(Yar, there be Spoilers ahead matey)
For those of you who don’t know, Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros is quite simply one of THE BEST animated shows out there and it’s back for only it’s sixth season in twelve years. Hank and Dean Venture are the sons of a caustic super scientist who all live in a Watchmen-esque universe which straddles reality and the popular culture tropes of supervillains and superheroes.
We re-join our titular protagonists as they begin their new life in NYC after inheriting the vast fortune from their deceased uncle Jonas Venture Junior. Now that their status in life has gone up they are reassigned their former bodyguard, “Übermensch” Brock Sampson, as they come to grips with their new found fortune and unwarranted attention from a fresh cavalcade of arch nemeses.
Check out the trailer below.
Much like episodes of Sherlock and My Bloody Valentine albums, new series’ of The Venture Brothers are as rare as ice cubes in the Sahara but that’s a good thing. Unlike other major networks Adult Swim trust writers Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick and do well to leave them alone; quality trumps quantity and it really shows. Venture Bros has a depth and continuity which is rare to see on programmes these days and what’s more it’s extremely funny. Whilst shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken rub our noses in the pop culture references, The Venture Bros subtlety nods and winks at the zeitgeist; right down to the décor of the sets, directly influenced by the Ken Adam’s James Bond masterpieces. The show by itself is a huge homage to the Hanna Barbera series Jonny Quest and plays on the Boy Scout innocence of the two brothers early on. But as the series progresses it is revealed their state of arrested development is due to the fact they get killed all the time and they are in fact clones with memory implants. Once their army of “pre formed slugs” are destroyed in the season 3 finale their father no longer has the safety net of reanimating them and thus their characters grow into proper adolescents with hang ups and insecurities.
The shows main stars are backed up by a whole host of characters and organisations giving the show’s universe a layered quality and complexity that can only be matched by The Simpsons, which has quadruple the amount of episodes and a thirteen year head start. There are so many that it would be impossible to boil down but, off the top of my head: Pete White, Billy Quizboy, Dr Orpheus, The Monarch, Henchman 21, Action Man, David Bowie (yes he’s in it), Henchman 24, Pirate Captain, Triana, Molotov Cocktease and Col Hunter Gathers are among the finest creations in the series. Even their LGBT characters are refreshingly and lovingly portrayed. Each character is an homage to some form of cult fandom and each character has a full back story with rich histories which intertwine with the core plot.
What amazes me is the lack of following in this side of the Atlantic, not to say Venture Bro’s isn’t watched over here but I feel it hasn’t got the recognition it deserves. Normally the way to gauge the pulse of the masses is to stroll on down to a comic convention and see how many people are dressed in that particular fandom getup. I cosplayed “Henchman 21” with giant orange wings and yellow antennae on my head yet not that many people “got” my costume and I saw no other Venture Brothers cosplayers that weekend. A quick Google of VB cosplayers shows huge meetups at conventions in the States. The show has huge potential for cosplayers as there are so many costumed villains and good guys to emulate. A few people came over and high fived me; we all felt the knowledge that “yes, this show is awesome and we know it!” Kinda like an animated Fight Club. Now with Adult Swim moving to Fox UK in September 2015 and people’s tech savviness to get shows from the US online The Venture Bros is gaining more and more fans over here.
Normally for a review like this I would throw in my top 5 episodes but with a show of such consistently high quality it’s a near impossible task. I would simply recommended a weekend of binge watching in order to get up to speed with season 6. That’s 66 episodes so far including a few specials thrown in to keep the fans happy due to sparsity of new content . One particular moment that brought a tear to my eye was the Season 4 finale which included one of the greatest use of a Pulp song in a TV show. You’ll know it when you hear it.
The Venture Brothers is the jewel in the crown of the amazing Adult Swim channel which is keeping its track record of excellence on a high with shows like Rick and Morty, Metalocalypse, SuperJail, The Boondocks, Black Dynamite and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law to name but a few. In short, if you haven’t seen this show it is a nerd’s show, for nerds, by nerds.
Happy viewing and GO TEAM VENTURE!!!
Follow the author on Twitter @hughesms