The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 11 – “Past Tense” – Where Everything Began

Past Tense Venture Bros.

     “Past Tense” is a great episode. This is the episode where we see more innocent versions of our characters before they became the broken people they are today. It’s really well done how they do it too, as well as including the Old Team Venture into the story as well.

   The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

    The episode involves Pete White, Dr. Venture, Baron Underbheit and Brock going to the funeral of their friend Sorayama, but all is not as it appears to be when they find themselves kidnapped and it is up to Hank and Dean to call the old Team Venture into action to save them from a mysterious foe.

The Pros: The College Years – The college years and how the show presents them are pretty amazing. From the roommates and them all hanging out and playing D and D, from Pete White as a DJ and Underbheit bringing a slave with him when he is studying abroad. The characters and their personalities are captured beautifully.

Pete White – Pete White is the devil may care DJ and when they find out Sorayama captured them he is one of the first to try and reason with him. He’s always been a side character so I hope we get more development of him in the future. In the flashbacks he appeared to be Thaddeus Venture’s closest friend.

Underbheit – Underbheit brings a slave with him to college from his home country and makes friends with Pete White, Sorayama and Venture. I didn’t expect him to show up at the funeral but it was good to see him and see the better side of him.

Sorayama – Sorayama was obsessed with Leslie and we see that in any way the four were connected to her lead to his revenge plan. I wanted him to be more than just obsessed but his creation of A.I. was pretty cool.

Dr. Venture / Thaddeus Venture – Dr. Venture shows his good side again as we learn he didn’t sleep with Leslie (Brock did) and that he didn’t lose his virginity until after college. We also get echoes of what broke him as at the end of the episode in the flashback we find out his father was killed. I felt a lot for his character and he struck me as someone I would have played D and D with in college.

Brock Samson – Brock is the jock who is unstable as he gets kicked off the football team after he accidentally kills a player. This leads to him beating up his roommates. He later apologizes and ends up joining the military to try and atone for what he did. He’s just as much a womanizer as before and from all we see, just as dangerous. At one point he takes out the old team too when he mistakes them for the androids.

The Old Team – The Old Team is fantastic. Colonel Gentlemen is the best, Otto is super religious and trying to convert everyone he meets while Action Man is a has-been who has flatulent issues. Seeing them assemble is pretty fantastic though, even if they lose to Brock easily.

   This was a great mixture of old and new as we get to see the old guard reassemble as well as see that many of our characters were normal people once before all the crap that went down in their lives brought them down to the shells of their former selves they are today (in regards to both the old guard with old age and the current team with their emotional wounds). I highly recommend this episode, it is easily one of the best of the series.

Final Score: 10 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 10 – “Tag Sale – You’re It!” – Of Rivalries and Has-Beens

Tag Sale - You're it!

   “Tag Sale – You’re It!” is a chance to see more of our characters interact with one another as well as see the legacy Dr. Venture in a way has left behind as well as funny antics by both the Monarch and Dr. Orpheus.

   The episode was directed by Jackson Publick and written by Doc Hammer.

  The episode involves Dr. Venture hosting a yard sale where all his old enemies and rivals come to buy his technology. Things soon unfold as the Monarch plots chaos to get into Dr. Venture’s lab.

The Pros: The Yard Sale – The Yard Sale is fantastic! Pete and Wizkid are looking to form an evil team. We meet Dr. Girlfriend’s old partner Phantom Limb, Baron Underbheit and Richard Impossible show up and quite a few others we have never met. They are all a lot of fun.

Dr. Orpheus – This guy spends the episode harassing super villains in order to a nemesis and rival. Sadly to no avail though, as none of them have a personal reason to hate him. Also, he’s Dr. Orpheus. Even when he’s a dick, he’s still the best person on Team Venture.

Monarch Henchmen – These two are funny. At one point one them buys a lightsaber and finds that Dr. Venture jipped him as when he attacks Brock it just goes through Brock and doesn’t hurt him. These two are great and I’m glad the show kept them around.

