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 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 2 – “Careers in Science” – Doctor Venture’s Daddy Issues

The Venture Bros Episode 2

    “Careers in Science” gives us Dr. Ventures backstory and his main motivation, which is largely based around his father issues as his father is larger than life and used him largely as a tool as seems the case. This episode was a lot of fun and had some great jokes, keeping up the quality I’ve come to expect.

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

    The story involves Dr. Venture and his team being called to Gargantua 1 to fix it his father was the one who built the Space Station which is now one of the Wonders of the World.

The Pros: Gargantua 1 – This space station truly is a marvel and is fun to see the boys and the others explore. The location is part of what makes the episode.

Docking – Brock Samson uses all the sexual innuendo of docking the ship to do phone sex with Anna Baldavitch. The writers change the music and give the whole thing a red glow too so it’s a complete illusion to sex. It’s hilarious.

Hank and Dean – These two have a small part in this and work mostly as innocents misunderstanding everything as they spend a lot of the episode fighting and mistaking characters for dead and thinking the station has a ghost. At one point they watch Anna and Brock have sex and think they are fighting. They work well for comedy.

Dr. Venture – Dr. Venture is dealing with his daddy issues in this, though he doesn’t realize that he is the one causing most of the problems that need to be solved…as the station was having issues from a toy he left as a child that was stuck in the wires…and later his pee filled space suit sets up the ship for destruction.

Brock Samson – Brock hooks up with Anna and beats up Bud when Bud touches his shoulder. His priorities are hilarious as he seems to live simply for fighting and sex.

Okay: Anna Baldavitch and Bud Manstrong – Bud is the person who is overly formal and obsessive where Anna is the reverse. They didn’t feel fully fleshed out is the thing and seemed to mostly exist as jokes.

This was a great episode, though could have been better if Bud and Anna had been fleshed out as characters more rather than being simply the but of jokes. This episode was still a lot of fun and is another great and favorite episode of television. I’m coming to expect high quality from this show.

Final Score: 9 / 10

The X-Files – Season 10, Episode 4 – “Home Again” – A Voice for the Voiceless

X Files Season 10 ep 4 Home Again

    “Home Again” is another good episode of “The X-Files” that gives us a fascinating “Monster of the Week” while exploring deeper ideas and concepts and further exploring Mulder and Scully’s relationship. It is one of the best of the mini-series thus far.

     The episode was directed and written by Glen Morgan.

     The story begins when a city official dies mysteriously as Scully and Mulder must investigate the existence of “The Trash Man” who keeps showing up in art around the area and explore the homeless crisis in the city.

The Pros: The Artist – The artist is an activist and advocate whose art developed a life of its own. MHes a fascinating guy who seems to a be a little mad or off but is there enough to work with Mulder and Scully to try and write the wrongs of the creature he created, before he leaves his hideout.

The Trash Man – The Trash Man is a great villain as it is a creature that was made from clay that came to life because of the voiceless homeless people who had no advocates and their fear and anger at those who were hurting them became expressed through this monster. The monster is pretty cool.

The Death of Scully’s Mother – Scully’s mother dies this episode and it is rough as we see when Mulder was waiting for Scully recover and fearing for her life and the countless times Scully has lost people finally leading to this. Each of them gets their emotional moment from what happens and you feel for the death of Margaret.

Fox Mulder – Mulder is great in this as both the one who sees why the Trash Man exists and dealing with mortality and death as he remembers Scully being on the bed in a coma. From this he is there for her as we see how close they are after all the loss they have been through.

Dana Scully – This is Scully’s episode as we see her deal with the death of her mother and face loss and mortality. She doesn’t let the loss and what’s going on stop her from working on the case though and we see just how strong she is through all of it and how the past traumas have made her and Mulder close.

   This was the best episode of the mini-series so far and I highly recommend it. The monster is great, the emotion and loss are powerful and our characters feel fully realized. Even the side characters don’t feel like cardboard cutouts. This is an episode worth checking out.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Star Trek: The Animated Series – Season 1, Episode 10 – “Mudd’s Passion” – Mudd is a Terrible Person and this Episode is Weak

Harcourt_Fenton_Mudd_2269

    Harry Mudd is a terrible character and I’m not looking forward to my eventual watching of “Mudd’s Women” his introduction episode. In this he is a simple and very selfish con who has no redeeming qualities. This episode also suffers from “Star Trek” not being all that good at comedy. Still, there were a few things I enjoyed, though this is still not an episode I’d recommend.

