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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 Comedy, fantasy, adventure[1]
Created by Pendleton Ward
Directed by Larry Leichliter
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
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 199 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Pendleton Ward
Fred Seibert
Adam Muto
Derek Drymon (Season 1 only)
Producer(s) Kelly Crews
Running time 6 minutes (pilot only)
11 minutes
Production company(s) Frederator Studios
Cartoon Network Studios
Original channel Cartoon Network
Nicktoons (pilot only)
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original release Pilot: January 11, 2007
Official: April 5, 2010 (2010-04-05) – present
Preceded by Random! Cartoons
External links
Production website

Adventure Time (originally titled Adventure Time with Finn & Jake[2]) 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 the magical power to change shape and size 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, 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 multiple 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 six seasons, and has also been renewed for a seventh season (which will air sometime in the latter half of 2015 and contain a special mini-series), as well as an eighth season. A feature-length film is also in the works.

Since its debut, Adventure Time has been a ratings success for Cartoon Network, with the highest-rated episodes scoring over 3 million viewers. The show has received positive reviews from critics and has developed a strong following among teenagers and adults. Among its many accolades, Adventure Time has won four Primetime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, two Annie Awards, two British Academy Children's Awards, a Motion Picture Sound Editors Award, a Pixel Award, and a Kerrang! Award. The series has also been nominated for three Critics' Choice Television Awards, two Annecy Festival 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.


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 ice wizard; and Marceline the Vampire Queen (voiced by Olivia Olson), a thousand-year-old, half-demon, rock music enthusiast.[4]


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 his experience working as a writer and storyboard artist on The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. In an interview with Animation World Network, Ward explained that he also strives to combine the series' subversive humor with "beautiful" moments, using Hayao Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro as inspiration.[3] Ward has also highlighted Home Movies and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist as influences, largely because both shows are "relaxing" and feature "conversational dialogue that feels natural [and] not over the top [nor] cartoony and shrill".[5]

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.[6] It originally aired on Nicktoons Network as a stand-alone short January 11, 2007,[6][7] and was later re-aired as part of Frederator Studios' Random! Cartoons on December 7, 2008.[8][9] After its initial release, the short video became a viral hit on the internet.[3][10] Frederator Studios then pitched an Adventure Time series to Nicktoons Network, but the network passed on it twice.[11] Eventually, the studio's rights to pick up the show expired, and Frederator, the short's production animation studio, decided to shop it to other channels.[12] Cartoon Network was approached, and they said they would be willing to produce it if Ward could prove that the short could be expanded into a full series while maintaining elements from the original pilot.[13] Rob Sorcher, the chief content officer at Cartoon Network, was influential in getting the network to take a chance on the show; he recognized the series as "something that felt really indie [...] comic book-y [and] really new."[12]

A brown-haired man smirks at the camera.
Patrick McHale served as the series' creative director for the first two seasons.

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.[3] Ward, with help from his college friends Patrick McHale and Adam Muto, turned in a rough storyboard that featured Finn and an unwitting Princess Bubblegum going on a spaghetti-supper date.[11] 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.[11][13][14][15] Ward and his production team began storyboarding episodes and writing plot outlines. However, Cartoon Network was still concerned with the direction of the fledgling series. During the pitch of the episode "Brothers in Insomnia" (which would eventually be scrapped), McHale recounted that the entire room was filled with executives from Cartoon Network. And while the pitch went well, the production staff was soon inundated with more questions about the stylistic nature of the series. Hoping to ameliorate these issues, Cartoon Network management decided to hire three animation veterans who had worked on SpongeBob SquarePants: Derek Drymon (who served as executive producer for the first season of Adventure Time), Merriwether Williams (who served as head story editors for the show's first and second seasons), and Nick Jennings (who became the series' long-serving art director).[16] Thurop Van Orman, the creator of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, was also hired for the first two seasons to help guide Ward and his staff.[17]

One of the major changes from the pilot to the series was the new-found emphasis placed on the background art. Dan "Ghostshrimp" James, a freelance illustrator who had also storyboarded on Flapjack, 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'".[3][18] He designed major locations, such as Finn and Jake's home, the Candy Kingdom, and the Ice Kingdom.[18] During the production for season one, Ward was also instrumental in assembling a storyboard team for his series. He was drawn towards "younger, inexperienced people", and he utilized the Internet to aid in his search. It was during this time that Phil Rynda was hired; he would serve as the series' lead character designer for two seasons.[19] In its first season, the series was originally billed as Adventure Time with Finn and Jake.[2] 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.[20]


While many cartoons are based on script pitches to network executives, Cartoon Network allowed Adventure Time to "build their own teams organically" and communicate through the use of storyboards and animatics.[4] 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."[4] 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 and beyond.[21]

