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...
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…)
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
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
For a guy who earned two doctorates in the space of a few months, Dr. Jonas Venture Jr. sure can be a dummy sometimes. Dredging up the past, now matter how well-intentioned, is typically a bad idea when super-scientists, adventurers, and their arch nemeses are involved. This week we delve deep into the past of some significant people and places. In an action-packed flashback we see Dr. Jonas Venture going undercover (barely) to infiltrate the Fraternity of Torment (Scaramantualla, Manotaur, and Brainula), who have taken little Rusty hostage. In storms the original Team Venture - Col. Gentleman, Ook-Ook, Kano, Otto Aquarius, Speedy, a very large Dr. Entmann as Humungeloid, and a psychotic Action Man, who goes apeshit and unloads two gun clips into a hapless henchman - to save Rusty
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