Well at least for one movie: The Venture Bros: Radiant Is The Blood Of The Baboon Heart. Yeesh, what a mouthful.
The Venture Bros is an age-old favorite of mine, starting way back in 2003. The show began as a bit of a Johnny Quest parody, though it went well beyond that. I love Rick and Morty but I know people think they feel really smart watching it. They need to realize that it has nothing on The Venture Bros. While it never gets hard and heavy on the “science,” it really built up an extensive cast of characters. How to explain this? Well everyone takes everything that happens in this show completely seriously and at the same time, not at all seriously. I would have to say it’s a weird cross between a huge epic science fiction adventure show and Seinfeld.
The show’s greatest strengths are in its weird contradictions. For instance, nearly every single character is a parody of something. From Dr. Orpheus being a clear Dr. Strange parody to Jefferson, the killer of Blaculas being somewhat of a Blade and seventies Blacksploitation hero, to an organization that is part S.H.I.E.L.D. and part G.I. Joe, and a villain guild that can be any parody it needs to be for the story. All of these things could be just what they started out being: parody references.
Except they aren’t, they become actual fully realized characters in this world. They grow and change to a greater or lesser extent and you end up caring about them. Oh sure, this show is never going to make you weepy or nostalgic, it’s far too cynical for that. But it does treat its insane variety of characters with enough respect to keep you invested. It’s a fine line to walk and yet the show has managed it for two decades. There is only one theme for all these characters: Failure. Never has it been so damn entertaining.
Well past tense, The Venture Bros was unfortunately and unexpectedly cancelled in 2018. Although it ran for a long time, it has fewer episodes than the original Star Trek and each episode is half as long. So if you can find it, go watch it. It’s still on MAX and contrary to some ugly rumors, will be there for the foreseeable future.
That brings up to this new movie, and no I’m not typing out that damn title again. Suffice it to say, this is the closest to a season 8 we will get and everything is still firing on all cylinders. The Monarch and Gary still make an entertaining duo, Doctor Mrs. The Monarch still loves her doofus and still sounds like a chain-smoking Jewish lawyer from Brooklyn. Rusty is still trying and failing. However, there are some interesting things tied up from the last season, including what happened to Dean, the mystery of the Venture Bros. mother, and the state of the war between OSI and Guild of Calamitous Intent. I believe there’s still some paperwork being filled out on that last one. Is there a big win? Kinda, but mostly to keep something that should never have happened from happening.
The voice cast is stellar as usual. Voices that have been a part of the show from years past all show up, there’s too many to mention. The movie just got released so I’ll avoid spoilers. If you love The Venture Bros, this will feel just like where you left off and you’ll be smiling again. If you are expecting something above and beyond what you’ve seen, or something epic… well then you are missing the point of the show. Not to say there aren’t some big revelations but pretty much this doesn’t change that much of the status quo.
The Venture Bros is steeped in 50s optimism. Everything was “GO! GO! SPACE FORCE ALPHA YEAH!!” back then. The architecture, the technology, it was all tinged with the belief that we could accomplish anything. The decades have borne out that while some things are indeed better, we never really made it to the Jetsons. This show reflects that beautifully, with everyone in this absurd world living in that backdrop built on optimism, yet nearly all of them are just brimming with bitterness and cynicism. Oh sure, there are a few that aren’t so dour but for the most part, everyone’s a mess.
And that’s just fine. Sometimes you need a bucket of cold water thrown on your dreams and snap you back to reality. When you are in that kind of mood, this show is just the right thing to pop on the TV. The movie is more of the same, and that’s a good thing.
Shawn T Watched It Too!
I started this review before knowing Yoda was doing one. I’m a YUGE fan of the series and wanted to add my 2 cents.
The Venture Brothers is, undoubtedly, the greatest animated series of all time. It surpasses the Marvel meets Johnny Quest genre. It’s more than just a show that reflects Gen X as a generation that refused to drop our comics and kids games when we discovered booze and women, and just dragged it with us.
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