The bizarre escapades of pseudo-heroic scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, his competent, high-strung bodyguard, and his two overenthusiastic sons.The bizarre escapades of pseudo-heroic scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, his competent, high-strung bodyguard, and his two overenthusiastic sons.The bizarre escapades of pseudo-heroic scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, his competent, high-strung bodyguard, and his two overenthusiastic sons.
Forty years and two very cynical, jaundiced eyes later, we now have The Venture Bros., which liberally and hilariously skewers the, shall we say, irrational exuberance of the times. The most obvious target is Jonny Quest, but little from the period escapes the series writers' acerbic wit.
Son of Jonas Venture, Dr. Venture is sort of how you might expect Jonny Quest to have grown up -- forever living in the shadow of his father's greatness, leaving him insecure, sarcastic, and in a semi-permanent state of midlife crisis. Alas, Dr. Venture's own brilliance was not passed on to his boys, Hank and Dean Venture, who are in all major respects self-absorbed, easily distracted, and not too swift. In other words, normal adolescent boys. They are watched over by their hired bodyguard, Brock Samson, a chain-smoking seen-it-all paramilitary type from the Office of Secret Intelligence, whose extraordinary competence and calm under pressure is exceeded only by his -- as another poster put it -- relentless brutality.
The Venture Bros. is full of the obvious jokes (dim-witted villains surrounded by even dimmer-witted henchmen), but it also makes funny observations about the incongruity of its inspirational sources.
Example: Like Dr. Benton Quest, Dr. Venture is a super-scientist, making advanced gadgetry as easily as we might make a TV dinner. But what do you do when your lab becomes crammed with unwanted or no-longer-interesting inventions? Yup. Hold a yard sale. Try not to be surprised when all your arch-nemeses show up.
Another example: In episode three, we are asked to cast our minds back to the 1970's series The Six Million Dollar Man and wonder: What were Steve Austin and Sasquatch *really* doing chasing each other through the woods?
The music in Venture Bros. is also magnificent -- not just the signature tune, which takes its roots from the brassy modern jazz of the period, but also the background music throughout the episode. The music's sheer bombast is a perfect complement for the overblown, exaggerated characters, especially the villains.
Though a bit uneven in its execution -- it might actually benefit from being shorter -- there's plenty of funny stuff here to keep modern cynics laughing out loud.
- Oct 12, 2004