The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Go Team Venture!


There are people out there who would debate what the best animated series of the last ten years was. Some would say "Avatar the Last Airbender" (a contender), or "Spectacular Spider-Man" (a contender), or "Star Wars Clone Wars" (I never watched it), or "Young Justice" (great, but just shy of being a contender), or "Justice League Unlimited" (great, but not a contender), or "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" (but seriously, please don't... I might have to kill you on principle). My answer has consistently been "The Venture Bros" and season five continues to cement that title as far as I am concerned. If you want to disagree with me, bring it on. But I do acknowledge that the show is not for everybody. That being said, to quote Roger Ebert's review for "Jesus' Son": "No good film is for everyone. Only bad films are for everyone."

Like most shows, "Venture Bros" went through its share of growing pains, but when it found it's voice in late season one and early season two, it has remained consistently brilliant, and Jackson and Doc deserve accolades as two of the most brilliant minds working in animation. They created a wonderful world full of a wide array of colorful characters who, with few exceptions, share one thing in common: sublime failure. That and who can deny that The Monarch is one of the greatest characters in the history of animation?

I really loved the fifth season, new cans of worms were opened that gave us hints to what may be in store for season six. While I have my theories, one thing I have learned is to expect the anti-climatic... and that's not a knock against the show. Anti-climax is taken to an art form and plays into the theme of failure. We've been given a big tease as to the origins of The Monarch's hatred for Doc, and a connection that goes back father than we thought. Are they brothers? Cousins? Clones? I have my theories, but no expectations, because who knows?

Revelations flew out fast about the Guild of Calamitous Intent. We now know the identities of the majority of the Council of Thirteen, even if the Sovereign may not be who we thought he was (which, I admit, disappoints me a little); but who are the Investors and what is their connection to the Guild?

This season really belonged to Dean Venture, though. After four seasons of being a pansy crybaby, he has slowly come into his own. He is by no means admirable, but he's matured. I enjoyed his arc this season. Maybe he has the chance at a normal life, but most likely not.

This show does pop culture references right (suck it, Seth MacFarlane!), the plots and characters are consistently evolving, and there isn't an episode I don't enjoy. If I had to pick one con it's the long wait between seasons; but quality beats quantity and I am willing to wait two to three years for good TV. Maybe more TV shows should take a page out of "Venture Bros'" scheduling, especially if it means keeping the quality high. The BBC already does it with "Sherlock."

I cannot wait for the next season, but it looks like I'll have to. Will season six be the end? Time will tell. Until then: GO TEAM VENTURE!

10 comments:

  1. Interesting that you blame Seth MacFarlane for Family Guy when he doesn't write for the show anymore. Isn't that like blaming Matt Groening for the decline of the Simpsons.

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    1. "Family Guy" was never good.

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    2. Disagree with both of you. "Family Guy" was okay before it got un-cancelled, but Seth MacFarlane STILL deserves blame for everything the show does wrong now even if he doesn't write for it anymore. Why? Because he's still the showrunner. He still okays all the scripts. He even does many of the characters' voices, thus voices all the bad material. And whomever the writers are for the show are forced to follow the rules of Macfarlane's book of humor. So yes, MacFarlane is to blame for the decline of his own shows, among many other things he is to blame for. He is a pure hack, plain and simple.

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    3. Exactly, it often amazes me how little people seem to grasp how TV works. Do they think writers just come up with the premises and scripts all on their own?

      Go to ASK GREG and read the memos he's posted for most of the episodes to see how involved a showrunner is with each episode of their show.

      So, how about that Venture Bros show?

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  2. I'd further argue that The Monarch takes supervillain parody to an art form. He's inept and hilarious, but also a fully-developed character who could still fuck you up.

    And after a rough start, he and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch might be the most stable and loving couple in the series. I love how frisky they get this season.

    Season 5 was far too short, but I have high hopes for season 6. The Venture Brothers has grown like kudzu into something great, and despite being comedic, it still proves to the naysayers that American animation can handle complex continuity and worldbuilding if given the chance.

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  3. On the off chance you ever do decide to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I felt I should let you know that outside of a few episodes, most of the early stuff isn't very good. It takes till around the 2nd or 3rd season for it to get any good, and even then, most of the 3rd season's first half you would probably want to skip. Again, I don't know you would have want to watch the show, though I will say that for the most part, George Lucas isn't involved with it, though that doesn't stop people for blaming him for the bad parts of it. Not sure if him not being involved means anything to you.

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    1. I hate the prequels and that era. Why would I ever want to watch this?

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  4. Star Wars Rebels is taking place in that era and you said you might check it out, and one of the guys working with weisman (dave filoni) is working with weisman on his project.

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    1. No, Star Wars Rebels is taking place after the prequel/clone war era... but before the OT. Different.

      And once again, please stop. I have no interest in Clone Wars.

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  5. i wasn't even reccomending it (again, not the same guy). I was just giving an answer to you're question.

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