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 from. 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."[22] 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."[22] Sometimes, the series' writers and storyboard artists convene and play various writing games.[23] 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.[23][24] Ward, however, noted that "the ideas are usually terrible".[24] 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 the idea can be developed into an episode.[23]

A storyboard panel, drawn by Adam Muto, from the episode "What Was Missing" showing action, dialogue, and sound effects. Adventure Time is a storyboard-driven series, meaning that the storyboard artists are also the writers, allowing them 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".[25] 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.[25][26] 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.[26] 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.[27][28] The episodes' design and coloring are done in Burbank, California. Animation is handled overseas in South Korea, either by Rough Draft Korea or by Saerom Animation.[28][29][30]

Actually animating an episode can take about three to five months.[27][28] During this time, retakes, music scoring, and sound design are completed.[27] Once the animation is finished, it is sent back to the United States where it is reviewed; at this time, the staff looks for mistakes in the animation, or "things that didn't animate the way [the staff] intended".[28] These issues are then fixed in Korea and the episode is finished.[28] It takes about eight to nine months for a single episode to be created, although multiple episodes are worked on at the same time.[22][27][28] According to former lead character designer Phil Rynda, most preproduction is done in Photoshop. The animation is hand-drawn on paper, then digitally composited.[31][32] However, 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;[31] the fifth season episode "A Glitch is a Glitch", which was written and directed by Irish filmmaker and writer David OReilly, and features his distinct 3-D animation;[33] and the sixth season episode "Water Park Prank", which features animation courtesy of David Ferguson.[34] Furthermore, a stop-motion episode titled "Bad Jubies", helmed by Kirsten Lepore, is slated to air near the start of the show's seventh season.[35][36]

Ward described the show, stylistically, as a "dark comedy", and explained that he enjoys experiencing ambivalent emotions, such as feeling of being "happy and scared at the same time."[37] 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.[38] 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][38] In the United States, the series is rated TV-PG,[39] 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".[26]

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ward revealed that he stepped down as series showrunner sometime during the fifth season in favor of Muto. He explained that, as a naturally introverted person, he found it extremely exhausting having to deal with people every day. Until late 2014, Ward remained working on the series as a storyboard artist and storyline writer.[40] Following November of 2014, however, he stopped penning episodes stories, and focused his attention on the live action Adventure Time movie.[40][41]


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 in English, as well as Jake's girlfriend, Lady Rainicorn in Korean.[42] Polly Lou Livingston, a friend of Pendleton Ward's mother, Bettie Ward, plays the voice of the small elephant "Tree Trunks.[43][44] The Adventure Time cast records their lines together in group recordings as opposed to different recording sessions with individual voice actors. This is to record more natural sounding dialogue among the characters. Hynden Walch has described these group recordings as akin to "doing a play reading—a really, really out there play."[45] The series also regularly employs guest actors and actresses for minor and recurring characters.[46] 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.[47]

Setting and mythology

The show is set in a fictional continent called the "Land of Ooo",[48] in a post-apocalyptic future about a thousand years after the "Great Mushroom War", essentially a nuclear holocaust.[49] 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."[37] Ward later described the setting as "candyland on the surface and dark underneath".[4] 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 other 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.[37] 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 canonical 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 worth 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.[26] 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".[26] Ward later called this version "really silly".[26] 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 [year]book" smile, and the crew also struggled on getting Marceline's shadows correct.[26] 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.[26] The sequence was finalized right before the series aired.[26]

The theme song features Ward on ukelele.

The theme song for the show, entitled "Adventure Time", is performed by Ward accompanied by a ukulele. The theme first appeared in the pilot episode, although, in the pilot version, Ward was accompanied by an acoustic guitar. In the series' version, Ward's singing is noticeably in a higher register; this is because Ward felt it was necessary to match his singing with the higher tone of the ukelele.[26] The finalized version of the theme song that appears in opening was originally supposed to be 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!"[26] According to Ward, much of the music has "hiss and grit" because one of the show's original composers, 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."[26] 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.[45][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".[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]



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]

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Pilot January 11, 2007 (2007-01-11)
1 26 April 5, 2010 (2010-04-05) September 27, 2010 (2010-09-27)
2 26 October 11, 2010 (2010-10-11) May 9, 2011 (2011-05-09)
3 26 July 11, 2011 (2011-07-11) February 13, 2012 (2012-02-13)
4 26 April 2, 2012 (2012-04-02) October 22, 2012 (2012-10-22)
5 52 November 12, 2012 (2012-11-12) March 17, 2014 (2014-03-17)
6 43 April 21, 2014 (2014-04-21) June 5, 2015 (2015-06-05)
7 TBA 2015[71] TBA



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.[72] 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.[73] 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.[74][75][72] "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.[76] 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][78][79][80] In March 2013, it was reported that the show averages roughly 2 to 3 million viewers an episode.[8] According to a 2012 report by Nielsen, the show consistently ranks first in its timeslot among boys aged 2 to 14.[4]

