Coming to All 4 through Adult Swim, The Venture Bros. is one of the cartoon network’s most palatable, non-weird animated pastiches. Creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick ask a what-if with its premise, and it’s as throwaway as possible: What if Johnny Quest became a jaded adult?
The Venture Bros. centres around the Family Venture, with patriarch Rusty – an inventor, scientist, all-round smart man whose boyish charm left with puberty – now hitting middle-age. He’s balding, fattening in places, clinging to the good ol’ days, while crafting in the Venture Compound. His two sons form the gateway into the world for us as an audience: nerd Dean and jock Hank (although they’re both carrying the smart genes of the family, and neither have any real social capabilities). The Venture Bros. go on adventures with Papa Rusty and their hired heavy, Brock Sampson (Patrick Warburton’s greatest role), meeting various old friends of the former child adventurer and many, many super-villains too.
The super-villains are where The Venture Bros. shines most. The world-building of this show is first-rate material, and as the series progresses we see Venture Arch The Monarch grow from ‘I must kill Dr. Venture’ to a well-rounded human with wants, desires, needs, and a girlfriend with powers and goals loftier than he could ever manage. Even Henchmen and women in this show aren’t passing by for one joke – you think numbered henches would be expendable, but as the show progresses, you connect, are holding close to and wanting the best for even the smallest character. And laughing all the way to boot.
The Venture Bros. may have only had 7 seasons over the course of, gulp, 15 years and counting (All 4, at the time of launch, has Seasons 1 to 6), but watching on All 4 means a. You don’t have those painful 2-3 year gaps between seasons and b. you can indulge in the detailed, beautifully crafted world, storylines, characters, and artistry on display in every episode. While Rick And Morty is Adult Swim’s big seller, Robot Chicken has the huge cameos, and Eric Andre brings the weird surreality the network prides its brand on – remember Too Many Cooks was something it commissioned – it’s The Venture Bros. that shows the most commitment to heartfelt, belly-laughing, thoughtful and grand animated sitcom storytelling. This gem is an under-seen, under-valued priority in the Adult Swim catalogue.
The Venture Bros.: Season 1 to 6 are available to watch and download on All 4, as part of over 300 episodes in its Adult Swim channel.