The Venture Bros. may be one of the most daring and original shows to ever exist. Not only does it go on extremely long breaks that make me want to punch a walrus, but it also manages to change itself up every season. Each time they make a major change you think “nah, it won’t last, it’s just a ploy.” Soon you’re into the next season and you realize it’s sticking. The boys aren’t going to be kept perpetually young. They graduate from high school and explore their own collegial careers. On top of that you change up the Brock dynamic and replace him with Sergeant Hatred and…well, lets just say that the creators were being genial when they started out slow by altering The Monarch’s lineup before they started futzing with the main cast. What it all boils down to is The Venture Bros. is not just a daring show for changing things up on a regular basis, but also changing things up for the better. Never has one of these alterations in character storylines or series storylines ever backfired and while that is fantastic for the fans, it must be kind of nerve wracking to keep up that tradition for the creators.
Questions are answered and truths are revealed. Learn how Henchman 21 copes with life without 24. See what happens when Brock and the Venture family are forced to part ways. Discover the final fate of H.E.L.P.eR. And all the while, the balance of the free world hangs in the hands of Dean Venture, who must kill Hitler.
It’s hard to review only half of this fourth season because for some reason they’ve gone and done a volume split (why? I have no idea—this volume got released weeks before the season finale was set to air, so it seems incredibly superfluous to have it in volumes now) and separating the first eight episodes from the more recent ones is difficult. While each episode stands on it’s own it also builds upon a continuing arc. It also introduces some incredibly random material that really has no bearing on anything whatsoever, but it’s so hilarious that it really doesn’t matter.
What’s so great about this series is it genuinely moves plot devices along. It keeps characters relationships advancing (except maybe the title characters, as they kind of just…don’t learn much) and the storylines that accompany them are so wonderfully written. I really don’t get as much enjoyment from watching this series as I do others; the humor is always on-target and hilarious and the timing of the dialogue is always fantastic (especially when it comes to The Monarch).
I can only hope that the series continues to be as terrific as it has been and that adult swim continues to let it grow. I know this is a bit of a strange thing to say about a cartoon that gets hit with TV-MA ratings for bad language and juvenile situations, but when it’s written at such a consistent level, it’s hard not to become passionate about a show like this. That and I really just want more people to watch this series, as the longer it’s on the longer I feel that I can safely watch cartoons without realizing that I’m a man in his mid-20s still watching cartoons.
Between the mix of mocking of past adventure cartoons like Johnny Quest (and even the inclusion of some of those characters as well) and the fast-paced dialogue that remains funny from beginning to end, Venture Bros. is one of the best animated shows to come down the pike in years. Do yourself a favor and check out this show—even if you don’t usually get into cartoons, Venture Bros. is written in such a way that it can appeal to even the most diverse (and then probably repulse them with how perverse it can get) crowd.
This season (or this half) especially manages to entertain with the newly buffed 24 that kicks an incredible amount of ass. Pile on the expansion of Hank’s persona as a Brock-wannabe (and Brock’s signing up with SPHINKS), Dean’s boy-scientist studies and an incredibly and very disturbing inclusion of Kevin Conroy has a very, very creepy superhero and you have a fourth season that just doesn’t quit. Admittedly this first batch of eight is pretty rocky in terms of consistent quality, but it’s still hilarious and if you stick with it and watch the last half of the season you’ll find that the show manages to keep going with rock solid story lines and hilarious one-off guest star superheroes (Nathan Fillion’s character was super strange). Sadly we don’t get Stephen Colbert back as Professor Impossible, but still…it’s a good season all around and this first half is a great way to ease yourself into the multitude of changes it has in store. Highly Recommended.
This is a single disc release in a single disc Amaray case inside of a slipcase (to better match your shelf). Of course if you have the previous season on Blu-ray like I do then the shelf looks askew already. I can only hope they’re going to do a Blu-ray release once the entire season is finished because the show looks and sounds great on that format. Not that the DVD doesn’t look and sound good as well with it’s crystal clear video and DD5.1 audio…it’s just that the Blu-ray is…well, Blu-ray. It just looks and sounds better, dammit. Still, the packaging does look cool (as it always does) and the menus are easy and awesome to navigate.
Extras include the fact that these are uncensored episodes and that there are deleted scenes to accompany some of them. In addition there’s a brief Comic-Con segment and a “Lost” opening to the season, all of which adds up to a little over twenty minutes of extras. But you can always count on the usual commentary-on-every-episode tradition so on top of the twenty minutes we have eight commentaries to check out as well—all of which are as highly entertaining and informative as they have been on past season sets.
Overall The Venture Bros. Season 4, Volume 1 release may end up being moronic if they just release a full season set down the line, but for now it’s a Highly Recommended release just because it’s cheap and will provide you with hours of entertainment. At the very least you should Netflix it whilst you wait for the rest of the season.
The Venture Bros. – Season 4, Volume 1 is now available on DVD.