Dr. Girlfriend – In this we see how much Dr. Girlfriend cares for the Monarch as Phantom Limb from the Guild and offers to make her a member as she once held more power than she does now. I like how she stood her ground. We also see her soft side again when she feels bad for Dr. Venture and sees the echoes of the great man he once was.

the Monarch – The Monarch feels bad for Dr. Venture! We also see how good he is at causing chaos when he causes the fight that allows him to get into the Venture Compoud where it is very under-dramatic. He is disappointed in his arch-nemesis countless times and just feels bad for him, even as he affirms revenge once more at the end, showing just how deep his obession goes.

Okay: Team Venture – Team Venture is largely the ones spectating. We have Hank Venture start a business with Dean as one of his employees but it not go anywhere when brawling breaks out and Brock is just in charge of security and really doesn’t do anything noteworthy.

This was a great and fun episode. I like the sadness Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch feel in Dr. Venture’s lab as they realize just how much of washed up has-been he’s become. This of course doesn’t stop Monarch with his obsession as he vows revenge as upstairs the boys watch him and Dr. Venture suggests calling the cops nonchalantly. It’s a great scene and was a big reason I like the episode so much.

Final Score: 9.3 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 9 – “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean” – The Politics of Super Villainy

The Venture Bros S 1 E 9

     This is the episode where we see the rules that make up super villiany here in the Venture Bros. Universe. From the rules the Guild of Calamitous intent set down, to the politics within as who is put in the book and just how small the Monarch’s goals are in the whole scheme of things. This is an episode that is a lot of fun. The side story with Dean Venture is even great in its own way.

    “Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean” was written by Doc Hammer and directed by Jackson Publick.

    The story involves Team Venture’s capture by the Monarch where they about to be executed but are saved due to a technicality when Dean must be treated for Testicular Torsion so their deaths are put on hold until after the surgery can be done.

The Pros: The Guild of Calamitous Intent – The Guild passed a whole bunch of rules to combat and rivalries between different members and its fun seeing those rules play out between the Monarch and Dr. Venture.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend is clearly bored as she expected to be taken advantage of by Brock and is sad when he doesn’t.

Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy – These two save Dean’s life, and make a lot of jokes during the process. These two are great minor characters.

Brock – Brock takes out the Monarch’s lair and even embarrasses the Monarch as he points out that the Monarch can’t even succeed in revenge and shows just how incompetent his organization is as there isn’t time to just do revenge against Dr. Venture so a lot of the day everyone just sits around the base.

the Monarch – The Monarch spends a lot of this episode trying to corrupt Hank to no avail and later being embarrassed in front of Dr. Venture when it is revealed that Brock is single handily bringing down his fortress. One of the funniest moments is when Brock asks why he hasn’t thought bigger and done World Domination, which embarrasses the Monarch further.

Okay: The Venture Family – Whether it is Hank, Dean or Dr. Venture they are just kind of there. Getting more of Doctor Venture’s backstory as a member of the Guild of Calamitous Intent was cool but they mostly exist as a joke to show the Monarch is a joke and Dean’s condition being a joke.

  This was a good episode that had a lot of great things in it. I like Brock taking out the Monarch’s lair and the Monarch’s attempt to corrupt Hank as well as all the technicalities that make up the Guild of Calamitous Intent…but the episode could have been much more than it was. We still don’t really know how the Guild functions or the different villains relationship to it.

Final Score: 8.6 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 8 – “Mid-Life Chrysalis” – Brock Finds His Groove and Dr. Girlfriend Rocks

the-venture-bros-mid-life-chrysalis

    “Mid-Life Chrysalis” manages to be a very heartfelt drama keeps the drama and heart up consistently, even with Dr. Venture being transformed into a giant caterpillar. Dr. Girlfriend and Brock Samson are easily the best parts of the episode and make it a favorite.

   The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick, with Doc Hammer as co-writer.