“Mudd’s Passion” was directed by Hal Sutherland written by Stephen Kandel.

The story involves Mudd conning some minors with love crystals that end up working and leading the crew to act crazy as he makes his escape and must be captured once again to be brought to justice within the Federation.

The Pros: Spock and Kirk – The crystals make these two lovy with one another and I love it as I have always been a fan of Spock and Kirk as more than friends but also potential lovers, as they had more chemistry with one another than any woman that was supposed to be a love interest.

The Rock Monsters – At one point Rock Monsters are attacking Mudd and Nurse Chapel and they have a great design.

The Cons: The Premise – They to go to stop a con job by Harry Mudd on a world that isn’t even under the Federation, it is pointless from the beginning and Nurse Chapel falling for the con against a proven con is just bad writing.

The Message – Love can be induced by artificial means? I don’t think this episode knew what it was exploring and any message gleaned is a negative.

The Characters – With the exception of Kirk and Spock everyone is written terribly. So much flirting and acting stupid for contrived reasons. Not worth your time.

Harry Mudd – Why did they bring this guy back? He is useless, annoying and if he is anything like this in his introduction episode I am going to run into an episode that I will probably hate. Of all the people to bring back…why not Kor or one of the Klingons or the Romulan Empress? Not Harry “fracking” Mudd.

Mudd and terrible writing are the biggest problems with this episode. It reminds me why in improv my mentor Brian told was that acting drunk was a copout, this was that with contrived writing. It was trying to be easy rather than telling a good story. I do not recommend at all and and Harry Mudd is a terrible character.

Final Score: 2 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 8 – “Mr. Furgeson is Ill Today” – The Team and Chromatie’s End

SCC Team Freedom

    We finally have our full team working to prevent Judgement Day and them all teaming up and working together to stop the threat to John Connor and the future. Suffice to say the setup doesn’t always work, but I loved this episode’s payoff. These characters work.

     “Mr. Furgeson is Ill Today” was directed by Michael Nankin and written by Daniel Thomsen.

      The story involves John escaping to Mexico with Riley only to have Chromatie track him there leading to final showdown with Chromatie between John, Ellison, Sarah, Derek and Cameron.

The Pros: Dia De Los Muertos – The episode largely takes place during Day of the Dead and a tiny village in Mexico that John grew up in where he escapes to with Riley. This freedom intermixed with death creates some really great scenes, especially as the team arrives and the final showdown.

Chromatie – Chromatie has grown on me and the new actor they cast actually felt like a threat this season, so bringing him down in this episode was wonderful as it took all of them with Cameron mortally wounding him before John finishes him off. Great minor villain.

Derek Reese – Derek is quick to show up once he gets the call from John and we see he has secrets but is wholly there and in the team.

Cameron – Cameron is either attracted to John, is using him or a mixture of both as she tries to convince him to jump Riley as he is putting her at risk and will make stupid mistakes. It is wonderful seeing them interact and the sexual tension there, even if it is just John.

Sarah Connor – We see Sarah’s protectiveness and also her coming to terms with John’s agency and I think she realizes that they are all needed to prevent Judgement Day, even as she still pushes people like Agent Ellison away.

John Connor – John is facing destiny, responsiblity and coming into his own as a leader. In this he does leave Riley but only after Chromatie nearly kills her. It is powerful and shows how he has changed and can’t escape his destiny as a leader.

Agent Ellison – Ellison join the Team and we see him have a great relationship with Sarah who he had once been in conflit

The Ending – There is a final showdown in a church where all of them take out Chromatie and in the end there isn’t peace. Everyone is together but alone and we see the secrets eating away at them with Sarah losing it as she destroys Chromatie’s electronics. It is powerful and sad.

Okay: Riley – Was always just kind of there, at least she wasn’t stupid through all of this. She always struck me as more of an idea than a character though, which made the elements of the story involving her weaker.

Episode Format – I usually like the format of showing a story from different points of view, it just didn’t quite work this time and was hard to follow until the end and final payoff.

This was a great episode that really had a great ending. Chromatie reached an ending he deserved after going from an unmemorable Terminator to a great mini-boss and we see that his death changed things and character relationships. Can’t wait to see where it goes.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 2, Episode 6 – “The Tower is Tall but the Fall is Short” – The Ways We Face Trauma

206SCC_Weaver_meetings

    This was an intelligent episode, though I am very confused about Catherine Weaver’s motivations now to some degree. Is she trying to be human and thinks that is the goal of the Terminators or is it something more sinister? Hopefully we get that question answered later. The thing this episode does really well is deal with trauma, which I will get into in the review further down.