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[81]

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."[22] 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."[2] 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."[2] 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."[2] 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."[2]

In a review of the third season, Mike LeChevallier of Slate magazine, 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," awarding the third and fourth seasons a rating of four out of five stars[82][83] 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".[82] 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.[82] 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."[83] He concluded that the series possesses "strikingly few faults".[83] The A.V. Club reviewer Zack Handlen summarized Adventure Time 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."[84] 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."[84]

Robert Mclaughlin of Den of Geek wrote that Adventure Time "is the first cartoon in a long time that is pure imagination".[85] He heavily complimented the show for "its non-reliance on continually referencing pop culture [...] and the general outlook is positive and fun."[85] Eric Kohn of IndieWire said that the show "represents the progress of [cartoon] medium" in the current decade.[86] 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".[86] Entertainment Weekly named Adventure Time number 20 on their "The 25 Greatest Animated Series Ever" list.[81][87] 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."[88] Franich praised the series' "consistently inventive" plotlines and its "vivid landscape", as well as its continued maturation.[88] Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker praised the show, likening it to "World of Warcraft as recapped by Carl Jung", and applauded its unique approach to emotion, humor, and philosophy.[89]


Since its debut, Adventure Time has amassed a steadily growing group of fans. The show is often described as having a cult following among teenagers and adults,[40][90] although Eric Kohn of Indiewire noted that—while it started out with a cult following—the series has "started to look like one of the biggest television phenomenons of the decade."[91] The show is particularly popular at fan conventions, such as the San Diego-hosted Comic Con.[91] Reporter Emma-Lee Moss noted, "This year's [2014] Comic-Con schedule reflected Adventure Time‍ '​s growing success, with several screenings, a dramatic reading with the show's voice talent and a special Adventure Time Cosplay ball."[92]

The show is also popular with cosplayers, or performance artists who wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character from the Adventure Time universe. Moss wrote: "Looking into the crowd, it was clear that his distinctive blue shirt and white hat were being mirrored by hundreds of Cosplayers, male and female."[92] In an interview, Olivia Olson reported that, "Literally, anywhere you look, anywhere in your range, you're going to see at least two people dressed up like Finn. It's crazy."[93]

Awards and nominations


Year Award Category Nominee Result
2007 Annie Award Best Animated Short Subject[94] For "Adventure Time" short Nominated
2010 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[95] For "My Two Favorite People" Nominated
2011 Annie Award Best Animated Television Production for Children[96] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[95] For "It Came from the Nightosphere" Nominated
2012 Annie Award Best Animated Special Production[97] For "Thank You" Nominated
Best Storyboarding in a Television Production[97] Rebecca Sugar Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series[98] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[95] For "Too Young" Nominated
2013 Annie Award Best Animated Television Production For Children[99] For "Princess Cookie" Nominated
Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production[100] For "The Hard Easy" Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production[101] For "Goliad" Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production[101] For "Lady & Peebles" Nominated
Sundance Film Festival Animated Short Film[102] For "Thank You" Nominated
Golden Reel Awards Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue, and ADR Animation In Television[103] For "Card Wars" Won
Annecy International Animated Film Festival TV Series[104] For "Princess Cookie" Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series[105] Adventure Time Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Animated Series[106] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation[107] Andy Ristaino Won
Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[108] For "Simon & Marcy" Nominated
British Academy Children's Awards International[109] Adventure Time Won
2014 Annie Award Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production For Children's Audience[110] Adventure Time Won
Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[111] Nick Jennings, et al. Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[110] Tom Kenny Won
Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[111] Paul Douglas Nominated
Hall of Game Awards Most Valuable Cartoon[112] Adventure Time Won
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[113] Adventure Time Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Animated Series[114] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation[115] Nick Jennings Won
Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program[116] For "Be More" Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Animated Series[117] Adventure Time Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Colombia Favorite Animated Series[118] Adventure Time Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Mexico Favorite Animated Series[119] Adventure Time Nominated
British Academy Children's Awards International[120] Adventure Time Won
2015 Annie Award Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production[121] Yuasa Masaaki & Eunyoung Choi Nominated
Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production For Children's Audience[121] Adventure Time Nominated
Pixel Award Best Television Website[122] Finn and Jake's Big Adventure Won
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon[123] Adventure Time Nominated
Peabody Award Children's Programming[124] Adventure Time Won
Kerrang! Award Best TV Show[125] Adventure Time Won
Annecy International Animated Film Festival TV Film[126] For "Food Chain" Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Mexico Favorite Cartoon[127] Adventure Time Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation[128] Tom Herpich Won
Outstanding Short-format Animated Program[95] For "Jake the Brick" Won
Ottawa International Animation Festival Series for Kids[129] For "The Tower" Nominated


Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Eisner Award Best Publication for Kids[130] Adventure Time comic Won
Harvey Award Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers[131] Adventure Time comic Won
Special Award for Humor in Comics[131] Ryan North Won
2014 Eisner Award Best Lettering[132] Britt Wilson Nominated

Related media

Comic books

The Adventure Time comics were penned by independent web comic creator Ryan North until 2014.

