The Venture Bros. is the better of the Adult Swim cartoon DVD sets I have been given to review. The weakness of many Adult Swim cartoons is the stories, sometimes put together just to make sense of some little-known sixties or seventies cartoon refurbished and spliced back to create a newer, weirder, and more adult humor cartoon such as Sealab 2021, and sometimes created out of whole and heavily discounted cloth such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
The Venture Bros. is a clever mix of the Saturday morning and spy cartoon with some definitely adult jokes and caustic humor thrown in. Doctor Venture, a rather self-serving scientist who does the usual saving the world stuff is accompanied by his two sons, Hank and Dean, automaton Helper, and bodyguard and one-man killing machine Brock Samson. His arch-enemy, all good guys have one, is Monarch and his assistant Dr. Girlfriend.
Most episodes of The Venture Bros. are great fun to watch. This is in part due to the interesting animation but mostly to the writing. My favorite line is, "World domination? I'll leave that to the religious nuts and the Republicans." Each cartoon in this DVD box set is entirely different from the other in terms of storyline and gags. A particular favorite is episode 4, Eeny Meeny Miney ... Magic! which is a magic retelling of Ray Bradbury's The Happiness Machine. Also, this time the sinister looking guy is the good genius and Dr. Venture is the evil scientist who created something bad: a happiness machine that traps his sons and Brock Samson.
A smattering of cultural references and adult jokes (like Brock Samson's arch-enemy is Molotov Cocktease) also make this cartoon a lot of fun. In The Incredible Dr. Brisby, a definite take on Disneyland, Roy Brisby kidnaps Dr. Venture to have him create a clone while the boys are captured by the Orange County Liberation Front who believe Brisby, or is it Disney, is out to take over the world. A really cool brainwashing / Patty Hearst reference is thrown in here for those who pay attention. You also get a few jokes at the expense of Depeche Mode (they were one-hit wonders way back when)
A lot of the episodes of Dr. Venture have no real ending as such and a few, such as Careers in Science are a bit of a drag. Still, even the more ordinary episodes, like Tag Sale - You're It where Venture has a garage sale and all the bad guys show up for bargains are good for a few laughs. Especially fun are the arch enemies themselves even if Mr. 8-Ball only lasts long enough for a joke.
Extra features on DVD 2 of Venture Brothers includes a really cool Christmas episode. Watch carefully and you will find references to A Christmas Carol, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Charlie Brown Christmas at the beginning of A Very Venture Christmas. Another extra episode is the pilot, The Terible Secret of Turtle Bay. Also included are deleted scenes and a behind the scenes of the live action movie of The Venture Bros.
Venture Bros. is a fun, action-filled, pun-filled, cartoon with many adult references. Not something you want the young ones to watch but definitely cool to watch if you are mature or immature enough.