Come on, grab your friends
We'll go to very distant lands
With Jake the Dog and Finn the Human
The fun will never end, it's Adventure Time!"
What time is it? Describe Adventure Time!
Adventure Time (aka Adventure Time with Finn and Jake) began as a seven-minute short created by Pendleton Ward. Originally produced to be a part of Random! Cartoons on Nickelodeon, it was meant to premiere in Fall of 2007. The animated variety show was delayed until December 2008, but the short was previewed in 2006. As is the way of things, the previewed short was leaked unto the Internet and quickly went viral.
Both the original short and subsequent series feature the adventures of two best friends: Jake the Dog and Finn the Human (Pen the Human in the original short). Their adventures are nonsensical, crazy, and bear more resemblance to a group of kids playing with action figures, or a particularly baked round of Dungeons & Dragons, than a coherent plot... which is probably why it's so dang fun.
Much like Homestar Runner, it's sort of a cross between a children's show and a parody of a children's show. These elements are still very much present even after the show took a turn for the darker. Nickelodeon passed on making it into a series, but their rival Cartoon Network saw its potential and ordered two full seasons off the bat. It started airing on March 11, 2010 to the delight of 2 million viewers.
Thanks to the massive success of the series, the show has spawned an increasing range of spin-offs in other media, details of which can be found at the Franchise page.
On October 2nd, 2014, Pendleton Ward announced to Rolling Stone that he had stepped down from his position as the showrunner of the series. He claims that working on such a beast of a project just really wore him out. He continues to remain as a storyboard artist, script writer, and voice actor. Ward has since between succeeded as showrunner by Adam Muto, who has been involved with Adventure Time since the original pilot.
On September 29, 2016, after months of reruns not being aired frequently and new episodes not getting as heavy promotion as they once had, Cartoon Network announced on their Twitter page that the show would end in 2018. However, the series has continued going strong for the time being, with a total of ten seasons, making it one of the longest-running series on Cartoon Networknote . With the amount of merchandise and other media spinoffs the work as garnered, it's probably fair to describe Adventure Time as one of Cartoon Network's great success stories.
The Recap page is in need of more love.