Thursday, April 18, 2024

The Venture Bros Is Still One Of Adult Swim’s Best Cartoons.

December 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Cartoons, News

( My favorite Adult Swim show ever is The Venture Bros. I grew up on launch-era Cartoon Network and most of the line-up was made up of older cartoons mixed in with a couple of new ones. As time went on, the older cartoons started to take a back seat before being phased out and moved to Boomerang.

What Counts As Super Science?

One of my favorite old school cartoons was Jonny Quest. While I loved The New Adventures of Jonny Quest, the original from the 1960s was just straight up adventure and super science. If you’re wondering about super science, it’s in most comics and screen adaptations. It’s the kind of science that results in some superheroes and villains.

Iron Man is super science. Reed Richards and Doctor Doom? They came to the Marvel dance because super science mixed with superhero-type adventure. The popular Rick & Morty—also an Adult Swim show—includes super science. If it’s science fiction that results in technology that would be decades ahead of the series’ present time—you’re dealing with this trope.

It was prominent in sci-fi magazines and comics of the 1950s and 1960s. Jonny Quest, Astro Boy, and Tetsujin 28-go were some of the earliest pieces of sci-fi animation to explore this. Robots, giant mutated animals, and giant mutated robotic animals are stock foes in super science fiction.

The main threat are the mad doctors creating these menaces to kill or capture adventurers. Overall, it’s a particular, somewhat dated brand of science fiction.

The Venture Bros Rolls In

While comics were pretty much consistent as ever with super science—because it’s the foundation of most superhero origin stories—on TV, that wasn’t the case. There was definitely science fiction and space adventures, the Jonny Quest-brand of sci-fi didn’t have a representative on TV.

That is until 2003 when animation veteran Jackson Publick (Christopher McCulloch) finally managed to get The Venture Bros picked up. The series features a lot of bleak humor but also spoofs super science and superhero adventures of the 1960s.

Initially, it was centered around Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture’s failures in life and in the science field. His father was the famous Dr. Jonas Venture who died during a job in space. Jonas was everything Rusty never became. However, he never looked down on him or expressed disappointed in how Rusty wasn’t initially taking to science. Rusty would accompany his father and his close friends on adventures.

He was a star as a child, having a TV series about his adventures. All in all, Rusty’s childhood was very Jonny Quest-like. Decades later, Rusty is finally in the science field, has two twin sons—Hank and Dean. The Venture Bros accompany Dr. Venture and his quadruple tough bodyguard Brock Samson on jobs that become adventures.

As mentioned before, Rusty has pretty much failed as a scientist. He’s actually pretty good at what he does but a mixture of depression and one too many misadventures have taken him out of the game. That said, he gets by on an adequate reputation and the name of his father—which only adds more stress on him.

A Show That Spans Genres

With each passing season, The Venture Bros brought in more bizarre characters who become a part of the Venture Family circle. More villains also start to appear with The Monarch being key among them. With more characters comes an overlap in genres. The show went from super science adventure to include superhero sci-fi, horror and occult, and even straight up spy action.

That’s one—of many—things I love about this show: it folds in related subgenres, builds a world of organizations and relationships, then expands it. The perfect example of this is the flashbacks to Rusty’s college years where we find out that he went to school with his nemesis The Monarch, reoccurring enemy Baron Werner Unterbheit, and friends Brock Samson and Pete White.

This show has so many flashbacks that reveals another layer of Team Venture’s world and achieved this across several seasons. The Venture Bros is just extremely consistent with the writing.

How about those of us who love action? You’re in luck, The Venture Bros has a lot of that as well. Because Dr. Venture operates in the private sector repairing complex equipment, he flies close to the intelligence community while being a part of the military industrial complex.

Pair that with the constant threat of attacks from supervillains. His best friend and bodyguard Brock—and later Sergeant Hatred—is needed to clean house. The guy is a beast, a killing machine, even. Usually the action packed part of an episode comes in when an experiment, job, or even a date goes south either because Rusty and Dean, something Rusty forgot to do, or just outside interference.

In expanding the world of The Venture Bros there are a lot of possibilities for misadventures and revelations. Check it out if you can!

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


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