    The story involves one the Monarch’s plans to turn Dr. Venture into a butterfly by having Dr. Girlfriend seduce him to inject him with a substance that will transform him. Elsewhere Brock must renew his licence to kill after he is pulled over with an expired licence.

The Pros: Dr. Venture’s Mid-Life Crisis – Dr. Venture is called grandpa by two military pilots which throws him into a mid-life crisis. His approach to this is hilarious as he throws on a wig and a suit out of the 70’s. We also learn he is only 43. In the end he falls for Dr. Girlfriend who is on a mission from the Monarch to seduce him and is transformed by her into a caterpillar. He never blames her even when she is the only suspect and we see he genuinely cares for her (he knows her has Charlene) which is sweet and she turns him back.

The Messed up Mind of the Monarch – The fact that the Monarch used his girlfriend to seduce another guy is kind of messed up on its own but when you add him masturbating to them making out you see just how twisted this guy is. He and Dr. Venture were made for one another as both don’t really consider the lives of those around them, just their vendettas and goals.

Brock Samson’s Training Montage – This is done in the style of an 80’s sports montage with Hank and Dean as Brock’s trainers, though in the end it doesn’t matter as the guy who administers the test was a kid who Brock had babysat when he was younger.

Brock Samson – In this episode we see that even though Brock is unhinged he’s by the book and won’t raise a hand unless he has a licence to kill. For this reason he spends the episode getting back into his groove so he can renew his licence.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is both a creep and a sweet guy as we see him have a level of awareness around Dr. Girlfriend that he doesn’t have around anyone else…he really did care about her which is both sad and kind of sweet.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend shows she’s more than just a tool when she ends up falling in love with Dr. Venture and saving him from mutating into a monarch. She shows that she isn’t all about the vendetta and also cares about Dr. Venture (which makes sense as Dr. Venture is much kinder to her than the Monarch is).

   This was an amazing episode that hits all the right notes. I felt bad for Dr. Venture (which is hard to feel) and felt bad for Dr. Girlfriend as she is as much a pawn to the Monarch as all his other minions as all he lives for is revenge against Dr. Venture. In this we see that characters can become more and just how connected or not connected they are to their different identities.

Final Score: 10 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 7 – “Ice Station – Impossible!” – A Satire of “The Fantastic Four”

Ice Station - Impossible!

   “Ice Station – Impossible!” is an outright satire of “The Fantastic Four” as it takes a realistic approach to what would happen if actual humans received the conditions that the Fantastic Four receive. Dr. Venture is of course along for the ride and we are introduced to Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy. We also get another great Brock B story to round things out.

    The episode was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

    The episode involves Richard Impossible pulling together a think tank for his organization, while elsewhere Hank is infected by a substance that will turn him into a human bomb unless they can find Richard Impossible’s secret base.

The Pros: Pete White and Master Billy Quizboy – These two are brought into Richard Impossible’s think tank along with Dr. Venture to create products for Impossible Industries. We never see what they do exactly as it soon becomes about the Impossibles and not what the mission actually was.

The Impossibles – The Impossibles are tragic as Richard is a controlling tycoon who keeps them all locked away, Sally just wants to be free even as anytime she feels her skin turns invisible revealing the flesh underneath, her special needs brother Ned becomes the Thing and has a good heart and Cody just catches on fire when ever he is any place too hot. They are a tragic family and I’m glad she escapes with Dr. Venture.

Richard Impossible – Colbert is great at playing this stuck up git as we see him attempt to kill Dr. Venture by leaving him out in the arctic to die and later when he mocks them all for trying to save Hank when it substance wore off since it was never tested on humans. He did make a great antagonist for the episode.

Dean Venture – Dean is fascinated by what Hank is going through and doesn’t panic until Brock mentions that Dr. Venture probably wouldn’t be able to fix it. Seeing his detachment is fascinating though as it seems to be a coping mechanism for him.

