Welcome to my first AT list! I’ve decided to tackle this week by doing a blog every other day. Also, since I’m not sure how often I’ll get to or feel like blogging when I start my job, these lists will act as coverage for that. I’ll still try to blog when I have the time, but we’ll see how it goes.
In the meantime, today’s list will focus on my top picks from Season 1. I can safely say that this season was my least favorite, though I understand that the show was trying to find its stride at the time. Despite that, there are still a few gems to be found here. I’ll also include some honorable mentions of episodes I enjoyed but found didn’t quite make the list. Let’s get started!
5. “Tree Trunks”
While I enjoyed “Prisoners of Love,” I can’t help but point to “Tree Trunks” as the episode that started getting me into the show. Tree Trunks is far from my favorite character, but there’s something about her kind, old lady voice and sometimes sassy attitude that I like. I enjoyed Finn and Jake tackling monsters while she naively tried the same in the least effective ways possible, and the ending was a shock that both left me surprised by the abruptness of it and made me laugh a little as well. Who knew an apple pie-baking elephant would get me invested in this show?
4. “City of Thieves”
I liked this episode for the fact that it plays on Finn’s morality as a hero. The city tempts people to steal and it was nice to see this temptation play out through Jake. I liked how innocent Penny was, though I didn’t trust her from the start, and how she basically played to Finn’s heroics by having him inadvertently steal something. I thought the city had fluid animations of various people stealing from others in succession and looked appropriately seedy and grimy. For a show (especially in this season) that focused on bright, cheerful colors in its locations, this was a nice break away from that to show that the Land of Ooo has its dark sides.
I’m not a huge fan of dungeon crawlers, but this episode puts the “Adventure” in “Adventure Time” to me. It’s nice to see Finn and Jake try to tackle a quest without relying on each other, even if they figure out that it’s better they stick together in the end. I loved the dark atmosphere of the dungeon and the creative creatures inside it, especially the demon cat and evil angel. This was also the first time I got into Princess Bubblegum’s character outside of her love for science, as she ends up saving the two and is not pleased about it. I just really liked the laidback feel to this one and how it flowed from beginning to end.
Okay, I’m going to admit right here and now that throughout this show, Marceline the Vampire Queen has been my favorite character. Granted, a lot of that is my love for cool vampire characters, but her tragic backstory is also a huge factor. This episode introduces her, and I loved her from the moment she showed up. I enjoyed the music montage of Finn and Jake trying to find non-Marceline marked homes, and their battle with her huge bat form was pretty fun. The only thing that kept this episode from being the top was the bizarre ending involving some worms and the hypnotic King Worm, which wasn’t capitalized on (sorta) until a later season. Other than that bit of randomness, it was an all-around fun episode and introduction.
One thing I’ve noticed with the majority of Marceline appearances is you learn something new about her as a character. This episode mainly revolves around her tricking Finn into serving as her henchman and him forming a friendship with her. You get to see her trollish, slightly evil side as was shown in “Evicted,” but this episode also dives into her vampiric qualities and that she does things that seem bad for the sake of good. I like that she’s very much a tomboyish, rock star girl, and the explanation for what she eats (the color red, not particularly blood) was pretty funny and creative. If “Evicted” got me to love her character, “Henchman” got me wanting to learn more about her AS a character. It’s easily my favorite episode of the season, and it won’t be the last time she makes it onto a list.
Honorable Mentions: Prisoners of Love, The Enchiridion, My Two Favorite People
So, there you have it, my top choices and honorable choices of episodes for Season 1. I know opinions will vary, and it’ll only get more difficult from here with many episodes have plot elements and even more solid writing. Join me here on Wednesday for my top picks of Season 2!