BMO is at the center of what feels very on-brand from “Adventure Time,” a whirlwind of new characters (a teen rabbit name Y5; a floating, green robot with one eye that BMO names Olive; kleptomaniac bug-looking things), and a task that involves rescuing a new land (in this case, a colony called The Drift). The creative forces behind “Adventure Time” continue to work overtime in offering bizarre new creatures and architecture, like a batch of furry crabs who grow bat wings. Like “Rick and Morty,” part of the fun is just imagining all of the creatures and characters who were dreamed up simply to fill the background of any particular scene. And this new episode is funny too, keeping up the goofy asides by characters, almost playing out like a parody on serious dialogue.
Proving why he’s one of the show’s best characters, BMO gets to show off all of the different sides of a personality that’s made him such a winning, adorable presence. He sings, he wears a cowboy hat with a big smile on his screen/face, he often talks to a sadder version himself in a puddle’s reflection. It’s totally endearing, and if you’ve ever wanted more BMO while watching “Adventure Time” this will more than satisfy that fix. Best of all, during the episode’s course of events, which see BMO going through self-realization and teamwork, BMO creates a fairly complicated character of sometimes being vulnerable, stubborn, or excited. Like the Charles Schulz version of a computer with limbs, BMO is always a robot with a golden heart that a smile of its own, and this episode always has that sweetness in mind.
A significant change to HBO Max’s approach is length. Episodes in “Adventure Time” would usually consist of 11-minute stories, a factor that gave a punchiness to its humor, storytelling, and world-building. But “Distant Lands” is going for 45-minute episodes, and if this BMO episode is any indication, it doesn’t have the same degree of punchiness. And perhaps because this first episode takes viewers to a whole bunch of different locations and follows BMO through some sudden emotional developments, it seems more erratic than that “Adventure Time” tightness. This size is not a deal-breaker, and I don’t think this factor would even separate the fans from the non-fans. But there’s something to be said about leaving audiences wanting more instead of just giving them the full thing.
One episode screened for review.