Featured TV on DVD Review: Adventure Time: Season Three
Adventure Time is in its fifth season, but the full-season sets are a little behind. This week, Season Three comes out on DVD and Blu-ray. If you've never seen the show, is it worth checking out? If you are a fan of the show, is it worth picking up, even if you have some of the previous smaller releases?
Normally when I review kids show like this, I talk about every episode, but this is a full-season set with 26 episodes. Each episode is only 11-minutes long, but that's still a lot of plot to talk about. Instead, I'll give the general setup, talk about some of the characters, and some of the highlight episodes.
Adventure Time takes place in the land of Ooo, a post-nuclear world where Finn is the last human and his best friend is Jake, a talking dog. (This sort of reminds me of A Boy and His Dog. That is not a kids movie in any way, shape, or form.) The pair go on amazing adventures with plenty of recurring characters. Some of these characters are allies, like Marceline the Vampire Queen. Others are antagonists, like the Ice King, who is too incompetent to be a true villain.
Some of the highlight episodes include Memory of a Memory, in which Finn and Jake have to rescue Marceline after she accidentally hit herself with a sleep spell. In Hitman, Finn and Jake ground Ice King and in revenge, the Ice King hires a man to hit them. A hitman. When he realizes the hitman is trying to kill them, he tries to stop them. At the end of the second season, Princess Bubblegum was turned 13 years old and in Too Young Finn is trying to date her. (It's not creepy, as Finn is also 13 at the time.) However, there's a problem as the Earl of Lemongrab is using her age to take over the kingdom. The only way to get rid of him is for Princess Bubblegum to return to her 18 years old.
Fionna and Cake is arguably the most beloved episode of the show's five-year run. It is the gender swapped version of the story with Fionna the human and Cake the cake. The story involves the Ice Queen trying to kidnap Prince Bubblegum. In What Was Missing the Door Lord steals items from Jack, Finn, BMO (Niki Yang), Princess Bubblegum, and Marceline, before escaping to his castle. The only way to open the Door Lord's door is to play a song as a band, as a genuine band. In The Creeps, Finn, Jake, BMO, Princess Bubblegum, Cinnamon Bun, and Lumpy Space Princess (Pendleton Ward) are invited to a mansion and they learn their host is a ghost who is planning on killing them one-by-one. Susan Strong (Jackie Buscarino) returns in Beautopia. She needs Finn's help protecting her home from Lubglubs; however, Jake thinks she's crazy and dangerous. A deer is running amok at the beginning of No One Can Hear You and Finn takes the brunt of the damage having both his legs broken and is knocked out. When he wakes, he's in the hospital and his legs are in casts and the kingdom is empty. He finds Jake, who thinks everyone is hiding for his surprise party, but it is soon clear something else is going on. Wildberry Princess asks to meet with Finn and Jake in Jake vs. Me-Mow. It seems someone is trying to kill her. That someone is Me-Mow (Kyla Rae Kowalewski). Unfortunately, Jake blows Me-Mow's so Me-Mow forces Jake to carry out the assassination instead. Thank You focuses on a abominable snowman who is trying to get some food when he is attacked by a pack of Firewolves. He defeats them, but in the chaos, a pup is left behind. The pup can't survive in the cold, so the snowman tries to get him back to his home. "Weird Al" Yankovic has a guest appearance in The New Frontier. Finn has a Croak dream, a prophetic dream in which he predicts how he will die. Jake embraces this fate, but Finn fights against it.
Holly Jolly Secrets is a two-part episode that starts with Finn and Jake looking for buried treasure, which happens to be the Ice King's video diaries. It is a really good episode and we learn more about the Ice King. In Marceline's Closet Finn and Jake go into Marceline's home without her being there and when she returns home, they hide because they are worried she's going to kill them. They hide in her closet, but they see and hear things, things that they weren't suppose to see or hear. Another Way begins with scary clowns. Really scary clowns. I don't have coulrophobia, but these clowns would scare the crap out of me. These clowns are nurses who are trying to heal Finn's broken foot. Finn freaks out enough that he tries to get to the cyclops, whose tears heal all wounds. Finn and Jake are out in the woulds when they meet Ghost Princess. Ghost Princess can't get to heaven until she learns how she died. In Dad's Dungeon, Finn and Jake find a hologram message from their dad. He built them a dungeon to toughen up Finn and needs Jake to insult Finn along the way, to toughen him up. The season ends with Incendium. Finn is still heartbroken over Princess Bubblegum. Jake travels to the Fire Kingdom to talk to the Flame King about Finn dating the Flame Princess.
Those are the highlight episodes, which is almost all of the episodes from the third season. Even the ones I didn't talk about are mostly good. Episodes can range from silly and playful to a little disturbing at times. This does mean you never get bored watching the season, because you are not seeing the same episode over and over again. Overall it's a great kids show. It is worth watching, even if you don't have kids.
There are only three extras in the menu, but the first of them is Play All Episodes with Commentary by the creator, Pendleton Ward. This is much, much better than most DVD / Blu-ray releases for kids shows have. There is also an alternative stop-motion opening and an eight-minute interview featurettes with Pendleton Ward, Adam Muto, and Kent Osborne.
The technical presentation is excellent, given the nature of the show. The animation is hardly realistic, but the details present are very clear, and more importantly, the colors are absolutely vivid. The audio is only a 2.0 track, but it is as clear as it is uncomplicated.
The Blu-ray costs $25, which would be a good price-per-minute compared to most similar DVD releases. It is only 32% or $6 more than the DVD, which is in line with expectations.
Adventure Time is one of the best kids shows out there and it is entertaining enough that adult fans of animation will enjoy it as well. The Season Three DVD or Blu-ray release has more than enough extras to be worth picking up, even if you have some of the previous smaller releases. The Blu-ray has no additional extras and the technical presentation is not as strong as with most live action TV shows, but it is also a relatively good deal.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-02-24