US animated online/tv series (2009, 2012-current). Nicktoons (pilot); Cartoon Hangover via YouTube (season 1 and 2); Cartoon Hangover Select/VRV (from season 3). Created by Pendleton Ward (creator of Adventure Time). Executive producers include Breehn Burns, Will McRobb, Fred Seibert and Chris Viscardi. Directors include Breehn Burns, Tom King and Adrian Thatcher. Writers include Breehn Burns. Voice cast includes Graeme Jokic, Ian Jones-Quartey, Sam Lavagnino, Liliana Mumy, John Omohundro, Tara Strong, Alex Walsh and Gedde Watanabe; note that only Strong was in the pilot, as a different character. 68 5-11 minute episodes, plus 5 "minisodes". Colour.
The Bravest Warriors are four teenage Superheroes: Chris (Walsh, Jokic), Beth (Mumy), Danny (Omohundro) and Wallow (Jones-Quartey), joined by Plum (Strong) – an Alien were-mermaid – who live on Mars in the year 3085, but travel the galaxy responding to calls for their help, covering for their parents (The Courageous Battlers) who have been trapped in another Dimension known as the See-Through Zone for two years. They also have several pets, one of whom is Catbug (Lavagnino) – half cat, half ladybird.
At the end of season one a frog door appears that opens into the See-Through Zone, which the next season reveals to be the realm of the Aeon Worm ("Its grotesque splendour is more than the human mind can endure"), which plans – through the summoning of its faithful hamster followers – to impregnate Beth and have its children devour this universe; but Hamster Mitch (Watanabe) has a crisis of belief, and through this doubt the universe is saved. He later reappears as the self-proclaimed Lord of Morality. Also, Chris learns that he will become an Emotion Lord and discovers his older selves are imprisoned, in a bar, for repeatedly trying to change their past so as to bring Beth and him together (and also to persuade him to take B12 supplements so he will not go bald – in this, at least, they succeed).
Season 3 has Beth taking on the mantle of leader and Chris coming to terms with being an Emotion Lord. In the finale he goes to meet Captain C Word for guidance, only to find the Captain has been slain by Queen F Word in the name of the Emotion Lord Hunters: but before she can also kill Chris she is shattered by Wallow.
Whilst not reaching the levels of weirdness exhibited by Ward's previous creation, Adventure Time (2010-current), Bravest Warriors is a pleasing show: amusing, bizarre, with sound characterization and full of ideas, though perhaps the fourth season has displayed less of the earlier sparkle (possibly owing to the departure of Burns, who wrote or co-wrote all but two episodes of seasons 1-3 and directed seasons 1-2). Not being on a children's television channel enables it to have mildly adult content, though nobody need fear a greater maturity: for example, a holographic elf who becomes self-aware is named Wankershim (and we are informed that he emits "wankergy"). [SP]
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