(S04E06) This episode was a rare star-studded treat for Venture Bros. Really honing in on the idea of adult aftermath in the lives of boy adventurer types, Jackson Publick introduced a robot boy, boy detective brothers (Seth Green and John Hodgman), former Wonder Boy (Patton Oswalt) and the return of Action Johnny (Brendon Small). Never before have so many guest voices (okay, four) been crammed into an installment, bringing the entire audience to an immediate nerdgasm.
In true Adult Swim fashion, there's been absolutely no indication as to what this episode might be about, however it's likely that it somehow ties into the recently released Aqua Teen Hunger Force Christmas CD, Have Yourself a Meaty Little Christmas. If you haven't bought it yet, do yourself a favor and get it now. Trust me when I say that you haven't lived until you've heard Meatwad croon his own version of "Silent Night" or Carl cackle his way through "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
Anyway, regarding the episode, it's the only one listed on the schedule, so it's probably not the new season premiere, but it'll hopefully have some sort of performance aspect with songs from the album. That and maybe The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future will show up. Please let the robot turkey be there.
(S04E05) This episode was certainly a surprise in many respects. It was one of the funnier installments of the season so far. It also brought back a lot of old themes and cleared up some incomplete storylines that had started to gather dust. On one hand, I'm glad that those have been resolved, because most of them were revealed to be kind of irrelevant anyway, but I also felt as though it was rushed, like, five loose ends from old major arcs had to be hastily tied up in twenty-some minutes. Well, it's better than continuing to string us along, right?
Before his Van Helsing reached theaters in 2004, Universal released Van Helsing: The London Assigment. Written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, the animated half-hour was clever and action-packed. Van Helsing? It was not clever and action-packed.
Now, the DVD release of G.i. Joe: Resolute, an 11-episode series of animated shorts that originally aired on Adult Swim before the release of Rise of Cobra, brings a cooler and more visually compelling "Yo, Joe!" to screens.
The effect of this only intensifies when you watch a lot of episodes of Xavier in one sitting, which is what you can do with the new Xavier: Renegade Angel Seasons 1 and 2 DVD. In its usual dose of fifteen minutes per episode, it's odd. Watch it for two hours, you start to see spots. Even the animation, which stresses the bright colors and blocky movement of computer generated graphics, pushes you off kilter. It's an overused description to say something looks like a cartoon on acid, but if ever a show actually deserved the description, it's Xavier.
(S04E04) It's enough to make you stop believing when tears come fast and furious, in a town called Malice. Yeah. I totally just made that up. Right now. Free words of wisdom, from me to you.
This episode wasn't spectacular for the purposes of laughing-out-loud. It was funny in a few moments, yes, but I spent most of the twenty-some minutes resting my chin on my fist, brow furrowed with concern. All the characters are going through some heavy stuff right now, and that inner turmoil, dealing with loss and identity and love, came bubbling to the surface in this episode. Doing so, again, isn't much of a gut-buster, but it makes for beautiful character development. Can you tell I have faith in this show? Maybe a little too much.
Getting season two of Robot Chicken, volume one of Moral Orel, volume two of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and volume three of Space Ghost Coast to Coast just seemed like a bonus. Well worth the suggested retail price of $69.98 for Adult Swim fans who haven't already purchased any of the included sets.
The pilots are a mixed bag, but mostly good. The Best of Totally for Teens is a live action parody of a moralistic teen variety show hosted by thirtysomethings trying to be hip. It's a promising premise, one that should maybe be revisited, but the pilot is a bit of a mess. It hits topics ripe for satire in the format like teen insecurity, drugs, and sex, and has the right look for Adult Swim.
(S04E03) I swear to you, dear reader, that I do my best to stay somewhat objective when reviewing The Venture Bros. It's tough, though, when the writers keep knocking them out of the park like this. We're only a few episodes in, but I'm already enjoying things more than I did with season three, and it's not just because this episode had mind-blowing prog rock and UPS guys with the Shining.
(S04E02) First things first. If you are not a connoisseur of '90s superhero cartoons or a huge nerd that has been closely following Venture Bros. news all the way through production, you may have missed out on the full "Handsome Ransom" experience. That is not to say the unaware couldn't have a good time, but things were made ten times funnier if a viewer knew that the not-so-pure Captain Sunshine was voiced by Kevin Conroy, aka Batman.
Conan O'Brien's "Conaco" production company and actor Rob Corrdry both scored spots on Adult Swim for two new live-action sitcoms.
O'Brien's company won a spot for Eagleheart, a show about a fading TV star who wins a chance for glory once more on a production in Texas, but constantly clashes with the low-level TV exec in charge of the show.
Corrdry's medical drama spoof web series Childrens' Hospital will also go to Adult Swim. The channel will show re-edited versions of the episodes that aired on TheWB.com as well as produce new ones. Corrdry originally pitched the show to Comedy Central, but negotiations broke down with the network, probably because the show didn't have enough bimbo strippers and shirtless fat guys to fill their quota (cough, Secret Girlfriend, cough).
When FX initially picked up six episodes of its first foray into animated comedy, the plan for Archer was to pair it with It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Since that greenlight, two things happened.
First, FX got trigger-happy and greenlit a whole bunch of other shows (from the likes of Louis CK and Don Cheadle). Second, and more importantly, according to FX it turns out that from start through post, it takes almost a whole month to complete one episode of Archer. With Always Sunny premiering this Thursday night at 10PM ET on FX, slotting in Archer's six eps suddenly became impossible. So the plan has changed. Instead of pairing Archer with Sunny mid-season, FX plans to launch its fantasy-football themed sitcom The League instead. However, if you were looking forward to seeing Archer, I've got some good news.
This news has already been floating around for a while, thanks to sites like the Mantis-Eye Experiment, but things have been confirmed by Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer during their panel at DragonCon. Some footage of this has finally been released by AdultSwim.com, so you can stop crawling around YouTube for people's crappy cell phone recordings.
In season three, Tim and Eric took a step up. The shows got funnier and tighter, without losing any of the scattershot, what-the-hell-am-I-looking-at feel. They upped the ante on creepy and uncomfortable with the "Child Showcase" sketch, featuring Patton Oswalt and Rainn Wilson as children singing inappropriate songs while an approving host looks on. It's an immediately unsettling image (though nothing really tops Chippy for that so far), a seamless special effect that puts Oswalt's and Wilson's heads on a kid's body.
It must be hard to draw in the kind of ratings the average television executive expects (average=viewers who are willing to commit mass suicide if they miss a rerun of Chico and the Man) when you're anchored to one theme or genre. But it's not impossible.
One network that seems very close to giving up entirely is the Cartoon Network. According to the Los Angeles Times, CN's new lineup of live-action, reality-based programming is tanking in the ratings and rumors are swirling that the CN may drop the "C" in its name. Does the head of Radio Shack now work for the Cartoon Network?
The two new original comedy animated series include Regular Show and the intriguingly entitled Horrorbots. The former was developed by the network's sort of "animator in training" developmental system, Cartoonstitute.
Regular Show is created by J. G. Quintel and was developed as a short for the development program. In each episode, "two bored groundskeepers, Mordecai (a six-foot-tall blue jay) and Rigby (a hyperactive raccoon) are best friends who spend their days trying to entertain themselves by any means necessary, much to the displeasure of Benson (their boss, who is a gumball machine) and to the delight of Pops (an older, lollipop-headed gentleman)."