Has it really been almost two years since I last wrote about a new episode of The Venture Bros.? Yup, seems so. And now here we are, with 2012 winding down, and we finally have a new episode from Jackson and Doc -- "A Very Venture Halloween." It's the first holiday-themed installment of the show since "A Very Venture Christmas" all the way back at the end of season one in 2004. Alright, enough history -- let's get into it. This episode was damn good, and sets the table quite nicely for the upcoming fifth season of the show. For awhile I thought this was going to be a typically light-hearted standalone episode, but Doc Hammer (who wrote this one) took things in a very dramatic direction toward the end. Let's get the frivolity out of the way first -- Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred han...
In addition to being a pretty kickass album and major return to form for Queens of the Stone Age after the disappointing Lullabies to Paralyze, Era Vulgaris features some of the coolest cover art and packaging of recent times. Check it out: These are but two of the characters created for Era Vulgaris - Patchy the Pirate and Bulby. Designed by Jason Noto and Doug Cunningham of Morning Breath Inc., they were part of a relatively elaborate (for QOTSA anyway) marketing campaign leading up to the record's release in June 2007. That campaign included some short promotional videos as well. Here's Bulby explaining just how the QOTSA magic works: And here's Bulby's big day, the photo shoot for the Era Vulgaris album cover. Come to think of it, Bulby sounds like a cross betw
I know from reading Jackson Publick's LiveJournal that producing The Venture Bros. this season has been an arduous task. He, Doc Hammer, and the rest of the AstroBase crew have been working on season 4 since at least summer 2008, and even at that there was a lengthy break in the middle and a shorter break before the season finale. While I give the guys all the credit in the world for busting their ass to produce one of my favorite shows, I can't help but wonder when burnout will start to set in. There's already talk in fan circles that "Operation: P.R.O.M." could just as easily be a series finale as a season finale. But speculation over the fate of the show can wait for another day. Let's first take a look back at the first-ever one-hour Venture Bros. episode and try to figure out w
I'll get the unpleasantness out of the way right now - the Billy Quizboy/Pete White-centric Venture Bros. episodes need to stop for awhile. Billy and Pete are not nearly as interesting as Jackson and Doc seem to think they are, and diving deeper into their pasts, their relationship, or their neuroses doesn't really make for compelling television. Oh yeah, and I didn't see a Monstroso-heavy plot coming. Not sure they really know what to do with the character, outside of the deep voice and jokes about his size. Isn't he really just a more normal version of Baron Ünderbheit, a character they ditched for a few seasons? (more…)
For those who follow these episode recaps, apologies for missing last week's of "Bright Lights, Dean's City". Real life got in the way for the first few days and by the time it got to Wednesday it seemed a bit pointless to write a recap. But real quickly - it was probably a B-, if for no other reason than it felt like the lesser companion to "Everybody Comes to Hank's". It was goofy but I think I'm done with the whole Phantom Limb/Prof. Incredible duo for a bit. So on to "Assisted Suicide", in which Dr. Orpheus returns and the show hits a high mark. As self-contained episodes go, this was one of the best over the past few years. The dialogue was crisp and funny, and there was just enough emotional depth to make it more than fluff. And did I mention Dr. Orpheus? Because he never g
When I first discovered the secret of Hank and Dean Venture - that they're merely the latest in a series of clones whipped up by their father - I was pissed. Even within the kooky world of the Ventureverse, where henchmen die left and right, it seemed to devalue their value as people. It made for some good sight gags (particularly the death montage in "Powerless in the Face of Death"), but felt empty otherwise. I posted as much on Jackson Publick's blog, and he didn't take too kindly to the criticism. But I think what I objected to in truth was that having the boys as clones gave Jackson and Doc a sort-of Venture Plot Etch-A-Sketch, where they could simply hit Reset and still get to off them in increasingly gruesome ways. So when they removed that crutch at the beginning of this seas
One of the ways you can gauge the strength of a show's is not how well they produce original plots and storylines, but how they rework old tropes into an entertaining package. It's sort of like how Led Zeppelin made the blues into something you didn't have to force yourself to enjoy. The Venture Brothers did much the same in its first season by repackaging a litany of hackneyed cartoon plots from the '60s and '70s into a wholly fresh enterprise. Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer migrated away from that more obtuse approach as the series progressed, preferring instead to develop a more intricate, original mythology. Every once in awhile, however, Doc and Jackson kick it old school and produce a self-contained story that feels more like a fun one-off than a very important episode. "A
For the second episode of The Venture Bros.: Season 4.5, the action (and the comedy to a lesser extent) gets dialed back in favor of some really solid character development. It appears to breeze by but on closer examination a lot took place. Firstly, the boys are finally done with their bed-based education (via the "Nerd Pods") and are graduates. Of what, exactly, we're not sure, as we see when Billy Quizboy attempt to play the role of guidance counselor. To nobody's surprise, everyone but Rusty can see that Hank and Dean are ill-equipped to take on the real world. But really, does that make them any different than the rest of the cast? Have any of these people ever held down a legitimate job? Super scientist doesn't count, unless you really are one and not just saying it.
So how do I go about getting me one of those Statutory Ape t-shirts? Or for that matter, an Innerspace DVD? Oh hey, welcome back Venture Bros.! It's been far too long. Anyway, we are finally ready to resume the fourth season, and "The Diving Bell vs. The Butter-Glider" does it in classic style. No heavy myth exploration, no huge character growth, just lots of great dialogue and action. And that's a great way to dive back into the show. So about the title - it's an homage to a novel called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, about a man who awakes from a coma unable to communicate other than by blinking his left eye. That's pretty much how we find ol' Rusty at the beginning of the episode, except that he's in Sgt. Hatred's jeep and is being trailed by the flying cocoon (pilo