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.[133][134] The series launched February 8, 2012, with art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb.[135][136] In October 2014, however, it was revealed that North left the comic series after three years of service. His duties were assumed by Christopher Hastings, best known as the creator of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja.[137]

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.[138] 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".[139] Other spin-off comic series have been released, including Candy Capers, Flip Side, and Banana Guard Academy, each penned and illustrated by different writers and artists.[140][141][142]

A separate line of comics, officially denoted as "graphic novels" have also been released. The first of these, titled Adventure Time: Playing with Fire, was written by Danielle Corsetto and illustrated by Zack Sterling. It was released in April 2013, and focuses on Flame Princess' "very first adventure" with Finn and Jake.[143] A second volume, titled Pixel Princesses, was released on November 6, 2013.[144] The third graphic novel, titled Adventure Time: Seeing Red and penned by Kate Leth, focuses on Marceline and Jake's adventure to the Nightosphere. It was released in March 2014.[145] The fourth volume, also penned by Lee, is called Bitter Sweets. It focuses on Princess Bubblegum and Peppermint Butler as they go on a journey. It was released on November 11, 2014.[146] The fifth entry, titled Graybles Schmaybles was written by Corsetto and released on May 12, 2015. It follows Finn and Jake as they go on an adventure concerning the titular graybles.[147]

Other literature

Other Adventure Time-themed books have also been released. The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia, published on July 22, 2013, was written by comedian Martin Olson, who is also the father of Olivia Olson and the voice of recurring antagonist Hunson Abadeer.[148] This book was later followed up by Adventure Time: The Enchiridion & Marcy's Super Secret Scrapbook!!!, released on October 6, 2015. This book—written by both Martin and Olivia Olson—is presented as if it were a mash-up of the Enchiridion, and Marceline's secret diary.[149] An official Art of... book, entitled The Art of Ooo was published on October 14, 2014; in addition to a myriad interviews with cast and crew members, the book opens with an introduction penned by film-maker Guillermo del Toro.[150] Two volumes collecting the show's many title cards have also been released.[151][152]

Video games

A video game based on the series was initially announced by Pendleton Ward on his Twitter account.[153] 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.[154][155] 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.[156] In May 2013, it was announced that a new game would be released, 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."[157] It was released in November 2013.[157] A new video game titled Finn & Jake's Quest was released on April 11, 2014 on Steam.[158] Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom was released on November 18, 2014 for Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.[159] Cartoon Network also released a MOBA game Adventure Time: Battle Party on, on June 23, 2014.[160] In April 2015, Little Orbit announced the second Adventure Time video game it is publishing for multiple platforms, under the title Finn & Jake Investigations.[161] In April 2015, two separate downloadable content packs were released for LittleBigPlanet 3 on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, one containing Adventure Time costumes (Finn, Jake, Ice King, Gunter and Cosmic Owl) and another containing a level kit with decorations, stickers, music, objects, a background and a bonus Fionna costume.[162]

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.[163] "Grow Your Own" characters that expand more than 500 percent when immersed in water were also released.[163] Role playing toys have also be produced, with a 24-inch "Finn Sword" being released first.[163] 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.[164] 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.[165][166][167] Pendleton Ward even hosted t-shirt designing contests on the latter two sites.[167][168] Other shirts can be purchased directly from Cartoon Network's store.[169] A collectible card game called Card Wars, inspired by the season four episode of the same name, has also been released.[170]


In February 2015, it was reported that a theatrical Adventure Time movie is in development by Warner Bros. Pictures, Frederator Films, Warner Animation Group, and Cartoon Network Movies. The film is being produced and written by creator Pendleton Ward and produced by Roy Lee and Chris McKay.[171]

Home media

On September 27, 2011, Cartoon Network released the My Two Favorite People region 1 DVD, which featured a random selection of 12 episodes from the series' first two seasons. The success of this DVD led to the release of several other types of region 1 compilation DVDs, including: It Came from the Nightosphere (2012), Jake vs. Me-Mow (2012), Fionna and Cake (2013), Jake the Dad (2013), The Suitor (2014), Princess Day (2014), Adventure Time and Friends (2014), Finn the Human (2014), Frost & Fire (2015), and The Enchiridion (2015).[172]

In addition, the first through fifth seasons have been released on DVD and Blu-ray.[173] 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.[174][175] Both seasons were removed on March 30, 2015.[176] Season one through six were eventually made available for streaming on Hulu on May 1, 2015.[177]



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