Los Angeles Times

As 'Adventure Time' wraps, a look back at how the series broke barriers and changed the genre

In 2010, a new cartoon debuted with these bold lines.

"Princess Bubblegum," asks Finn, a human boy, "when we bring the dead back to life, will they be filled with worms?"

"No," Princess Bubblegum replies. "If my Decorpsinator serum works, then all the dead candy people will look as young and healthy as you do."

It doesn't quite work out for the dead - candy zombies wreck a slumber party in the first episode of "Adventure Time," but for the living, Pendleton Ward's animated epic becomes a cultural phenomenon. Its 10-season run on Cartoon Network comes to a close Sept. 2 in an hourlong finale, having filled Comic-Con convention halls, inspired innumerable cosplayers and fan artists, and picked up rave reviews, multiple Emmys, a Peabody Award and a Macy's float along the way. Its characters have been modeled for sale in plush and plastic and pixels, as Lego pieces and video game avatars.

Finn (Jeremy Shada) and his shape-shifting dog (John DiMaggio) began the series as romping adventurers, fighting monsters on a generally charming if often dangerous mutant Earth, about a thousand years after the apocalyptic Great Mushroom War. The Land of Ooo is where they live, with its Candy Kingdom, Ice Kingdom, Flame Kingdom, Nightosphere and Lumpy Space, each with its issues, its creatures, its customs, its king or princess.

The series developed over time, from a story of sword-swinging amateur heroics into one more

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