TV Review: The Venture Bros. - Season One.

After immense and nearly endless hype from one of my friends/co-workers, I finally got around to watching this. Well, ironically, I got season one from another friend/co-worker who the aforementioned friend/co-worker got to watch it first (and then who bought the seasons herself). But then the first friend also lent me season two, which I’ll be reviewing at a later time (once, you know, I actually watch it). Long story short, and as many people know, sometimes hype can kill something for you.

I’m not saying I disliked it (not at all). I found it rather enjoyable. But let me split it up like this: the first season is split into two discs. The first disc has the first 8 episodes, and the second disc has the last 5 for the season. While I found the first 8 seasons mostly entertaining, I didn’t do much more than give a rare chuckle. However, the last 5 episodes, I was laughing out loud through quite a bit of each episode.

For those that don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, let me explain. The Venture Bros. is a rip on old action/adventure cartoons such as Johnny Quest. Dr. Venture is a bald super-genius/scientist with daddy issues. Dean and Hank Venture are his straight-laced and incredibly dimwitted sons. And then there’s Brock Samson, their hulk of a bodyguard, a man fueled by sex and violence. But you can’t have a superhero-esque adventure team without super-villain arch-nemeses… at least self-proclaimed arch-nemeses… such as The Monarch, a rather pathetic villain with butterfly themes. And The Monarch’s sexy girlfriend with a man-ish voice… Dr. Girlfriend. There’s a whole slew of other characters, as well, such as the Venture’s next door neighbor Dr. Orpheus, a necromancer/magician with a taste for histrionics… as well as his goth daughter Triana, whom Dean has a major crush on.

There’s not really a main story to the show. It’s basically their random adventures that are usually more stupid occurrences that are made out to be bigger than they really are… with the rare event that something dumb somebody does makes it worse than it should have been in the first place. There are things that carry over from episode to episode, such as Dean’s building crush on Triana or The Monarch’s relationship with Dr. Girlfriend.

As I said earlier, the first 8 or so episodes are entertaining, but they didn’t have me in hysterics. But I started episode 9, and was laughing within the first, pre-credits scene. And I’ve been told season 2 is funnier, so that makes me happy. The stories often parody different genres or shows. There have been appearances from the 6 Million Dollar Nan to Fantastic Four rip-offs and more.

But the show is really more about the characters than the story. My personal favorites are Brock Samson and Dr. Orpheus (I can’t see how anybody could hate Dr. Orpheus). Both characters are just so over-the-top in what they do. Brock’s tendencies toward violence are both fun and funny (I personally love the scene at the opening of episode 9 where a plane crashes immediately overhead as he’s washing his car. A guy comes running at him in flames, screaming, and without even looking, Brock punches the guy out and turns the hose onto the guy). It also helps that he’s voiced by the same guy who voices Joe in Family Guy, but in a much more subtle way than he does with Joe. And Dr. Orpheus… well, it’s hard to explain him. He’s just very theatrical in everything he does. Dean and Hank are starting to grow on me though. There needs to be a lot more from H.E.L.P.eR., though, because he’s hardly in show, and mostly only for plot point reasons.

There’s not a whole hell of a lot to say about this first season. I haven’t been sold on the “best cartoon series ever to grace the planet” as so many people seem to dub it (just check IMDb with its currently 9.5 rating). But I’ve been promised that season two is especially hilarious, so I’m looking forward to it (especially if it’s anything like the last 5 episodes of season one). Would I recommend it? Sure. It’s not bad at all. You can catch it on Adult Swim on late-night Cartoon Network, or just rent it or borrow it or something like I did. It’s wacky, funny, and action-packed (usually, anyway). And that season one finale was freakin’ epic. I don’t want to ruin it, but let’s just say… Brock, a flaming car, and a giant robot. And of course John Woo doves. That about says it all, really…

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