Brock Samson – Brock finds the agent who was trying to rescue the serum before he dies and spends the episode getting Hank to safety and calming him down as well as explaining how he’d kill Hank so he wouldn’t feel pain if it ever came to it, voicing he had considered and thought about that possibly occurring.

Hank Venture – Hank is understandably reacting to everything and from this we see that he is at peace with dying.

Dr. Venture – Venture is a sleeze. He is all about hooking up with Sally until her condition is revealed and doesn’t even seem to appreciate her for her mind as he can’t stand how she looks when her skin turns invisible. The guy is shallow, one good thing is he did try to save his son Hank with the Think Tank.

   This was a solidly great episode though I wouldn’t call it a favorite. The humorous moments don’t quite reach the jokes of the first 3 episodes, though the satire of the “Fantastic Four” is great, especially as it relates to body horror and how it reveals that Dr. Venture is not a deep character. I definitely recommend this episode.

Final Score: 9 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 4 – “The Incredible Mr. Brisby” – A Satire of Disney and Activism

The Venture Bros S 1 E 4 The Incredible Mr Brisby

    “The Incredible Mr. Brisby” is a great episode that manages to have some great satire that manages to target both the corporate (Disney) and the local and the flaws in both approaches and how control in any form can lead to egos taking control and it becoming more about a leader’s agenda rather than the organization and the members within it.

   The episode was written and directed by Jackson Publick.

     The story involves Dr. Venture taking a business trip to Brisbyland to meet with Mr. Brisby to help restore financial well being to his company. Things go awry though when the Orange County Liberation Front captures the Venture brothers and Mr. Brisby knocks out Brock leaving him trapped with only his ex-lover Molotov Cocktease to save him.

The Pros: Brisbyland – It has a Safari, a giant dome in place of the Disney Castle and countless other references. It did look like a fun place, as well as creepy as the happy suits are really played up to their fullest degree.

Hank and Dean Venture – These two love Brisbyland and it is here we see more of Dean being the genius nerd while Hank is more of a jock who wants to emulate Brock Samson.

Molotov Cocktease – Molotov is a Russian agent on her own quest who saves Brock from Brisby but leaves him behind when they are going to save the Dr. and the boys. Her vagina is covered with a metal lock, which drives Brock mad and is how she got her name. She is also the only one who can match Brock we have met thus far. I like her character.

Mr. Brisby – Mr. Brisby had a stroke and his face is frozen in a smile. He is the mad genius who might have had help from Dr. Venture if he hadn’t compared him to his father…in this we see that he isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, though he is a genius for making the Brisby Empire.

Dr. Venture – Venture’s pride rules him as we see that money, torture, etc. cannot stop him from going against a decision if he feels it will bring honor to his father or help his father’s legacy in any way. He’s a small minded guy and a lot like Mr. Brisby.

Brock Samson – Brock gets captured in this by Mr. Brisby since he was given a drugged cigarette from Brisby’s guard and in this we see that there is only one who can match him and only one he loves…Molotov Cocktease. Their relationship is quite great and humanizes Brock further.

Activism and Corporate Slavery – The danger of fanaticism is shown in this as both the OCLF capture Dean and Hank and enslave their minds to be soldiers as we see Mr. Brisby doing the same insidious thing at his park. Within this we see the danger of what happens a person loses their identity in something.

  This was a solidly great episode that I highly recommend. It taking place in Brisbyland was fantastic and how it is very much Disneyland but with a Bee in place of a mouse. Mr. Brisby is very much a Walt Disney type too as he is a genius who wants Dr. Venture to clone himself and once knew Dr. Venture’s father. I definitely recommend this episode.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 3 – “Home Insecurity” – A Meeting of Villains and a Story of Goons

The Venture Bros S 1 E 3 Home Insecurity

   “Home Insecurity” is one of the best episodes of “The Venture Bros.” I have watched thus far. H.E.L.P. eR. gets humanized, the goons of both the Monarch and Underbheit get character development and Brock has a great side story.

