What’s On TV – The Venture Bros.

One month in and it is spreading up into my neck from my right arm. Dictated reviews will be continuing until I know more about what I am dealing with.

List Item:  Watch half of the 1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die
Progress: 169/501
Title: The Venture Bros
Episodes Aired: 71
Episodes Watched:
42 and counting
Year(s): 2003 onwards
Country: USA

The Disneyland Paris popcorn bucket of random pick managed to somehow spit out one of the genres that I am ridiculously ahead on. Seriously, I am only 3 animated shows away from having none left and that makes me sad (and yet I have seen none of the 43 Action/Adventure shows on the list… to be rectified soon I hope). It also raises the valid question of why Adventure Time was left off… but I digress.

Much like Only Connect this was a show that we were able to binge our way to 20-odd episodes really quickly. It took us a few episodes to get into, and for the show to really grow into itself, but after episode four I was starting to laugh.

On paper this is not a show that filled me with too much hope. It started (and continues as) a moderate homage/piss take of Johnny Quest, which is one of those boy-adventurer shows that never interested me as a child. The Venture Bros. is nothing like Johnny Quest.

It is actually quite hard to describe what exactly this show is. In a way it is about a scientist (Dr. Venture) fighting against supervillains and having adventures his twin sons Hank and Dean and their bodyguard Hank. But that isn’t quite it. It’s like telling someone that Archer is a show about a secret agent… it is, but there is so much more to that.

You turn on an episode of The Venture Bros. and, much like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, you have no idea what type of show you are going to watch. It might be an episode where the super villain Baron Von Underbheit sees Dean in a Princess Leia costume and tries to marry this beautiful ‘woman’ that he sees before him. It might be an episode where a ghostly Abraham Lincoln trying to stop a presidential assassination. It’s a pretty nuts show.


In fact, with the exception of the goth girl who lives next door, pretty much every character feels like they started out by having their bios written during a game of Exquisite Corpse. The necromancer next door neighbour, the butterfly themed supervillain and this man-voiced girlfriend based on Jackie Kennedy, the supervillian who has invisible limbs. It’s all an amazing exercise in imagination (and probably pot).

What’s most impressive is that this show is serialized. At the end of Season 1 the decisions that characters make have actual consequences in later episodes. This is so rare in an animated show that it really warrants pointing out. In spirit it is actually closer to Arrested Development than the likes of Futurama.

This is a show that I might never have gotten around to watching if it were not for this list and will be continuing to watch until I am up to date with Season 6 that was released this year.


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