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December 20, 2014

'Venture Brothers' Season 4 on Adult Swim: Show Guide

by Gary Susman, posted Oct 19th 2009 1:00PM
The Venture Brothers on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Why is everyone in the geekosphere floating on clouds of bliss today? Because last night was the season 4 premiere of 'The Venture Brothers' on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Aside from the consensus on Twitter and elsewhere that the adventure/comic book parody series (think 'Jonny Quest' on acid) is up to its usual standards of inventive ridiculousness and nerd-culture savvy, there's also a tangle of new plot and character complications to keep fans buzzing until next Sunday's episode. Here's a crib sheet to help you catch up ...The Venture Brothers on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Why is everyone in the geekosphere floating on clouds of bliss today? Because last night was the season 4 premiere of 'The Venture Brothers' on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.

Aside from the consensus on Twitter and elsewhere that the adventure/comic book parody series (think 'Jonny Quest' on acid) is up to its usual standards of inventive ridiculousness and nerd-culture savvy, there's also a tangle of new plot and character complications to keep fans buzzing until next Sunday's episode. Here's a crib sheet to help you catch up:

'Venture Brothers' was created by Jackson Publick (the nom de toon of 'The Tick' writer Christopher McCulloch, who also voices several of the 'Venture Brothers' characters). It's largely a parody of 'Jonny Quest' and similar Saturday-morning cartoon action dramas, as well as various comic book and pulp-fiction adventure sagas going back to 1930s proto-superhero Doc Savage. Only none of the heroes or supervillains in the Venture saga are all that smart or capable.

The brothers are twins Hank and Dean, who've grown out of the gee-whiz Jonny-and-Hadji boy adventurer stage into a no-less-dorky Hardy Boys teen adventurer stage. Their dad is goatee'd, pill-popping super-scientist Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture (voiced by James Urbaniak). Their bodyguard is the übermacho Brock Samson (voiced by Patrick Warburton, who played the Tick in the live-action version of the superhero spoof).

The not-so-bright Venture team often finds itself fighting a syndicate of supervillains, including the Monarch and the Sovereign, who at the end of season 2 was revealed to be David Bowie. (Yes, David Bowie.)


Last night's season 4 premiere episode, "Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel," was extra complicated, in part because it had two storylines -- one running backward and one running forward -- and in part because, according to Urbaniak, the West Coast saw the first half of the episode air twice, and the second half not at all. (Holy time loop! West Coasters, and everyone else, can watch the whole episode at the Adult Swim site.) Plus, the episode was jam-packed with allusions to 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'The Six Million Dollar Man,' 'The Boys From Brazil,' and 'Iron Man' and many other Marvel Comics creations.

The forward storyline had Brock quitting his day job at the Venture compound and seeking revenge on various old colleagues. (And also, trying to get robot H.E.L.P.eR.'s head surgically removed from his chest.) Meanwhile, in the reverse storyline, some Nazis approached Dr. Venture to get him to clone Adolf Hitler, whose blood they had placed into the veins of a bulldog. (Unfortunately, Dean fell in love with the dog and couldn't bring himself to kill the furry Führer.)

Along the way, there were the usual jokes riffing on genre conventions (How come Nazis always want to clone Hitler, wonders Hank. Can't they come up with a new plan?).

How will this all play out? There are only seven more episodes until a mid-season cliffhanger; the remaining eight episodes of the season will air in mid-2010.

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