The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series DVD Review: The Magnum Opus of Jackson Publick & Doc Hammer

The Venture Bros.: The Complete Series is a repackaging of the previously released seven seasons of the cult favorite, Adult Swim TV series created by Jackson Publick (Chris McCulloch) and Doc Hammer. Following the pilot episode (“The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay,” available in the Season 1 Special Features) which aired on February 16, 2003, the series premiered on August 7, 2004 and ended with “The Saphrax Protocol” on October 7, 2018. Although the series was cancelled in 2020, to the great dismay of its fans, an actual finale will occur in July with The Venture Bros.: Radiant Is the Blood of the Baboon Heart.

The Venture Bros. is an imaginative menagerie of mad scientists, magicians, and monsters, as well a seemingly never-ending collection of costumed heroes and supervillains. It is also filled with pop-culture references, obvious and obscure. The series started as an adventure series spoofing Jonny Quest, and evolved into a heady dramedy about characters trying to find their place in the world.

While the episodes don’t have to be seen in order, it does enrich the experience because unlike other shows the characters don’t return to the same starting point at the beginning of each episode. This causes the characters and their relationships to one another to change and allows for plots that not only move the story forward but also fill in or create new histories. An example of the latter is “Spanakopita!” about a yearly festival Dr. Rusty Venture attends on a small Greek island, even though Season Five is the first viewers learn of it.

The Venture brothers are fraternal twins, Hank (Michael Sinterniklaas) and Dean (McCulloch), young boys with an innocence and simplicity straight out of the Hardy Boys. You expect to hear them say things like “Gosh” and “Gee willikers”. They are always up for an adventure, though they usually get in over their heads while illustrating that intelligence isn’t hereditary. Their father is boy adventurer/scientist Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture (James Urbaniak), a pill-popping scientist, who has failed to be as successful as his father, Dr. Jonas Venture. The aptly named Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton) is the Venture’s bodyguard with a license to kill that gets used on a regular basis. He wouldn’t know the meaning of the word “overkill” if it bit him in the “no-nos”, tore them off, spit them in his face, and then made him eat them.

In Season Three, the series expands into an epic narrative focusing on the stories of other characters beyond the core Venture family. This season is also the first on DVD to be released uncensored, which means there’s not only profanity but also depictions of nudity. However, it’s all male, so your adjust your expectations accordingly. In Season Four, Sergeant Hatred, former supervillian and convicted sex offender, becomes the Ventures’ bodyguard when Brock leaves until his return to the role in Season Six.

The Venture family’s main nemesis is the Monarch (McCulloch), who chose the guise because he was raised by monarch butterflies when he was orphaned. His partner-in crime is Dr. Girlfriend (Hammer). They get involved in a love/villain triangle with Phantom Limb, who they both used to work for. In Season Three, the Monarch marries her, leading her to go by Dr. Mrs. The Monarch. Their relationship grows more complicated in Season Five when Dr. Mrs. The Monarch is invited to join the Council of 13 to whom Monarch answers to as a supervillain.

The Venture Bros. is one of the best TV shows of all time because of the top-notch writing. The Complete Series, which currently stands at over 80 episodes across 14 discs with Special Features for each season, is a must-own for fans, although there’s nothing added to make it worth a double-dip for those who bought the series by season over the years. Those new to the series may want to sample an episode before committing, or if it sounds up your alley, dive right in as fortune favors the bold.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site.

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