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!