The Series (4/5)
I go through phases with Cartoon Network programming, when they kicked off in the early 90's they seemed more like a repository for the Hanna Barbera library of cartoons before creating extremely memorably original content like the Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory and more. They seemed to lull for a few years before hitting another stride in the early 2000's with shows like the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and Camp Lazlo, and then in the last few years they have found themselves back in awesome territory with Regular Show, and the program written about here Adventure Time.
I had sort of written off Cartoon Network for a while in the years before I caught Adventure Time, and then one day I stumbled upon an episode that my step-daughter was watching and immediately sat down to watch, the next, and the next until the programming block was over. I found myself immediately drawn into this world which seemed like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure written and drawn by the mind of a hyperactive child.
The show tells the continuing Adventures of Finn and Jake, the last human boy, and his mutant size-shifting dog (A Boy and his Dog), in the post-apocalyptic world of Coo. The episodes run 11 minutes in length, and pretty much anything a new user needs to know about the show can be discovered from the theme tune, and watching a few episodes. The show actually has an interesting balancing act of being accessible to children and adults, and creating stories that are detached from those around them, and also that throw back to other stories for those that choose to pay attention. The universe show creator Pendleton Ward has set up with Adventure Time has itís own internal mythology/backstory, and he certainly uses that with references to such things as a long ago war which set off the apocalypse that has left the world in itís present state. However, new viewers do not need to be concerned about being caught up in continuity as if the show were Star Trek.
The show is also a comic delight, and creates laughs that are aimed at an audience of children, but are certain to make the adults watching howl a bit as well. The show's fourth season feels similar to those that preceded it, but that is not a bad thing, as the formula has yet to grow stale. On top of that there are darker elements creeping in making this the absolute go to show, for kids with a bit of a morbid side, who are too young to delve into more scary things. it also ends on quite the cliffhanger in series finale the Lich.
The Blu-ray of Adventure Time the Complete Fourth Season presents the show in it's original 1:78:1 aspect ratio in a 1080p transfer. Simply put this is a transfer that does everything conceivably right by the animation. The colors simply burst from the screen, there is excellent line detail, and black are quite solid. I can find nothing to complain about here.
The audio track is an English DTS-HD MA 2.0, and sounds quite excellent as well. The dialogue, music, and effects come through effectively, and clear, and no defects can be heard on the track.
The extras on Adventure Time the Complete Fourth Season includes episode exclusive commentary tracks, and an awesome little featurette (19 minutes) called Distant Bands: The Music of Adventure Time which discusses the writing of the music for the show, which is really catchy and awesome, and it's cool to see it getting the attention it deserves here.
Adventure Time may be the best animated program on TV right now. The show is funny and imaginative in the best possible ways, and not afraid to go to dark places. The A/V on this disc looks and sounds fantastic, and I can do nothing, but HIGHLY RECOMMEND this disc. Come on Cartoon Network, bring on the Season 5 Blu-ray!