Apr 23, 2015

[TV] Adventure Time: Season 4

Now we're at the big one - Adventure Time Season 4. More than another other season of the show thus far, this one really stands out as being my favorite. And I don't think you can blame me given all the great stuff that appeared in this one season. The last season had seemed like a bit of a step backward in terms of overall quality and level of storytelling. But this fourth season brought us to entirely new places that once again changed the show as a whole.

This season also features a number of standalone episodes that really played around with the sorts of stories that Adventure Time could tell. Sure, the show has largely been episodic in nature with very few two-part events to consider. But this season really felt like it has some creative ideas for things that they wanted to try out in the show and characters that they wanted to explore at length. As much as we all love Finn and Jake, the land of Ooo is more than filled with interesting and crazy characters. And all of them deserve to have their stories told as well.

Gosh I love this season so much.

Synopsis: Adventure Time is an animated series created by Pendleton Ward and airs on Cartoon Network. A number of episodes were nominated for various awards including "Princess Cookie", "The Hard Easy", "Lady & Peebles", and "Goliad". Oh, and "Card Wars" won a Golden Reel Award.

The season began with one of our meta-plots for the season - Finn (Jeremy Shada) has a serious crush on Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco). And how he deals with his feelings is something that is revisted time and time again - look at episodes like "Hot to the Touch", "Burning Low", and "Ignition Point"

But the season is probably a bit more notable for interesting and creative story approaches, which apparently was due to a serious effort by the writers not to fall into some sort of Season 4 blues. Thus we have the crazy "Five Short Graybles", which is an anthology piece with 5 separate stories crammed into the length of a standard Adventure Time episode. That's not even a half hour! "BMO Noire" is an amazing detective noir style story with BMO as the detective and all these random critters and around the treehouse as different personalities to interview. And then we have "Lady & Peebles", which is an adventure centered around Princess Bubblegum (Hynden Walch) and Lady Rainicorn (Niki Yang) trying to find the missing Finn and Jake (John DiMaggio).

Personal favorites from this season include "Dream of Love", which was all about Tree Trunks (Polly Lou Livingston) and Pig (Ron Lynch) falling in love and totally not being afraid to show everyone this. "Princess Cookie" was a weird story about a cookie character named Baby-Snaps (Donald Faison) who wanted to be a Princess and ends up taking a convenience store hostage. And of course the there's the complex existential political piece "You Made Me" which features Lemongrab (Justin Rolland) demanding citizens to rule in his castle. All of these episodes are such diverse stories with interesting angles of the Land of Ooo to feature.

I also loved "Reign of Gunters", but that's just because I really like Gunter.

Then you have the big popular ones like "Card Wars" where Finn and Jake play a Magic: the Gathering style card game. What's even crazier is that this already fun episode has inspired an actual card game both available as physical cards or as mobile apps. It's all sorts of amazing. But you can't talk about Season 4 without talking about "I Remember You" which is way too much emotional storytelling in such a short span of time.

I can go on and on citing so many different episodes from this season and why I like them - I haven't even touched on the two-part Marceline story "Return to the Nightosphere" and "Daddy's Little Monster". And of course there's the big season finale, "The Lich" which is just as scary and intense as you'd expect any other episode featuring this character to be.

Adventure Time Season 4 is definitely one of the best seasons of the show and an amazing example of how even seemingly discordant storytelling can be amazing. The show continually reminds us about the importance of character development and world-building in creating a compelling entertainment experience for fans of all ages. Thus the season gets a solid 5 disturbing dreams created by King Worm (Erik Estrada) out of a possible 5.


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