Adventure Time: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray Review: Make Time For It

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The fourth season of Cartoon Network's Adventure Time ran from April 2, 2012 to October 22, 2012.  Some of the episodes have previously been released to home video, but this release presents the Complete Fourth Season for the first time. "Princess Cookie", "The Hard Easy", "Lady & Peebles", and "Goliad" were all nominated for Annie Awards. "Card Wars" won a Golden Reel Award and was entertainingly imaginative as Finn and Jake played a version of Magic the Gathering. Guest voices this season include Bobcat Goldthwait, Susie Essman, Erik Estrada, and Lou Ferrigno.

For those not in the know, Adventure Time is set in the Land of Ooo more than thousand years in the future after the Great Mushroom War and presents the astounding adventures of a teenage human boy named Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his best friend Jake (John DiMaggio), a dog with the ability to shapeshift.  Although the season's cliffhanger, "The Lich," casts that into doubt.

Adventure Time S4_2_small.pngThe season opens with the "Hot to the Touch" (Part 2), concluding Finn's introduction to the Flame Princess (Jessica DiCicco). "Burning Low" shows the dangers of their relationship to themselves and the world.

Marceline the Vampire Queen graces on the cover appeared in a few standout episodes.  Jake and Finn have to solve a mystery when they discover someone has made them "Return to the Nightosphere." In the second part, "Daddy's Little Monster," they strive to rescue Marceline. These episodes have great artwork reminiscent Hieronymus Bosch and some daddy issues between Marceline (Olivia Olson) and Hunson Abadeer (Martin Olson, Olivia's father).

She also appeared in the previously released, "I Remember You," a great episode that reveals some backstory about her and the Ice King, when he was known as Simon. Other episodes that have made their way on the DVD releases include: "Sons of Mars," which sees the return of Abraham Lincoln, the Red Planet's king; "BMO Noire," which turns black and white when BMO puts on his detective hat and goes in search of Finn's missing sock; and "King Worm," a surreal dream filled with references to episodes past and future.

There are some new, important characters who appear this season. Cuber (Emo Phillips) presents "Five Short Grayables," which shows five different but related stories. This concept led to two sequels that aired in Season Five. A bear mimics Finn during "In Your Footsteps" and neither the character nor the episode seem significant to the show's overall mythology, but the epilogue sets up the season-ending confrontation.

Adventure Time S4_6_small.pngAm while I am a huge fan of the series, some episodes fell short.  "Gotcha" is annoying because the annoying Lumpy Space Princess is a main character.  Lemongrab, who appears in "You Made Me," also grates on my nerves.  I couldn't make it to the end of either because I don't like the characters or their voices.

The Blu-ray has the same specs as previous released.  The video a is given a 1080p/VC-1 encoded transfer displayed at 1.78:1.  It impresses with vibrant hues and rich blacks.  All the details the animators have drawn come through.  Other than some rare and minor banding, it looks great. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track delivers a well-balanced mix of dialogue, music, and effects. 

The Extras include commentaries on all episodes with various crew members, and "Distant Bands: The Music of Adventure Time" (20 min) where series creator Pendleton Ward, creative director Pat McHale and storyboard artists Jesse Moynihan and Rebecca Sugar discuss their musical backgrounds and approach to creating songs for the series.

Adventure Time: The Complete Fourth Season comes highly reccommend.

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