THE VENTURE BROS.: SEASON ONE
To be honest, I had never sat down to watch an episode of THE VENTURE BROS., until the DVD set showed up on my doorstep. Man, all I can say is that this show is one of the coolest, funniest animated programs produced for late night television. THE VENTURE BROS. is like JONNY QUEST on acid- all the elements of the classic animated kids show are in place, but this decidedly adult parody of the program skews everything in a hilariously inappropriate direction. JONNY QUEST fans should note that Race Bannon makes an ill fated, but nonetheless hilarious guest appearance on this late night animated series. In addition to spoofing JONNY QUEST, THE VENTURE BROS. also takes pot shots at other pop culture icons like The Hardy Boys, James Bond and Jacqueline Kennedy.
The show’s title characters are teenaged twin brothers named Hank and Dean Venture. Hank and Dean are innocent, and goofy to the point of being socially retarded. While certainly amusing, Hank and Dean seem to be the series two least capable characters at inducing gut busting laughter on a consistent basis. Kicking the comedy up a few notches is Hank and Dean’s father, Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture, a whiney, insecure, pill popping middle-aged man, who is a rather mediocre scientist at best. The good "doctor" lives his life in the shadow of his own deceased father- Dr. Jonas Venture, who was a world famous scientist/adventurer and left his son with more than a few issues. Brock Samson is the Venture family bodyguard, a secret agent and living lethal weapon, with a libido that won’t quit; Samson is one of the series most broadly drawn and hilarious creations. Of course, what would the series be without a slew of villains; The Monarch is Dr. Venture’s chief nemesis and one of the show’s biggest laugh getters, thanks to his over-the-top antics, incompetent henchmen and relationship problems with his better half- Dr. Girlfriend. The vocal talent behind THE VENTURE BROS. features James Urbaniak, Christopher McCulloch, Michael Sinterniklaas, Patrick Warburton and Doc Hammer.
THE VENTURE BROS.: SEASON ONE ($30) comes to DVD in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes from the show’s freshman year: Dia De Los Dangerous, Careers In Science, Midlife Chrysalis, Eeny, Meeny, Miney... Magic, The Incredible Mr. Brisby, Tag Sale - You're IT!, Home Insecurity, Ghosts Of The Sargasso, Ice Station - Impossible!, Are You There God? It's Me, Dean, Past Tense, The Trial Of The Monarch and Return To Spider-Skull Island.
Warner Home Video has made THE VENTURE BROS.: SEASON ONE available on DVD in a full screen format that is representative of the original television broadcasts. The episodes truly look marvelous on DVD, with the 2D animation appearing bright, sharp and incredibly clean. Colors are deeply saturated and free from imperfections. Blacks are pure, whites completely stable and the contrast is just fine for this type of program.
THE VENTURE BROS.: SEASON ONE is offered on DVD with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks, which decode reasonably well to standard surround. These are solid sounding soundtracks that don’t exceed the limitations of broadcast television. Not surprisingly, the forward soundstage is dominant, with a nice sound spread across the front. The surround channels add some very mild effects, along with a bit of musical and ambient fill. Dialogue is very clean and completely intelligible. No alternate language tracks have been included on the DVD, although English, French and Spanish subtitles have been provided.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a few choice supplements. Running audio commentaries are provided for the following episodes: Midlife Chrysalis, Eeny, Meeny, Miney... Magic, Tag Sale - You're IT!, Ghosts Of The Sargasso and Return To Spider-Skull Island. Also provided on the DVD is the series pilot episode, The Terrible Secret Of Turtle Bay, which features its own, running audio commentary. Next we have a half-length Bonus Episode: A Very Venture Christmas, which puts the series unique spin on the holiday season. Deleted Scenes, and the featurettes Behind The Scenes Of The Venture Bros. Live-Action Movie and Animating Hank And Dean close out the supplemental programming.
Often hilarious and always inappropriate, THE VENTURE BROS.: SEASON ONE is definitely one of the highlights of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. Warner’s DVD set looks and sounds great, offers thoughtful extras and eliminates annoying commercials. Very highly recommended.
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