26 286 minutes July 10, 2012
Jake vs. Me-Mow[171] 1, 2, 3, 4 16:9 16 176 minutes October 2, 2012
Fionna and Cake[172] 2, 3, 4 16:9 16 176 minutes February 19, 2013
The Complete Second Season[85] 2 16:9 26 286 minutes June 4, 2013
Jake the Dad[173] 4, 5 16:9 16 176 minutes September 17, 2013
The Complete Third Season[86] 3 16:9 26 286 minutes February 25, 2014
The Suitor[174] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 16:9 16 176 minutes May 6, 2014
Princess Day[175] 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 16:9 16 176 minutes July 29, 2014
The Complete Fourth Season[91] 4 16:9 26 286 minutes October 7, 2014
Region 2
DVD title Season(s) Aspect ratio Episode count Total running time Release date(s)
Season 1: Volume 1[176] 1 16:9 10 (Episodes 1–10) 109 minutes October 5, 2011
Season 1: Volume 2[177] 1 16:9 8 (Episodes 11–18) 87 minutes October 5, 2011
Season 1: Volume 3[178] 1 16:9 8 (Episodes 19–26) 88 minutes October 5, 2011
The Complete First Season[87] 1 16:9 26 286 minutes December 9, 2013
Region A
Blu-ray title Season(s) Aspect ratio Episode count Total running time Release date(s)
The Complete First Season[85] 1 16:9 26 286 minutes June 4, 2013
The Complete Second Season[85] 2 16:9 26 286 minutes June 4, 2013
The Complete Third Season[86] 3 16:9 26 286 minutes February 25, 2014
The Complete Fourth Season[91] 4 16:9 26 286 minutes October 7, 2014

Notes

  1. ^ Adventure Time began as a pilot on Random! Cartoons.[2] Pendleton Ward and several crew members from Adventure Time worked as a storyboard artist for The Marvelous Adventures of Flapjack before creating the series.[3] Both Clarence and Steven Universe were created by former Adventure Time storyboard wrists, Skyler Page and Rebecca Sugar, respectively.[4][5] Finally, Bravest Warriors is another Ward-created series.[6]

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External links