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...
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
There's always some danger going into an episode like "The Better Man", which fanboys like me knew in advance would mark the triumphant return of Dr. Orpheus and the Order of the Triad. The Triad is sort of like the Boba Fett of the Ventureverse - they don't get a lot of screen time but are basically awesome every second you see them, and as a result fans have grown intensely fond of them. So the danger is that when you know they're going to get a spotlight episode, it will be a letdown. (more…)
Setup episodes can be very tricky to pull off. They've got to provide enough information to set the stage for what is to come, and yet be entertaining in and of themselves. Too much information and the story becomes cluttered, and not very fun to watch. But make things too subtle, and the episode can seem like a one-off at best, a throwaway at worst. So how does "ORB", an obvious setup episode, fare? Pretty well, thankfully. The mystery kicks off in the cold open, as the too-smart-for-his-own-good Billy Quizboy pulls a Beautiful Mind and unravels a hidden message in his copies of the old Rusty Venture cartoon. It's a set of coordinates leading to the Venture Compound, in what turns out to be Brock's herb garden. When Brock refuses to help dig, it's up to Hank to do the work
Well that was...f&@*ed up. It seems poor Doc Venture is once again left to clean up one of his father's messes. And speaking of Jonas Venture, the shine sure has come off his apple this season, eh? The action this week returns to Venture Industries - deep below Venture Industries, in fact (just how friggin' big is this place anyway?). Rusty and Brock drop through the floor of the compound and find themselves trapped in different areas of what's revealed to be a giant nuclear fallout shelter. While Brock ends up chatting with a miniaturized cohort of the late Dr. Venture (the cleverly named Dr. Paul Entmann), Rusty fares considerably less well. It turns out the shelter is still inhabited, and has been since a 1978 accident forced its closure. Well, maybe accident is stret
I can't be the only one who made instant comparisons between this week's episode of The Venture Bros. and the classic season 1 entry, "Tag Sale - You're It!" The obvious link is Doc Hammer, who wrote both episodes. But more than that, the episodes contain the same ingredients for awesomeness -- clever dialogue, a deceptively simple plot, tons of great cameos, and just enough intrigue to keep the overall story arc moving. As for that deceptively simple plot, it pretty much goes like this -- Dr. Venture, strapped for cash, converts his compound into Rusty's Day Camp for Boy Adventurers. And unbeknownst to all but Brock, the Monarch seizes the opportunity to do some reconnaissance (do not call it arching!). Working off that framework, "The Buddy System" is a parade of character v
For those who griped about the lack of Ventures in the season 3 premiere, you got what you wanted this week. In fact, we all got more Venture than we bargained for... "The Doctor Is Sin" covered a very familiar theme in the Venture universe -- failure. And of course, the biggest failure on the show is none other than Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture himself. And at first, things continue to look mighty grim for the son of Dr. Jonas Venture - he can't find any cheap Mexican labor to work in his lab and he still can't outperform his twin brother. But most dire of all: his Potemkin village-esque attempt to land a new government contract falls flat, putting the very future of Venture Industries into doubt. While all this is going on, Dr. Venture has to deal with the loss of the Monarch as hi...