Monday, November 22, 2010

The Venture Bros. - Season 4

Season four of Adult Swim's best series began with a broken promise and ended with a bang. Instead of one long run of thirteen episodes, the creators promised two blocks of eight with smaller gaps in between, not only reducing the wait time for more Venture goodness, but providing more content overall. Unfortunately, there were some production delays that come with your show largely being produced by two dudes, and the finale didn't actually air until a month after the rest of the second half and well over two years since season three ended. Still though, that finale exemplifies the quality the series has become known for. The show has undoubtedly gotten more profane, as the boys have finally started aging and the world has become more adult with them. It's not the twisted Jonny Quest parody it was before, but a full world filled with interesting characters, and sometimes those characters swear a lot. That shows in the finale's best gag, and one of the show's best ever, as various characters describe what they heard a "Rusty Venture" sex act was, and the precise placement of bleeps that mostly failed to actually hide the meaning of what they were saying was amazingly funny.

That humor is something that a lot of fans said was missing in the third season, although I have to vehemently disagree. They thought the show was too focused on backstory and minutia and not on actually being funny. Personally I've always enjoyed both sides of the show, but I do think these episodes might have struck a better balance between the two. Again we see this in the finale, which was an hour long and gave ample time for lots of laughs at the home school prom and a ton of important moments in the show's mythology - characters quitting their jobs, moving on emotionally, dying, or blasting themselves into space so aliens can cure their diseases. It speaks to the quality of the writing that an extended sequence involving heavily secondary characters like Colonel Gathers, the head of the OSI, and the Lepidopterists can be compelling and have significant implications for whatever happens next. It's a cartoon that does so much more than any other currently running, and is truly one of the most interesting and entertaining science fiction settings in existence.

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