There’s a new season of The Venture Bros. airing Stateside as we speak, and if you are lucky enough to be one of its fans, you will probably be loving it so far.
This is the 7th season of the animated show, shown on the Adult Swim label, but in the UK it has still to see the love given to similar shows, such as Rick and Morty. That’s a shame, because as far as this reviewer is concerned, The Venture Bros. is by far the best animated show on the air, and I would go as far as to suggest it’s probably one of the best-written TV shows ever, full stop.
It was created by Jackson Publick, aka Christopher McCulloch, and tells the story of brothers Hank and Dean Venture, their super scientist father Rusty Venture, and faithful bodyguard Brock Samson.
The whole show is a homage to Jonny Quest, a 1964 animated adventure series that is perhaps more well known in the states than over here, which may account for the lack of identification that UK viewers have for this show. However, it won’t take you long to get into the rhythm that the series has.
The show itself is very densely written and to try and give a synopsis here that will bring you up to date would be impossible, so if you do want to take The Venture Bros. on, I suggest starting at season 1 and working your way forward.
The show aired its first season in 2004, so it has taken a while to get to season 7. Episode runs vary from 13 down to 8 and the current run has 10, and with an average run time of around 21 minutes, it’s easy to binge. There has also been a couple of extended special episodes that are often used to tie up loose ends, almost acting as season finales.
The revelations and plot twists come thick and fast in The Venture Bros., and so tightly connected are the seasons that multiple re-viewings are often required to pick up on major plot developments. Throw away lines from previous seasons often return as fully fleshed out plot points, showing an incredible connective tissue to the whole thing. Well, that’s the illusion this creates, whether the writers initially conceive of this in the first place or not.
In the world that is built by Publick and Doc Hammer, a producer and voice actor on the show that has also written 34 episodes so far, we see many pop culture references that shape the narrative. Superhero homages are everywhere you look. Twisted versions of the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Blade… in fact, nearly everyone in Venture World gets a tip of the hat. Half the fun is spotting the less well-known ones as we watch the story unfold.
Movies and TV are also spoofed and a recent episode in season 7 homages Jaws, perfectly.
An amazingly varied cast of characters populate the show, and episodes are often devoted entirely to the so-called villains of the piece. The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend are possibly the greatest super villain combo ever seen in an animated show, and their arc, along with Henchman 24, is a joy to watch.
With a soundtrack by JG Thirwell that conveys the thrill of 60’s TV action thrillers perfectly, and animation that continues to improve every season, The Venture Bros is as near perfect TV as you will find, and I’m hoping a few of you will check it out after reading this overview.
It can be found on DVD and streaming services just now, and I would love to hear your opinions.