I’m very happy to say that the third season of the cartoon the Venture Brothers started three weeks ago on Cartoon Network. You don’t know what Venture Brothers is, you say? Well that’s exactly why I’m posting this, to let everyone who just happens to come here but still doesn’t know about this excellent show in on what it’s all about.
Venture Brothers is a very adult themed spoof of Johnny Quest type shows, it runs on Adult Swim which should give you some idea of what I mean when I say “adult themed”. If you liked the animated The Tick series, then you will most likely love VB because the main creator (Jackson Publick) of VB worked on The Tick as well. The show’s title might give you the impression that it focuses on the adventures of the appropriately named Venture brothers, but they are really secondary to their father, former boy wonder Rusty Venture, and his hilarious bodyguard Brock Samson (voiced by Patrick Warburton). The show beautifully blends several themes like fantasy, super-science, and campiness into a supple goo of episodic television content. The first two seasons of the show are available on DVD, but what really inspired this post is the now running third season.
Right now it is only three episodes in to the season, but from just those episodes I can tell that the whole package will be worth buying on DVD. The animation seems to have significantly improved from the previous seasons, and the writing seems to have an extra layer of polish on it. This may be due to the fact that the creators pushed this season off for a few months, I assume because they always talked about finishing up episodes only a week or less before they hit the air, and it has paid off.
One big complaint people might have about the show is that many episodes typically don’t feature some or all of the main characters at all, and often focus entirely on secondary or even obscure characters with only passing references or appearances to the main cast / plot. What this creates for me is the sense that each episode is actually too short, as I want to see more and how the main characters are involved in each particular episode. This feeling is increased by the continued use of smash cuts at the beginning and end of each episode where scenes will be abruptly cut off by the credits or the end of an episode, typically in humorous and dramatic ways. I enjoy it because this keeps anticipation and tension building from episode to episode through each season, but I can see it annoying or putting off some people.
The first episode of season 3, “Shadowman 9: In the Cradle of Destiny”, is one such episode where the main cast of characters barely makes an appearance (I believe Dr. Venture isn’t in it at all), and the episode entirely covers sub-plots and secondary characters. It is still an extremely entertaining episode, but might leave some people wondering what the point is of having these things take up an entire episode. The improved animation was most notable in the second episode titled “The Doctor is Sin”, where the show successfully brought back several minor characters from earlier seasons with much hilarity. The same is true of the latest episode in the third season, “The Invisible Hand of Fate”, which built up some interesting back story from the previous two seasons, but the animation seemed different for this one episode and was not much of an improvement over the previous seasons. Hopefully the increased quality of the first two episodes continues through the rest of this season.
If there is nothing else you like about Venture Brothers, it definitely is a unique show on television and even within the Adult Swim line-up. Check it out if you haven’t already!