Tag: reviews

Book Report — Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game

Book Report — Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game

Books
The last few years have been conflicting ones for football fans. While NFL devotees wrestle with their collective conscience regarding the impact of football on it's participants' long-term health, the sport has arguably never been more popular (or certainly more financially successful). While not ignoring the troubling revelations coming out almost daily on the medical front, the rich history of football in the United States is still worthy of celebration. It is in the spirit of this celebration that we now have the fantastic visually striking Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America's Game (Abrams Books 2013). The book was written by Library of Congress author Susan Reyburn, and it is this association that is Football Nation's greatest strength. So let's talk about that. ...
Venture Bros. Wrapup: “A Very Venture Halloween”

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “A Very Venture Halloween”

TV & Radio
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...
Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Self-Medication” (S04E06)

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Self-Medication” (S04E06)

TV & Radio
I'm a week behind on recapping the latest VB installment, but since last night's episode was a repeat of the season premiere it's all good.  So without any further preamble, let's get into it. The formula for "Self-Medication" is vintage Venture - some intense action (particularly during the cold open), and some further exploration of the larger theme of failure that permeates the entire VB universe.  And by the time we're done, some major characters find themselves at a crossroads. First up is good ol' Doc, who nearly meets a gruesome end at the hands of a newly emboldened and energized Monarch (how can you not love a device called a 'scarionette'??).  Rusty is literally saved by the bell, when a fortunately timed therapy appointment triggers a new Guild clause (the Mental Healt
Venture Bros. Wrapup: “The Lepidopterists” (S03E10)

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “The Lepidopterists” (S03E10)

TV & Radio
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

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman” (S03E06)

TV & Radio
Ahhh, now that's the stuff! What's not to love about "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman"?  There was plenty of action, mystery, and top-notch jokes.  Oh yeah, and my prayers about seeing more Hank and Dean were answered tenfold.  This was vintage Venture Bros. my friends. Save for a few brief (but extremely relevant) flashbacks into Dr. Venture's life, this was a completely self-contained episode; the first one of the season.  In it we find Rusty in the Amazon, where he has stolen a native fertility idol, for completely selfish and non-financial reasons.  He is almost overtaken by a local tribe, but is rescued at the last minute by Dr. Tara Quymn. Thanks to some great flashbacks we learn the pair knew each other as children, when a budding romance was killed by, you guessed it, Rusty's f
Venture Bros. Wrapup: “The Buddy System” (S03E05)

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “The Buddy System” (S03E05)

TV & Radio
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

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Home Is Where the Hate Is” (S03E04)

TV & Radio
As depressing as it is to contemplate, we're now just about one-third of the way through season 3 of The Venture Bros. I'll let that sink in for a moment before diving into the newest episode, "Home Is Where the Hate Is." This week picks up the thread of the season premiere, as we see how the Monarch is adjusting both to married life and life without Dr. Venture as his arch-nemesis   He and his new bride, Dr. Mrs. The Monarch, are the newest residents of Malice, a housing development for supervillains.  But first the Monarch undertakes some housecleaning, which is to say he burns anything that reminds him of his wife's relationship with Phantom Limb. But it turns out that what's really bothering the Monarch isn't Phantom Limb; it's his new post-Venture life.  Depressed, he declin

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “The Doctor Is Sin” (S03E02)

TV & Radio
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...

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny” (S03E01)

TV & Radio
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