S8: Enjoyable and engaging in its world building; the Islands mini-series being particularly strong
I'm not wholly sure what season 8 is; according to IMDb and other online sources it runs to 14 episodes and ends with the Islands mini-series, however other sources include all the episodes listed as "season 9" as being part of the eighth season. I don't think it matters, but I did find a certain pleasure in this shorter season, and the satisfying way that Islands closed it out.
Prior to Islands there are 6 episodes which loosely follow-on from the grass-Finn finale of season seven, but then mostly they are stand- alone episodes. These are mostly very good, and I enjoyed seeing James Baxter back in (with an origin story of all things – an origin story for a horse on a beachball!). This origin story is representative of the other episodes though, because although standalone adventures of sorts, they do all link to the wider world – for example High Strangeness has at its core Bubblegum's belief that all of this will end, and at the same time captures her character believing she is doing good while unknowingly doing great harm. These elements are appreciated, while the episodes in themselves are enjoyable.
The same is true of Islands, which extends worlds and characters, while also having a good episodic structure that would more or less work if you were just dipping in and out. The search for humans, and the back-stories that this produces, is imaginative, engaging, and with a lot of substance in there. The world of the Islands, and that of the humans is well created, with the characters engaging and enriching the wider story. I enjoyed the Stakes mini-series in the previous season, but this one was much stronger and fleshed out than that. I see the next batch of episodes also includes a 6-7 episode arc, and I'm hoping that it can produce the same quality of story- telling as this has.
Season 8 is well worth watching though; it produces plenty to enjoy of imaginative and fun, but at the same time it builds the world and characters that viewers will be invested in
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