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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Adventure Time: Elements is an eight-episode miniseries that stars many of the same characters from the animated Adventure Time series. Like the original show, this miniseries is absurd and sweet. Characters treat each other with kindness, try to help each other, and give each other hugs and pats on the arm. They also have complex emotional and social problems that are best understood by tweens and up. Violence is comic and silly; in this show, Finn is attacked by a giant s'more, characters slap each other in the face, and a giant ruler threatens to turn people into candy. Finn also carries a sword and sometimes draws it, though he never stabs or slashes anything. There's no cursing, but there is some questionable language: "heck, yeah," "sucks," "dang." One of the show's subplots is romantic, so expect talk about dating and having a girlfriend, as well as subtle references to sex, like when Finn refers to Jake "sleeping over" with a female friend.
What's the story?
When Finn (Jeremy Shada) and Jake (John DiMaggio) return from the adventures encountered in Adventure Time: Islands, they find that Ooo is very different from when they left in ADVENTURE TIME: ELEMENTS. All their friends have different names and are now made of candy, and all of Ooo is composed of the four basic elements of life: candy, ice, fire, and slime. Can Finn and Jake reverse the terrible events that caused their magical kingdoms to transform? Will their friends stay mindless zombies? Did something mysterious in the Ice King's past cause all this to happen? And if so, can our heroes team up with the Ice King (Tom Kenny) and Betty (Lena Dunham) to turn back the clock?
Is it any good?
Less emotional than the Islands adventure that preceded it, this entry into the Adventure Time canon returns to cheerful silliness. We're clued in that something is different this time around when instead of promising that we'll go to "very distant lands," the theme song tells us we're on the way to "very messed up lands." Indeed. Fish are now made of gummy, the tree house is made entirely of candy, and instead of being her sweet, charming self, Princess Bubblegum is now a giant elemental monster who wants to transform Finn and Jake into candy, too.
It's the same sort of absurd adventure fans are used to seeing, which asks the question of why this particular outing is a miniseries rather than a regular season. No matter, Elements is classic AT fun, with Jake pausing in the middle of a quest to explain to Finn why he should always have a phone: "You'll think it'll make people want to talk to you more, but they just forget to invite you to stuff." Later, Ice King pooh-poohs the possibility of a second date with a woman he excitedly describes as possibly some type of exotic bird: "I don't want to be that guy who's always hanging out with his girlfriend and doesn't have time for his friends." Then he pauses and says softly "I so want to be that guy.' It's silliness, but with a heart, which makes it the best kind of whole-family viewing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Finn and Jake show courage and compassion in Adventure Time: Elements by trying to rescue their friends even when they themselves are in danger. How do they use teamwork to get through obstacles? Why are these important character strengths?
Adventure Time has released many miniseries. How are these series different from seasons of the show? How many episodes are typically in a season of Adventure Time? Do all TV shows have seasons of this length, or are some longer or shorter? What would be the advantage of putting out a separate miniseries rather than just telling this same story on a regular season?
Though Finn and Jake frequently are at odds with other creatures they encounter in Adventure Time: Elements, they almost never battle. Why not? Why are battles such a common element on many other animated shows?
- Premiere date: April 24, 2017
- Cast: John DiMaggio, Jeremy Shada, Lena Dunham, Tom Kenny
- Network: Cartoon Network
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses and Fairies, Adventures
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Courage
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Available on: Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Seal
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