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Adventure Time’s complete first season DVD is totally mathematical

'Adventure Time's' first season comes out this week in a beautiful two-disc set. I check it out and also chat a little with series creator Pen Ward about the show.

The very first CartoonClack was about a little show starring a human boy and his stretchy dog best friend who trek through the could-be post apocalyptic Candyland-like land of Ooo. Adventure Time is just a special show that mixes (literally) saccharine characters, surrealist imagery and a dynamic, hilarious adventuring duo on par with Calvin and Hobbes. It’s often tricky to get children’s cartoon onto DVD as full seasons since most of the time you’ll get a handful of episodes packaged in one DVD — Adventure Time has two such DVDs already — but we all know diehard fans love having the whole show at their fingertips. And so it was to my surprise and delight that Cartoon Network announced in March that they would be releasing the first season as it own beautiful set. I mean it, the box art is fantastic. The paper sleeve is Finn’s go-to hero outfit and bear hat with a cutout for his face on the actual box. Take off the sleeve and you’ll see Finn’s long-flowing blond hair. Needless to say, make sure to keep the DVD sleeve for the sheer awesomeness of the design.

There are 26 episodes in the first season, but it seems redundant to review the episodes here. If you chose to read this review, there’s a pretty good chance you know and love the show already. Telling you how great these episodes are could be redundant. But to summarize my review of the overall show from over a year ago, the weird and abstract and quirky world Finn and Jake explore makes for one of the most entertaining cartoons on TV. The fact that the humor hits home for kids, teens and adults should be no surprise. I wasn’t sure how many of the early episodes I had seen, but it turns out I recognized almost every episode in the set and they were some of my favorites, including “Ricardio the Heart Guy” (with a hilarious guest role by George Takei) and “Rainy Day Daydream,” which features a lot of invisible danger described to us by John DiMaggio’s voice.

The special features try to balance the interests of kid, casual adult and hardcore adult fans. There are extra shorts and a music video if you’re just looking for extra fun, but there are also anamatics with commentaries for some of the episodes. However, the one feature that made me very happy were the episode commentaries. The very first voice I heard on the first commentary was John DiMaggio’s and since I’m well versed in his Futurama commentaries, I knew this was going to be a good time. The different commentaries include the main voice actors like DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Tom Kenny and Hynden Walch as well as George Takei for his particular episode.

If there’s anything I can say against the set, it’s that while all the commentaries are great, there are only a handful and all on the first disc. I was able to talk to series creator Pendleton Ward last week about the set and he admitted that he had wanted to do commentaries on all the episodes as well, but it didn’t work out. He did mention that he was pleased that Polly Lou Livingston, a family friend and the voice of Tree Trunks, was able to do a commentary on her own episode with Pen’s mother Bettie. He also talked a little about why the show appeals to a wide audience, namely because the writing staff does it’s best not to talk down to kids: “We write the kind of jokes that make us laugh.” Ward noted that he sees the show subtly changing from episode to episode thanks to each writer putting their own mark onto their particular episodes. He also spoke a little about what was coming up for the show: “There will be another Fionna and Cake episode coming soon. This one will feature more of Marshall Lee, since we only got to see a little of him in the first Fionna episode.”

The first season DVD set of Adventure Time is a must for any fan or any parent of a fan. I can easily see myself putting on one of the discs during a lazy Saturday afternoon, hitting “Play All” and reveling in the quirky goodness.

Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

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