The other day I realized that somehow I hadn’t yet talked about Venture Bros, so here’s a post to correct that. This summer the third thirteen-episode season aired (and comes out on DVD at the end of March), and not only was it hands-down the best cartoon of 2008, it was easily one of the best shows of the year.
For those unfamiliar with the show, Venture Bros is an Adult Swim show, and is a rather unique one because it’s a) traditionally animated and b) a full half-hour show. Due to the rather independent nature of the show, this means each episode takes a long time to produce (there have been 3 seasons plus a pilot for a total of 40 episodes, and the pilot aired back in early 2003), but I think the quality clearly shows. Venture Bros is easily the best looking North American animated show currently airing, and honestly probably the best since the ’80s.
The series is on the surface largely a Jonny Quest parody, though there’s far more to it than just the parodies it contains (others include G.I. Joe and the Fantastic Four), and the plot progression has been really amazing over these three short seasons, especially when it comes to Dr. Venture’s nemesis, The Monarch (as in the butterflies). It was over the holidays that I realized just how much I’ve grown to care for these characters, as every year a Christmas MP3 is released, sung by some of the characters. This year’s entry featured a character who died at the end of the third season, and it actually made me sad to listen to it.
The creators worked on The Tick, both the cartoon and the live action series (and Tick creator and Angel/SPN writer Ben Edlund has writen for the show), so that should give you a good idea of what to expect from the show, though I think the best way to learn about Venture Bros is to just go out and find an episode and watch it. I hope I’ve pimped this as well as I wanted to, because it really is one of the best shows out there, and it’s relatively short (watching every single Venture Bros ep will take you longer than a single season of an hour-long drama).
Oh, and when you do go check the show out, make sure you watch through the credits, there’s little scenes afterwards.