Seeing Blu: Adventure Time Seasons 1 & 2

Adventure Time Season 1 Bluray How have I not written more extensively about Adventure Time? I discovered this show a few years back, not right when it came out or anything, but after I saw some pretty solid buzz on the art blogs I follow. It’s so amazing and very much like someone stuck a blender in the collective conscious of my friends, hit whip and poured it into the form of an animated series on Cartoon Network. I’ve realized that 30 is the perfect age when it comes to enjoying television because creative people your own age have worked their way up to the point where they’re running and creating shows. Adventure Time reminds me of the way my friends and I played as kids, but then there’s shows like New Girl or the sadly cancelled Happy Endings which feel like hyper-realized versions of my reality (or what I wish my reality was).

If you’re unfamiliar with the show it revolves around two pals Finn the human and Jake the shapeshifting dog who hang out in the raddest tree house you’ve ever seen in the Land of Oo0. Ooo’s a pretty crazy-awesome place populated by all kinds of wizards, princesses and anthropomorphized, well, everything. Finn and Jake are the kinds of friends I have, am and want to be and I can always get into that which is the center of a show completely packed with all kinds of action-fantasy elements.

So, yeah, I like the show. When I got a press email asking if I’d be interested in reviewing Adventure Time Seasons 1 and 2 on Blu-ray, I jumped at the chance. Holy nuts, you guys, as much as I love this show on TV, it’s even better on Blu-ray. There’s the obvious benefit of just being able to hit Play All and watch 26 episodes in a row, but this show looks so bold and bright and awesome in Blu-ray it makes my brain happy. It took me a few episodes into the second season before something clicked in my head and I realized that it just looked so much better. I also noticed how thin the lines are which stuck out to me for some reason.

While the Season One disc has a variety of special features I haven’t been able to check out just yet, I did listen to the majority of the commentaries on the second. The interesting and unique thing about this group of commentaries is that they were recorded all at the same time in order in show’s creator’s house. The sound also occasionally drops out from the interviews and is replaced by Pen Ward’s ukelele music. This might seem odd, but the reasoning is that the conversation turned to things that might not be appropriate for younger viewers. It definitely makes it feel like you’re missing out on big time secrets which is kind of a bummer, but I appreciate the effort. I think it could be argued that a collector/adult oriented version with fully intact commentaries would make sense, but I’m not too broke up about it.

Adventure Time Season 2 Bluray

These discs do two other things that I really appreciate. First and foremost, unlike a lot of cartoon home video offerings, these include every episode from the season instead of a sampler offering. I know the seasons don’t have much of an arc as far as overall stories go, but I like having them all in one place. These two discs did something else that no other one has done and that’s make me want to keep the slipcover. The images I’ve posted here are what the discs look like with the covers. When you pull the Finn one off you see his long flowing blonde locks, for Ice King you get a look at the Nice King. Usually I think slipcovers are an annoyance and a waste that usually go into the recycling bin as soon as they find their way in our house, but they actually figured out a way to make them fun and somewhat necessary (I find it a bit unnerving to look at shaved Ice King for long periods of time).

Another added benefit of having these discs is that my 2 year old daughter has absolutely fallen in love with this show. It’s no surprise, really. All the things I mentioned above — fun, action, friendship, bright colors — are just as cool for kids and babies as they are for adults. Plus, how can I not be okay with my kid wanting to watch a show I love (he says knowing full well he’ll wind up watching the first hour of both Blu-rays dozens, possibly hundreds of times)? The only problem? Her version of “Adventure Time” is a real jumble of consonants and difficult to understand. Oh well, I’m hoping that her love of this show will result in her wearing adorable Finn, Jake, Fiona, Cake, Princess Bubblegum or Marceline clothes and hopefully some toys. I really like the Finn and Jake toys…

Adventures In Freelancing: NYCC Post Mortem

Between my photo diary entries over on The Monkee Diaries (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and a pair of posts over on Pop Poppa about my experiences leaving Lucy for the first extended period of time and her first comic con, I’ve done a lot of writing about the New York Comic Con. And that doesn’t even include all the actual work I did for CBR!

Last year, I wrote a pretty negative post about the NYCC. My main complaints were that people were not very considerate while walking along, the show was too crowded to really look for comics and the press pass line was way too long. And you know what? Those problems still exist. Well, I assume the press line thing was still a problem, I’m not exactly sure because, the main reason I enjoyed the show so much more this year over last was because I not only had a series of solid assignments but also was doing them for a company that really knows how to treat its employees.

I know this might seem like I’m being a company man or what have you, but I don’t do that and never have. I say good things about good people and groups, but if I happen to be aligned with a less reputable group, I’ll keep my mouth shut. So, take that into consideration when I say that Jonah Weiland and CBR are wonderful to work for. They not only had press passes waiting for us so we didn’t have to wade through the line, but also had a nice skybox overlooking the smaller of the show floor sections. The room was done up in a tiki theme, a desk was set up overlooking the floor and a corner was designated for video interviews with comic creators and celebrities. If you’re unfamiliar with the press situation at the NYCC, everyone is crammed into a living room-sized space on the bottom floor with no real ventilation and very little table space.

Being busy with panel coverage (sitting through the hour-or-so talk and then writing it up) kept me away from the show floor for the most part, which was fine by me. Actually, my only real problem this year, aside from huge crowd and a smell of buttered feet in the main area of the floor, was that press had to wait in line to cover a panel. I know this makes me sound like an entitled jerk, but hear me out. If you’re going to bother giving out press passes, the point is, presumably to get the press to cover the event. Whether the organization wants the event covered so news can reach the people or so people can read about how awesome the event is and want to go to it doesn’t really matter to me. What does matter is potentially not getting into a panel to cover it because of a huge line. It bothers me because this is my job, this is how I help feed my family. I’m not demanding front row seats or anything along those lines, but possibly a row or two set aside somewhere for press and the ability to take those seats between panels would not be beyond the realm of normalcy, right? Heck, look how well set-up sports writers are at baseball or football games.

Okay, that’s the end of my press rant. I still think there’s too many people on the floor, lines are impossible to control and there should be a height limit on costume accessories (or an outright ban), but at the end of the day, I had a good time at this show. It was long, hard work, but I liked that too. Last year I didn’t have any work to do, so I felt like I had more of a purpose this year. I also had a great place to do said work alongside great people, which always helps. I got to see some old friends, meet some new ones and even found myself in the same room with Tom Morello (a panel room, but it was still cool), Patton Oswalt, a good deal of the cast of The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero, Liz Lee from My Life As Liz (got introduced to her and didn’t realize who she was until about 10 minutes later, but she was super nice) and Kenny from The Challenge. Honestly, being in the same room as Patton Oswalt and seeing how free and easy and insanely funny he is just talking to a bunch of people overlooking a comic convention floor was a career highlight. You can see the video interview here, by the way.

So, yes, I think I enjoyed the NYCC more this year than ever before. They shuffled things around yet again, but the set-up seemed to make sense. Most of the big booths were in one area while artists alley and people selling stuff were in another. It will never be a light and easy show to breeze in and out of or walk away with a big stack of cheap comics, but it’s starting to feel familiar and therefor somewhat more normal, which is funny considering I saw a guy dressed in a pretty darn good Voltron costume and an absolute army of girls dressed up as Finn from Adventure Time. Crossing dressing Finn is the new Slave Leia and I kind of like it.