Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Venture Brothers , Season 4.1

I have written about the cartoon The Venture Brothers every year I have had a blog, most notably here, here and here. I listed it as my second favorite cartoon show of the past twenty years behind The Simpsons, but truth to tell, even when I had cable I didn't watch The Simpsons every week, and I never missed an episode of The Venture Brothers. The show has had its ups and downs, but it is right now the only network show I love that hasn't been canceled, other than Mad Men and The Boondocks, both of which are in the long hiatus between seasons.

Adult Swim, the late night section of the Cartoon Network, has decided to have sixteen episodes in season four instead of the usual thirteen, splitting the season into two eight episode arcs. The first half is now over, and I appreciate the work done by the writers Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer. At the end of season three, they killed off an important minor character, Henchman 24, and had the coolest character on the show Brock Sampson quit his job as the bodyguard for the Venture family.

If you are a fan of comic books, you already know that death is not really a permanent situation, and that holds true in The Venture Brothers universe as well. Several characters were shown to be "dead", only to come back to life through one odd plot device or another. Henchman 24 appears to be well and truly dead, but we also see that he is haunting his old friend Henchman 21, shown above in the picture. As a duo, 21 and 24 were hilarious as characters and useless as minions. Their boss The Monarch once said they have the perfect combination of henchmen traits, both expendable and invulnerable. At the end of season three, 24's luck ran out, and this set 21 on his new quest to be all that he can be as a henchman.

Throughout Season 4.1, we had seen 21 talking to the skull of his departed friend 24, but in the final episode, we see the world through 21's eyes, so we hear both sides of the conversation he has with his welcome apparition. This last episode was also the only one this season to feature Brock Sampson in a major role. It was a very satisfying conclusion to this first half season.

Currently, there are only three shows I make an effort to watch as soon as they are available online: The Venture Brothers, Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, now wrapping up its second and final season, and the cheesy but enjoyable Legend of the Seeker, now in its second season in syndication and featuring two healthy heapings of feminine eye candy, Tabrett Bethell and Bridget Regan, as well as manly eye candy Craig Horner and veteran scenery chewer Bruce Spence.

While this post is about The Venture Brothers and the most important character in the fourth season, Henchman 21, since I wrote "feminine eye candy", I decided to use the important rule of visual story telling, "Don't say it, show it." For this reason, I include pictures of Ms. Bethell and Ms. Regan. As you can see, they are fine examples of The Beautiful Young People, and they have that whole blonde/brunette, bad girl/good girl vibe going for them. Many of the plot devices from Terry Goodkind's novels are very good, and I like the show more than I like his books, because Mr. Goodkind can get a little preachy and full of himself.

To be fair, can't we all?


47th Problem of Euclid said...

I love The Venture Brothers. I think The Venture Brothers and The Boondocks are the two best cartoons on television now, and The Boondocks has been on hiatus for the last two years.

Brock Sampson is the best character Patrick Warburton has ever done. I love Trianna, and the Alchemist cracks me up. The third season of VB was totally astonishing, and this season is excellent, especially the season premiere. Watching these characters evolve has been fascinating. You know you're in dangerous territory when Pete White and Billy Quizboy are the two sanest characters on the show. I love the Order of the Triad as a side group of heroes paralleling Dr. Venture's failure to do anything good or bad. Rusty is becoming a bit scarier this season; they've really begun to explore his dark side. And of course, who cannot help but love Dr. Girlfriend?

Matty Boy said...

Hi, 47! Nice to hear from you. You bring up many of the best characters from the show. Also, I wasn't aware that The Boondocks is coming back. Another great show.

I liked Warburton a lot in the Australian comedy The Dish, but Brock Sampson is pretty stunningly cool. I enjoyed the plot twist that they brought COBRA back as a counterbalance to evil more effective than OSI. It reminds me of the game Illuminati, where anyone can be secretly behind the scenes.

Some characters I'd like to see get some return time are Girl Hitler, Baron Underbeit, Team Venture and the guy who I think may be pulling many unseen strings, Mr. Brisbee.

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered what happened to Underbeit. Maybe the Pupa Twins put him on a "cold steel diet." I really loved how they wrapped up this season. Complex story lines, great characters, and funny as all get out. This is a fantastic show.

Matty Boy said...

I wrote COBRA when I should have written S.P.H.I.N.X. Is my face red.