   The episode was directed by Jackson Publick and written by Doc Hammer.

    The story involves Brock going on his annual hunting trip in the wilderness as the Monarch and Baron Underbheit’s assassination plots against Dr. Venture occur as they cross hairs and decide to meet up to resolve this conflict of interest in who gets the kill while the brothers find themselves trapped in the Venture Compound.

The Pros: H.E.L.P. eR – The robot who always helps around gets humanized this episode as he seeks the specs for G.U.A.R.D.O. and believes he is being replaced. It isn’t until Dr. Venture has a heart moment that he comes to save the day as we see how much everyone appreciates him.

The Brock Samson Quest – Brock’s quest is a lot of fun as he goes into the wilderness and runs into Sasquatch and Sasquatch’s bionic husband who used to be a soldier who served with Brock. Brock’s mission is to help them escape and he does so by shaving Sasquatch and making them look like wounded vets. It’s a fun B Plot and shows Brock’s good side.

the Monarch and Underbheit’s Goons – There is a standoff between goons at the Venture Compound as each is as strong as the other. While they wait for their bosses to make a decision they become friend as we learn Underbheit forces children into his army and kills them at 38 while the Monarch takes ex-druggies and turns them into soldiers, though also kidnaps. Sadly G.U.A.R.D.O. is unleashed at the end leading to all the goons being slaughtered. R.I.P.

Baron Underbheit – Is a very loud villain who kills 2 of his minions at the beginning and tries to kill the Monarch when they meet. He has a lot of respect for Monarch though as he sees the Monarch’s issue is more personal showing that even though he is a mad psychopath, he has honor in their somewhere. His flamboyance makes him a lot of fun too as he looks like Darth Malek.

the Monarch – The Monarch is the main guy in this as we see how obsessed he is with Dr. Venture, from a 37 point powerpoint of how he’s been planning to take Dr. Venture down and even how dismissive he’s become of Dr. Girlfriend who clearly is running most of the operation while Monarch’s inheritance keeps it all afloat.

Dr. Venture – Venture shows himself to have goodness in him as he reaches out to H.E.L.P.eR. This was a rare moment of goodness for the character and showed that he is capable of more than just caring for himself and can feel gratitude.

   This was a perfect episode as every character got at least some development and not only are the villains humanized but so are their minions…just like H.E.L.P. eR. is given a chance to be a hero. There is also tragedy too as the goons are shown to be just cogs in a machine and pretty great guys who never got the chance to know as their leaders only saw them as tools of revenge.

Final Score: 10 / 10

The Venture Bros. – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Dia De Los Dangerous” – You Don’t Mess With Brock and the Humanity of the Monarch

The Venture Bros Episode 1 Dia De Los Dangerous

   The Monarch and Brock Samson are probably my two favorite characters on the show at this point. Both of them are so true in what they are and manage to be sympathetic even though they are completely nuts. This episode exists to flesh out the Monarch’s backstory and show us just how selfish Dr. Venture is.

    “Dia De Los Dangerous” was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

     The story involves the Ventures and Samson traveling to Mexico so that Dr. Venture can be a guest lecturer at a Community College. Things soon go awry when the boys get seperated from the group and Dr. Venture’s Kidneys are taken.

The Pros: H. E. L. P. eR. – This is a pretty weak robot that speaks incomprehensible but is easily the heart of the team as it is kind in a way that the Venture Brothers clearly are not. In this the brothers treat him to an upgrade and he is there for Dr. Venture after his kidney’s are stolen. The robot has a great design as well.

Dr. Girlfriend – Dr. Girlfriend has the voice of a deep voiced man and is the Monarch’s love interest. She is awesome as we see her counsel and be there for the Monarch and help him through his parental abandonment issues.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is a selfish git who only cares about his kids in how he can use them to further his own ends. We get a glimpse of why in the next episode as he is a reflection of how he perceived his father to a degree. There is nothing redeemable about him in this episode though.

