Apr 9, 2015

[TV] Adventure Time: Season 2

As much as I totally love Adventure Time, admittedly I haven't had a chance to write proper reviews of the various seasons of the show thus far. I think part of the challenge in this area is the fact that proper home video releases of the show's various seasons hadn't been released until recently. Before they had released a few episode mixes as I like to call them that provide an assortment of stories but not necessarily a whole season.

So now I'm finally going back to reviewing these older seasons since a number of DVD and Blu-Ray releases have been completed over the years. And it's a fun little exercise to go over these prior seasons again and celebrate all the interesting adventures our heroes have gotten into and all the crazier stuff we've realized lurk between the lines - or in this case the episodes.

It's never easy to explain why Tobie and I love this cartoon so much. It's a crazy series that some friends actually argue isn't good for children or something like that. But perhaps through these reviews I'll slowly piece things together one episode at time.

Synopsis: Adventure Time is an animated television series created by Pendleton Ward and airs on Cartoon Network. I think this second season of the show was particularly notable given Rebecca's contribution to the overall plot and the development of many of its characters.

The season began with a pretty brilliant episode - "It Came from the Nightsophere" which had been written and storyboarded by Adam Muto and Rebecca Sugar. It was a great moment for fleshing out more of the back story of Marceline the Vampire Queen (Olivia Olson) and more importantly her complex relationship with her father (Martin Olson). And Finn (Jeremy Shada) makes an effort to help Marceline to patch things up with her father, but instead he risks the end of all of Ooo itself.

Personally I enjoyed "Crystals Have Power" only because it finally linked back to the story of Tree Trunks (Polly Lou Livingston), whose fate was left generally uncertain during the first season. But here she was, ruling a crystal realm all because of that one bit of a crystal apple. I guess I just love Tree Trunks so much - she's both adorable and ridiculous at the same time.

Episodes like "Guardians of Sunshine" where our Adventure Time crew get sucked into one of the video games that BMO (Niki Yang) runs almost demonstrated just how creative the show can be and how far they might take things moving forward. Sure, it was a bit of a niche concept show, but the whole 8-bit style adventure was suitable geeky and a heck of a lot of fun.

"Susan Strong" hinted at the possibility that Finn may not be the last human after all, and thus was yet another episode that gets viewers to wonder just what the heck happened to Ooo. The meta-plot behind the show and how they seem to be in a magical post-apocalyptic Earth is a fascinating one and more and more episodes really try to explain a bit more of what led everyone to this present reality.

And of course we have to talk about the two-part episode "Mortal Folly" and "Mortal Recoil" that introduces us to a true villain in the show - the Lich (Ron Perlman). Sure, we've always had the Ice King (Tom Kenny) as a quasi-villain, but he was really more like comic relief with his constant need to kidnap princesses. But the Lich was something else and a far more serious threat that continues to generally threaten Ooo until today.

Sure, the show has a lot of silly episodes and crazy ones that seem like throwaway moments. And yet despite the seeming nonsense that dominates the tone of the show, there's a lot of hidden meanings and even some morality tales right there in plain view. And again we're really talking about such rich world-building that is subtle and yet intricate and in the end quite amazing.

The second season of Adventure Time was the start of much bigger things. The state had already been set and now every following season was just all about telling story after story after story. And so this season gets a great 4 strange residents of Ooo out of a possible 5.

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