Tag: The Monarch

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Operation: P.R.O.M.”

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Operation: P.R.O.M.”

TV & Radio
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
Venture Bros. wrapup: “Assisted Suicide”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “Assisted Suicide”

TV & Radio
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
Venture Bros. wrapup: “Pomp and Circuitry”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “Pomp and Circuitry”

TV & Radio
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.
Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Diving Bell vs. The Butter-Glider”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Diving Bell vs. The Butter-Glider”

TV & Radio
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
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: “Return to Malice”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “Return to Malice”

TV & Radio
OK, so not every episode can be a stone classic.  I said last week that I like the more self-contained Venture Bros. episodes and I stick by that.  But this one felt a little disjointed until the last few minutes.  Maybe it's Doc Hammer's approach to the source material.  Don't get me wrong though, there were plenty of good moments and laughs. Maybe part of the problem is that with three separate storylines to focus on (Sgt. Hatred and Rusty trying to save the boys, the boys contending with a grief-stricken Henchman 21, and the Monarch in desperate need of some Benadryl), there was simply too much ground to cover.  I'm not sure what I would've cut, but I think the Hatred/Rusty bit felt the most flat.  After earning some redemption in my eyes over the course of the season, Sgt. Hatred wa
Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part II)”

TV & Radio
I think I'm gonna need some more time to process the season 3 finale of The Venture Bros., but for right now I can't help but feel a bit let down. I think that's because Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer haven't yet figured out what they really want their show to be.  Do they want it to be an homage/parody of the action/adventure genre, or do they want to fully invest in their own universe and mythology? All signs pointed to the latter as season 2 progressed, and that was reinforced this season with so many plot- and backstory-laden episodes.  The laugh-out-loud moments decreased in general this year, but the payoff was ostensibly a series of richer stories and an opportunity to appreciate the show with more than ironic detachment. (more…)
Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part I)”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “The Family That Slays Together, Stays Together (Part I)”

TV & Radio
No more flashbacks, no more character sketching, and no more filling in questionably important bits of history - the season finale of The Venture Bros. is all about moving forward.  All the buildup and all the backstory is done, so I hope you were paying attention. Actually, if you think about it almost all of this season's back end has really been the finale, since most of the episodes have picked up right where previous ones left off.  So in that sense, everything from "Tears of a Sea Cow" forward has been part of one big story arc. (One caveat before we move forward: the first few minutes of this week's episode were cut for the television broadcast.  If you want to see the entire episode uncut, you can watch it on adultswim.com.) In the cold open, things look bleak for the
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