DVD Review: THE VENTURE BROTHERS, SEASON 5 (2013)
I never saw The Venture Brothers when it first aired. I seem to recall catching the whole first season on repeats either late in 2004 or a year later. I just recall seeing a lot of weird commercials for it and I liked the animated style. It wasn’t until I took in one of the episodes that I saw it was a comic riff on Jonny Quest, with swearing, sexual overtones and over-the-top violence.
It made me laugh and I loved it.
If you’re not familiar with this toon it’s about this scientist, Rusty Venture who had has two kids, Dean and Hank. On a certain level, all three are kind of idiots, which is part of the gag. They have a body guard named, Brock Samson (voiced by Patrick Warburton), who’s the Race Bannon of the show. The Venture family also has a robot named, H.E.L.P.eR, who has some funny moments throughout the series.
The show also spoofs the superhero genre and the Venture’s arch-villain is known as The Monarch. His motif is a butterfly. He uses it for his costumes, his weapons, his henchmen, his airship, etc. You get the picture.
Some major turns the characters have had throughout the series involves the revelation that Dean and Hank are clones. When they are killed on occasions, Rusty goes down to his cloning chamber and activates two more. The boys had no idea they were clones. And Brock who used to be by the family’s bodyguard for so long now has branched out on his own becoming a member of O.S.I., an anti-villain task force. An ex-villain called, Sergeant Hatred, has replaced Samson as the Venture’s bodyguard.
Did I mention he’s a child-molester? He keeps it “in check” with some kind of drug.
Here we are in 2014 and on the fifth season of the show.
It consists of 8 episodes that break down like this:
What Color Is Your Cleansuit?: The Doc is tasked with creating a ray shield for his brother’s space station and as usual everything goes horribly awry. The rampant radiation of the shield mutates all the extra help he hired and they in turn become a society unto themselves with hopes of mutating the world with the ray shield. This was a particular hilarious episode. It also ran 60 minutes when it debuted.
Venture Libre: What Jonny Quest excelled in was high adventure in exotic locales. This episode is a high adventure in an exotic locale. The Doc is sent to an island to stop Venturestein any way possible. Hank and Sgt. Hatred tag along. What they discover is an island of Dr. Moreau kind of situation; Hank gets jacked up on coffee beans and assumes the crime-fighting persona of “The Bat,” and begins taking out Venturestein’s henchfreaks Dark Knight style. Turu The Terrible makes a cameo, the giant pteranodon of that Jonny Quest episode of the same name.
SPHINX Rising: There are two really good episodes this season. This is one of them. Gary decides to resurrect SPHINX and sends out an email invitation. Several ex members heed the call and sign up, but they have ulterior motives. This whole episode is simply hilarious.
Spanakopita!: The Doc takes his annual vacation to the island of Spanakos for the festival of Spanakopita. Unwilling joining him is Billy, Peter (an albino) and Hatred. Once their Billy and Peter’s arch-enemy, Augustus St. Cloud, shows up and cheats on all the Spanakopita games and generally makes everyone’s vacation a hell. Nice twist at the end of what Spanakopita really is.
O.S.I. Love You: This is the second and probably the best episode done this season. It’s mostly a flashback. After OSI nabs Monstroso and Molotov Cocktease it flash forwards days later and we learn through an interrogation of Brock, his team, Hank, Dean, Doc and Hatred that Monstroso and Cocktease have escaped. How that exactly happened is slowly unveiled.
Momma’s Boys: Dean takes off to the Dunwich Asylum Of The Criminally Obsessive to meet his supposed mother. In the meantime, a trick played on the Doc using a “Teddy Ruxpin” teddy bear complicates Hank and Dermott’s lives to the extent that they feel that have to get themselves committed to Dunwich Asylum to find the dude who voiced the bear. The boy’s mother is crazy and intends to put Dean back insider her so she can give birth to him all over again. Oh, yeah, Doc and Hatred find themselves on death’s door and he confesses that Dermott is his illegitimate son. My least favorite episode of the season.
Bot Seeks Bot: A directly connected episode to O.S.I. Love You (in the beginning anyway) as the lead Monstroso gave OSI (before he “magically” fell out of the helicarrier) ends up suspiciously dead. But they find a robot named Vendeta to use as a pawn to see if they can learn the identities of the Council Of 13. All this leads Brock, Shore Leave and a disguised robot to an underground nightclub exclusively for villains. To make things even harder for the OSI agents the Doc and Rusty crash the nightclub thinking it’s just some kind of costume party. The episode ends when a giant disco ball seemingly crushing and killing the Doc.
The Devil’s Grip: Don’t worry the Doc ain’t dead, he’s been captured by The Monarch though. Hatred and Gary try to rescue him. Meanwhile, Hatred has sent Dean and Hank to go live with their godparents, which leads to some expected shenanigans within their respective homes. The A plot here was more interesting than the domestic B plot. Being a season finale Dean finally tells Hank they’re clones, but Hank sees it all as a glass half full revelation. It appears Gary has returned to the Monarch’s side as Henchman 21. Hatred feeling betrayed destroys Monarch’s cocoon and their home.
All in all even though this was the shortest season on record, with only one episode I didn’t care for, I thought it was a solid one.
Warner Brothers releases The Venture Brothers: Season 5 in separate DVD and blu-ray editions with the same extras on both.
Video/Audio/Subtitles: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen—English Dolby Digital 5.1—English only subtitles. (This review is for the DVD, not the blu-ray; despite that both audio and video looked and sounded pristine to me).
This release comes with 2 episode specials: The Very Venture Halloween and the pseudo biopic, From The Ladle To The Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story. The Halloween special was aired in October of 2012 and connects up with Season 5, which came later in June of 2013.
The Venture Halloween special sees Hank, Dean and Dermott wanting to do something daring for Halloween so they decide to visit the Old Potter place. The Doc always told his kids to stay away from it when they were young. Dean ventures in and meets scientist Potter who tells him he and his brothers are clones. Elsewhere on the compound Doc, Hatred, Billy and White are placing bets on which trick-or-treaters can make it past the security and which ones can’t. The funniest subplot of this special is Dr. Orpheus and his Halloween gathering of magic-users. A nice ode to Hellraiser (1987) pops up; a funny as hell one, too. Oh, and the group inadvertently raise up a legion of zombies.
The Shallow Gravy biopic only runs 11:45 and is played out exactly like one of those band biopics, chronicling how Dean, Dermott and H.E.L.P.eR formed the band Shallow Gravy. Included is the music video for their song, Jacket. Short but quite humorous. This where the Doc learned Dermott is his illegitimate son.
As for extra features you get commentaries on all the episodes with Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, Deleted Scenes (5:52), audio is complete but the animation was not, and something called, Fax My Grandson (3:15), which appears to be the extended audio on a particular scene from the SPHINX Rising episode. Moderately funny.