I review the Venture Brothers (1/?)

I review the Venture Brothers:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Ever play poker with a TV show? Sometimes, I do.

We play a few hands and get a read on each other.

Venture Brothers is a show I’ve been playing with for a while. Season one is clever. It is not great. It is worth watching. Season two is much better.

Season three and later is fine, fine television. You could bet fine television like this against millions of dollars in the right poker game. If you were playing with someone who has a specific interest in these sorts of things. Someone like me.

I have bet a significant amount of time and thought in my poker game with this show, and I am all in. This show hits every childish nerd-nerve I have. Every thing I loved as a child is here.

Some questions I ask myself when evaluating whether I should spend time watching a show or not are:

Age five: Are there superheroes? Are there spaceships?

Yes. Yes. I, five years old, am in.

Is it action figures in action? Yes. Does it have boy protagonists? Yes.

I, eight, am in.

Does it have science fiction? Yes. Does it have a wizard? Yes!

I, twelve, am in.

Are the Fantastic Four in it? Yes. Is there a scantily clad woman in it? Yes.

I, fifteen, am in.

Does it have a dark power? Yes. Does it have a vampire hunter? Yes.

I, seventeen, am in.

Is it Einstein smart? It its range of references deep? Is it unafraid and unapologetic? Does it create lovable and unforgetable characters and then mercilessly savage them? Yes.

Does it always take as much time as is it needs to tell the story at hand, and yet still pace better than Mamet? Yes/

Does it tell us more about popular culture than any documentary? Yes.

Does it entertain, god-balls-all-out entertain?


I, thirty-three, am in. I call.

Full House. Aces over eights. I take the chips.

Wait, the Venture Brothers say, their white-cuffed arms barricading me.

We have a royal flush.

The Venture Brothers win.

The Venture Brothers wins. There is no fail.

Wolverine cannot rend the Venture Brothers.

Ozymandias cannot out-smart the Venture Brothers.

Dave Sim, in his spacey misogynistic hog heaven cannot out-weird the Venture Brothers.

Scott McCloud cannot out-analyze Publick and Hammer.

The Venture Brothers are the boy child spirit at the heart of every man.

And they are the best show on television right now.

End of Part One.

I review the Venture Brothers:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

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6 Responses to I review the Venture Brothers (1/?)

  1. Le Rob says:

    So… here’s my take on The Venture Bros, as of the end of the third season, at least. For the record, I still put my money on Dexter as the best show currently running now that The Wire is done (the sheer glee of the twisted suspense gets me every time).

    Anyway, season one of VB is astounding. It functions not only as an incredibly insightful parody of the Johnny Quest genre and play on pop culture in general, but also as an exemplar of those things in itself. The episodes have complete adventure plots that rival the ridiculous, wide-ranging wonderment of JQ while also constantly spewing out characters and phrases likely to be repeated and eventually parodied themselves. Pure brilliance (and that’s without talking about the sound track and general stylization).

    From there it starts to go downhill. It’s hard to tell at first, especially for most of the second season, but by the time the third starts there’s something missing. Subtlety gets slowly but surely replaced with blunt force, to hilarious effect for the most part, but the show no longer serves as an actual adventure anymore. There’s no space left to explore and amaze and it starts to turn back onto itself until by the third season the show is all heavy and recursive plot and an attempt to make every moment as ridiculous as possible. The show is still great, and always funny, but its quality didn’t hold true. It’s the same thing that killed Sea Lab – clearly trying too hard at it (Sea Lab recognized it directly by having the character of Sharko thrown in there).

    I haven’t seen the fourth season, though, so I might have to eat my words… here’s hoping.

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