     The episode was directed by Tawnia McKieman and written by Denise The.

     The story involves John and Sarah Connor investigating a psychologist who is on the machines list to kill. Over the course of the investigation though John finds he is hurting and needs healing and Sarah comes to terms with the fact that she’s finally taken a human life. A former lover returns into Derek’s life as well.

The Pros: Jesse and Derek – This mini-subplot is fascinating and Jesse was injured in an attack as we learn that John is working with “good” Terminators in the future though the Resistance disagrees and it is causing conflict. Jesse leaves the war to run away and we find that she lives by escapes as her hookup with Derek implies it won’t go anywhere even though they are lovers…partially because Derek never allows anyone close because of how hard the war has made him. He only lives for the fight.

Sarah and John – Sarah and John are like Jesse and Derek. John doesn’t allow anyone close and he doesn’t trust his mom with his feelings due to her reactions has trouble dealing with the fact that she killed and someday he will have to as well. It’s powerful seeing him talk to the psychologist about it.

Catherine Weaver – Weaver is trying to make a perfect A.I. and we see that her model was based off a woman who lived and had a child who Weaver is now raising. It’s tragic as she tries to understand her child but she doesn’t feel or get jokes so feels lost in the world she is trying to control and shape.

Cameron versus Terminator Rosie – This was a fight that happened when Rosie was sent back in time to kill Dr. Sherman. The fight is quick and fast and the Terminator terminates herself so John can’t hack the chip. They are adapting and Cameron is getting better at fighting them.

Dealing with Trauma – This episode is all about dealing with trauma. All of our characters are soldiers and that has made them hard and broken…they are Terminators trying to feel again, like Catherine’s quest for humanity. It’s presented really well too.

Dr. Sherman – Dr. Sherman is a great character. He doesn’t judge and he helps all the characters who interact with him better understand themselves or humanity. This gives him a much needed outside perspective and a character who isn’t so far adversarial.

 I would highly recommend this episode. It deals with trauma, growth and healing and how difficult that process is and there are great character moments all around, even for Derek who is my least favorite character on the show. If you like good sci. fi. so far I’d judge you’ll probably enjoy this series as much as I have been.

Final Score: 9.4 / 10

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – Season 1, Episode 4 – “Heavy Metal” – First Strike in the Series

Heavymetal4

     This is the episode where John Connor stops running and with that Sarah Connor begins to finally let go a little bit to let him develop into the leader he needs to be. It is a good episode as the stakes are high and we see Skynet in action laying the stakes for it’s future rise. We also see Cameron kick butt too.

     The episode was directed by Sergia Mimica-Gezzan and written by John Enbom.

     The story involves Cromatie adopting a new identity and another Terminator stealing a shipment of metal in preparation for Judgement Day. John chooses to fight rather than run away leading to a showdown in the Warehouse with Agent Ellison continues to research the mysterious events surrounding the deaths from the Terminators.

The Pros: Agent Ellison – He actually feels like a character this time as he questions the man whose identity Cromatie eventually steals and we see that he knows something is up giving the missing fingerpints and false blood.

Cameron – Cameron is great in this as we see her once again take on much larger Terminators than her and relate to Sarah Connor as she expresses she would have no purpose if anything happened to John, making Sarah realize how much of a psychological problem she has.

Sarah Connor – Sarah Connor goes through the process of starting to let go and let John become the hero he was born to be in this one. When John tracks the truck she allows it but panics later but later on is working with him to steal the metal that the Terminator is going to use to create more of it’s kind when Judgement Day arrives. It’s a powerful moment with good showing and not telling.

John Connor – John sets boundaries with him mom in this one and we see him be the leader and fighter everyone keeps talking about him becoming. From stealing the key to a hibernating Terminator and fighting it in the truck…in this he is coming to his own and is ready to fight.

The Cons: Cromatie – We see him creep and pretend to be human but he is still generic and the actor is no Arnold, just like the last guy who played this Terminator. He just isn’t compelling as a villain.

Terminators and Human Minions – The minions are stupid and don’t listen to John and the Terminator is a nameless soldier with nothing unique about it.

   The series still suffers from having villains that aren’t compelling but the leads are fantastic! Even John Connor begins to grow on you after a while even though Lena Headey and Summer Glau are clearly the ones carrying the drama and conflict and are the most compelling part of the show.

Final Score: 8.4 / 10