Home Programming A Review of Islands by Pendleton Ward

A Review of Islands by Pendleton Ward

Islands Miniseries

Islands Miniseries

Islands is an animated US miniseries of eight episodes produced by the TV show Adventure Time, and created by Pendleton Ward. The show is the eight season on Cartoon Network.

In Adventure Time, Finn (voice Jeremy Shada) is a young boy adventuring with Jake (voice John DiMaggio) – his best friend and adopted brother who is a dog with magical powers.

In this series, Finn and Jake leave Ooo with Susan Strong (voice Jackie Buscarino and


 BMO (voice Niki Yang). Their goal is to find out about Finn’s origin. They meet various creatures, new friends, and captivating islands on their journey. They end up on Founder’s Island, and here Finn meets, Minerva Campbell (voice Sharon Horgan), his biological mother. He also learns what became of the rest of the human race.

Islands is the second Adventure Time series produced after Stakes (2015).

Before the miniseries was released, a graphic novel was published. This tied into the story and acted as a prequel. The story for the miniseries was developed by Kent Osborne as head writer along with Adam Munto (series showrunner), Jack Pendarvis (story editor), and Ashly Burch (staff writer). Elizabeth Ito and Cole Sanchez were supervising directors while art directorship was handled by Sandra Lee.

Island was released to positive reviews, especially for the character development. The episode Imaginary Resources won an Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 2017 at the 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

The Islands DVD was released on January 24, 2017.


When a large robotic craft arrives looking for Susan Strong, this craft is sent away by Jake. Princess Bubblegum soon examines the wreck and finds it’s of human origin. This prompts Finn the Human to travel across the sea to meet others like him where the craft comes from.

BMP, Susan, and Jake go with Finn on his travels. At first, the journey is straightforward, but soon a series of mishaps take place. The boat is then destroyed by a mysterious giant and all the occupants are thrown overboard. Finn wakes up on an island with dramatically changeable weather. He wanders around for a while before meeting Alva, an old lady who speaks no English. He returns to Alva’s home where he watches her home movies of other humans, now presumably dead.

Later on, Finn and Alva bump into Jake. He tells them that he doesn’t know where Susan or BMO are. Finn and Jake then head to a futuristic island with all people hooked up to a VR simulator. BMO is revealed to be the leader of the VR people. Jake destroys the generator powering the virtual reality set-up when BMP refuses to leave the island.

Finn feels bad for BMO and the humans emerging emaciated from the VR simulator. Although Finn asks Jake to mend the generator, BMP does it himself.

BMO understands that by staying behind, he’ll lose his friends. Along with Finn and Jake, he takes a pod on to the next island. Here, the trio find Susan who starts talking about the past she could never previously recall.

During an extended flashback scene, Finn’s origin is revealed along with the fate of the other human beings. Around a thousand years earlier, a group of humans had escaped from Ooo aboard a container ship (this is shown in Stakes). Eventually, they settled down on an island chain tucked away from the mainland. Over the following millennium, the community become a utopia. Some became disgruntled with the highly structured life and tried to escape the islands. They were hunted down by seekers trained to prevent this.

Susan’s real name is revealed as Kara, and we learn she was a seeker-in-training. Friends with Frieda, a fellow human, Kara started talking about leaving the island. When she approaches the cybernetic human who heads up seeker training (Dr Gross), the doctor persuades Kara that it’s dangerous for humans outside. She uses a remote control to stop Kara from leaving, and she is completely under the control of the doctor. Kara also stops Frieda from leaving.

Action returns to the present and Susan reveals her real name to Finn. She decides to take him to Founders Island so he can meet his mother, Minerva Campbell.

Through another series of flashbacks, we learn how Minerva (a doctor) met Martin Mertens (Finn’s father) when he was in hospital after being mistakenly thought to have been trying to leave the island. The couple fell in love and they had Finn. The group of escapees then looked to take revenge on Martin for a prior betrayal, so he escaped with Finn on a boat. This escape, though, is queered by the colossus, a protective security device for Founders Islands. The colossus attacks the boat. The pair get separated and Finn drifts away. The group of escapees is arrested. Minerva is heartbroken.

Action again returns to the present with the group arriving at Founders Island. Here, humans have been living peacefully. Kara tries to make amends with Frieda while Finn and Jake learn that Minerva now only exists in virtual reality as she digitized her consciousness.

Minerva states that she asked Dr. Gross to send Kara to find Finn. As years passed, the doctor accidentally released a lethal virus that started killing humans. Minerva’s essence was uploaded into a computer and she created helpers to assist humans. She tells Finn that she wants him to stay permanently. Finn tries to persuade Kara that life off-island is not all bad, but she feels it would be dangerous.

Finn attempts to convince the other humans to leave, and they agree. This prompts Minerva to try uploading the consciousnesses of these inhabitants. Finn stops this by sharing with Minerva his memories of helping people. She backs down and understand that Ooo is not as threatening as she believed. The humans decide not to leave, with the exception of Frieda. She tells the others that she has made amends with Kara and the pair head off on their own adventures.

As they set sail bound for Ooo, Finn and Minerva enjoy one final chat through the VR headset and they embrace in the digital sphere.