The Adult Swim series of shows from Cartoon Network are sometimes amazingly hilarious, sometimes overly bizarre, but always creative. While some of the shows, such as Robot Chicken are roll-on-the-floor funny, others are just too strange for me. Lucky for me, The Venture Bros. falls into the first category. While not a constant source of laughter, this show is always clever and contains a few big laughs in each episode.
The Venture brothers are the sons of a moderately-successful scientis…. His feelings about the keen (and possibly homosexual) gents are not exactly warm and fuzzy. While he doesn’t want anything to happen to them (as evidenced by the fact that they have a bodyguard that feels like he is right out of a Sin City comic), this is really more of a “Dr. Evil / Scott Evil” relationship. The episodes also largely see the boys as an obstacle to the Dr.’s plots at becoming the world’s greatest scientist, which makes me wonder why they have become the shows namesake.
Each week, the group must battle someone who wants to destroy them, be it a rival scientist, mummies or your every day manner of evil villain. This show reminds me a lot of a many of the Saturday-morning Nickelodeon shows that are aimed primarily at children, except for the fact that much of the subject matter treads much closer to Kill Bill than Kenny the Shark.
The audio track for these shows is actually pretty great. The score is nicely spread out between the front two speakers, and it takes full advantage of all that the stereo format has to offer. There is also some quality (and very clean) use of the subwoofer. As all of the dialog is recorded in a booth instead of on location, each voice is clean, clear and very easy to interpret. This is a really outstanding audio track for an animated show, and viewers will be very pleased with what they find here.
The video quality is also quite good. One of the nice things about animated shows is that for the vast majority of the time, viewers really can’t tell the difference between standard an widescreen presentations. That is the case here as well, so owners of widescreen displays should not be discouraged by the full screen format. In fact, there are plenty of things that viewers have to be happy about. The colors are really great, and there are no problems with bleed over; even on a screen filled with shades of red. There are some edge problems, however, but they are not particularly annoying.
The special features kick off with a couple of bonus episodes; the Pilot episode and a Christmas special. Also included are a few deleted scenes from six of the sets 13 episodes. These are really more like animatics than finished scenes, and they are mostly extended ones at that. Still, I am never one to complain about deleted scenes being included on a set. Also here is a behind the scenes of the Venture Bros. Live action movie featurette. Of course, there is no live action movie in the works, and this extra is really just an interview with some guys in bad costumes. Still, the joke is funny, and it actually reminds me a bit of something you might see on Space Ghost.
Finally, the extras wrap up with a segment on animating Hank and Dean. Like most of the rest of this show, this segment is a little bit serious, but entirely presented in a ridiculous and tongue-in-cheek fashion.
This is another one of those great Adult Swim shows that will no doubt find a home for itself on DVD, and grow its audience on Cartoon Network as a result. It is really quite amazing that the network can find so many brilliantly bizarre shows to fit into their Adult Swim lineup. While Robot Chicken is my favorite of these programs, the Venture Bros. has now officially been added to my rotation, right alongside Sealab 2021 and the classic that is Family Guy.
Special Features List
- Show pilot: The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay
- Bonus episode: A Very Venture Christmas
- Deleted scenes
- Behind the scenes of the live-action movie