Dean and Hank Venture – These two update H. E. L. P. eR. and end up getting knocked out and their stuff stolen and later kidnapped by the Monarch. They hold their own though though they are not good at reading situations due to them needing rescue multiple times through the episode. They have a funny moment too where they end up with a prostitute but run away in fear after she touches their dicks…as they were oblivious to what she actually does.

the Monarch – the Monarch didn’t care about his biological parents dying in a plane crash we learn…he felt greater loss at the Monarch butterlfys who raised him leaving (which he later learned was them migrating to Mexico, and from Dr. Girlfriend dying as the that is the life-cycle of a butterfly), and from all this all he wants is to be a good father as he never had one.

Brock Samson – Brock goes on a rampage in this as Monarch minions knock him out with their car and later slaughters the Monarch Minions in Mexico with his car in revenge. Seriously, this guy is an insane character and is great because of it. Brock has no line.

The Cons: Mexico – So much more could have been done here, the location only exists to be somewhere new and some “Day of the Dead” jokes so the episode could have happened anywhere at the end of the day. The story is still great for the character bits but could have been more.

This is an episode I’d recommend and is a must see if only for Brock’s rampage and the Monarch’s backstory. The episode is also a lot of fun and made me solidly invested in this show after watching the pilot.

Final Score: 9.3 / 10

The Venture Bros. Pilot – “The Secret of Turtle Bay” – Satirizing Super Heroes and Celebrating Their Charm

The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay The Venture Brothers

     “The Venture Bros.” are a lot of fun and a brilliant satire and celebration of superheroes, pulp action novels, the Hardy Boys and countless other things. I haven’t had this much fund in a show like this since “Archer” and “Rick and Morty.” There are a lot of things going for this show and though this episode isn’t a favorite, I’ll cover what I think worked and hope gets explored down the line.

    “The Secret of Turtle Bay” was the pilot of the series and was directed and written by Jackson Publick.

    The story involves Doctor Venture trying to get to the United Nations conference to present his new machine while the Monarch seeks to stop him on his quest as elsewhere others plot.

The Pros: Hank and Dean Venture – These two are the Hardy Boys of the series except they aren’t very bright at all, are overly optimistic and sheltered but somehow manage to get out of even the worst situations (thanks oftentimes to their protector Brock). I’m really curious to see how the harsh world is going to change them.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is an oblivious mad scientist who is all about making money…though what is keeping him from doing so is himself as he brings a weapon to a peace conference and is not aware of much at all except himself.

the Monarch – the Monarch is hilarious and like Dr. Venture has a one track mind, though where Venture’s is to money…the Monarch just wants revenge against Dr. Venture and to be the best super villain in the process. His look is hilarious too as all his troops and himself are dressed like Monarch Butterflies which he has set up to be the most dangerous of creatures in his mind. He’s over the top and really works.

Brock Samson – Patrick Warburton plays some of the best characters…and Brock has to be one of my favorites he’s done. Brock is the protector of the Ventures and is on the edge, always about to snap. He kills and thinks nothing of it and is former military. In the end he sleeps with the prostitute the boys ran away from and brings his knife into the U.N. because the police where to afraid to challenge him. Can’t wait to see what they do with this character.

The Comedy – From the boys innocence when they accidnetly go to a prostitute, Dr. Venture bringing a weapon to a peaceful tech. conference at the U.N. and anything with the Monarch and Brock are really what make this show work. The characters create the comedy simply by being themselves.

The Cons: Senzuri – Is a diplomat who it looks like is going to steal the Oo-Ray but in the end just wants to get off to it. The joke was kind of funny but they could have done a lot more with the character. He felt like a throwaway character and not completely thought out.

    This is a series I’d highly recommend and I’m grateful that my friend recommended it to me. The characters are strong as is the comedy and there is so much potential in this pilot to take the characters in interesting directions and explore this unique world that celebrates and satirizes so many things.

Final Score: 9 / 10