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
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
At some point before season four of The Venture Bros. gets underway, I'm going to run a countdown of the top 10 episodes from the first three. And right now I can't think of any reason why "The Lepidopterists" won't be on that list. With a few exceptions, I've been thoroughly entertained by all of this season's episodes, but this one had me laughing out loud as much as when I discovered the show sometime around the beginning of season one. And that's definitely saying something. To start, the cold open here is one of the funniest of any show I've ever seen. We join the action right where "Tears of a Sea Cow" left off - with the Monarch's flying cocoon hurtling toward Spider-Skull Island and a showdown with Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr. JJ doesn't quite get what's going on ("not sure w
Ever been on a blind date that you knew was a disaster right from the start, yet you felt obligated to see it through to the bitter end? Such seems to be the recurring fate of the Monarch, forced to endure a supremely lame archenemy pairing at the beginning of "Tears of a Sea Cow" (working title "Murder O'Clock"). But soon the misery is over, and he turns his attention back to his true hate...Dr. Venture. After quickly (and permanently) dispatching his newest and lamest foe, Dr. Dugong, a frustrated and bored Monarch can't restrain himself any longer - with Doc Venture away showing his Vacuum Boom-Broom, he gives in to his true feelings and takes #21 and #24 out to f&*@ up an empty Venture compound. The Monarch and #21 take a hilarious slide down to the Monarchmobile (#24 wisely
I came to an important realization while watching last night's episode of The Venture Bros. - of all the characters in the Ventureverse, the pair of Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy is my least favorite. So read my take on this episode with that in mind. As with the premiere episode of the season, "The Invisible Hand of Fate" is devoted to flashbacks intended to provide insight into some characters (in this case, the aforementioned Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy). We learn that the pair were in cahoots on a quiz show (Quizboys, which White hosted) in a setup obviously recalling the 1950s game show scandals. When Billy's scam is uncovered, the pair are exiled and take to the underground quiz circuit to raise money for a trip to Venture Industries (where they hope to gain e...
Ahhhhhhhhhh, that's better. After months and months of waiting, Season 3 of The Venture Bros. is finally upon us. And true to form, the season opener, "Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny," was full of surprises (so if you don't want to know them, stop reading now). The first surprise is that no one with the surname Venture appears for more than about 10 seconds in this episode, and even then they have no dialogue. Rather, this was all about the Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend (who will apparently not be changing her name to Dr. Wife despite her recent marriage to the Monarch). The story of their odd courtship is told through a series of flashbacks, with the framing device being another Monarch trial - this time held by the Guild of Calamitous Intent. Second surprise -- turns out th