In the eleven years since it started, The Venture Bros. has evolved from a parody of such adventure cartoons and comic books as, Scooby-Doo, Johnny Quest, and The Fantastic Four into a supremely surreal and skewed ’toon…which parodies such comic books and adventure cartoons as Scooby-Doo, Johnny Quest, and The Fantastic Four. The newest adventures of which are now available on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Venture Bros.: The Fifth Season.
Picking up the morning after the previous season ended,
we find Brock and the rest of Sphinx going workfor the O.S.I.; Gary, the henchman formerly known as 21, taking over Sphinx and trying to be a good guy; Dean, having learned where he comes from, has become a sullen teen with a Goth look; Hank still trying to be Brock as well as Jack Bruce; The Monarch and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch still trying to kill Doctor Venture; and the good Doctor still trying to make a buck.
Along the way there are plenty of references to Star Wars, G.I. Joe, the original Clash Of The Titans, and so on, but the plots are so far removed from the parody of the week thing they used to do that I doubt anyone who hasn’t been with this since the beginning would have any clue what the hell is going on.
For those who’ve already seen these episodes, especially by streaming or downloading them, you’ll not only notice how much nicer they look and sound better here than they did on your PC — especially on Blu-ray, where they’re especially purdy — but also that they’re uncensored. Which doesn’t change a whole lot, there’s just the occasional un-bleeped curse word, an un-pixilated penis, and a couple of boobs (relax, they’re Sergeant Hatred’s), but it’s still cool to hear Hank yell “SUPER FUCKING RUN AWAY!!” without thinking you’re getting a phone call.
The episodes are also augmented…
with commentaries by creator / writer Jackson Publick and co-writer/director/executive producer Doc Hammer. Both of whom are quite entertaining because they take a rather off-the-cuff approach. Instead of discussing how the episode was made like this was a mini film school, they just give little trivia bits and remembrances from making the episode as they casually talk about making it. It’s also sometimes helpful since they point out callbacks to earlier episodes you might not remember as well as they do.
Along with the regular episodes, The Venture Bros.: The Fifth Season also has two special ones: “A Very Venture Halloween” and “From The Ladle To The Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story,” both of which aired prior to this season (so you might want to watch them first). In the former, the boys and Hank’s pal Dermott visit a supposedly haunted house, while Dr. Orpheus throws a party that gets out of hand; in the latter, the show goes all Behind The Music/E! True Hollywood Story on Hank and Dermott’s band, Shallow Gravy.
As you can imagine, the latter is quite different from the typical Venture Bros. episode, mostly because it’s a parody of those TV documentaries, though also because it’s only a dozen minutes long, and the last two of them are the music video for the song “Jacket.” But “Halloween,” well, that’s just an episode set on Halloween. It even, fittingly, gets its own commentary track. Equally fitting: here the curse words are bleeped.
The Venture Bros.: The Fifth Season…
also has five minutes of deleted and extended scenes, some of which are quite entertaining, even if it is clear why they were cut down or excised completely. There’s also a three-minute video called “FAX My Grandson, a.k.a. The Audio Adventures Of Diamond Backdraft” which seems to be audio outtakes from voice actor Larry Murphy as the character Diamond Backdraft. Or maybe it’s Murphy doing fake audio outtakes. Either way, its pretty funny.
Of course, since nothing is perfect — and god forbid I ever be satisfied — there are a couple of spots where The Venture Bros.: The Fifth Season comes up short. As entertaining as the commentaries may be, they’d be even more so if some of the voice actors joined in. Also, it would’ve been cool if they included footage from the show’s Comic-Con panel, the trailers they made to promote this season, or pictures from the t-shirt of the week thing they did.
Though, really, the complaint I could make that has any real substance is that it would’ve been better if you could watch the deleted scenes individually — say after you watch their respective episodes — instead of all at once.
As is, though,
The Venture Bros.: The Fifth Season still presents the latest adventures of the Venture clan with great audio and video, and nothing bleeped or blurred. Which is the best way to watch this supremely surreal and skewed ’toon.