TV Recap: Venture Brothers, Season 5 Premiere

justin matchick goes on a ‘venture …

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Is there anyone on this planet more patient than a Venture Bros. fan? The show had been airing for nearly a decade and is only now just entering its fifth season. The breaks between seasons have been remarkably long; including an almost three year wait between season four’s finale and tonight’s long-awaited season premiere. But good things come to those who wait, and The Venture Bros. has proven over the years to be one of the most consistently funny shows on television, thanks to the creative wit of creators Doc Hammer and Chris McCulloch. Hammer and McCulloch have been able to develop what began as a parody of the ’60s cartoon series Johnny Quest into a series with its own spectacular cast of multifaceted characters, complex mythology, and intricate plotting.

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Tonight’s hour-long premiere kicks off right where we left off at the end of season 4. The morning after the ill-fated faux-prom thrown for Hank and Dean is filled with hangovers, regret, and surprising revelations. Rusty has the worst wake-up call of all though, getting a call from his brother J.J. asking how far along the plasma ray shield he commissioned for his space station is coming. In typical Venture fashion, Rusty hasn’t even started planning the shield and finds himself having to try and complete a project designed to take several years in a matter of months. This leads to him putting together a slapdash team of young scientists (including characters played by guest stars Aziz Ansari, Wyatt Cenac, and Kate McKinnon) in an effort to rush the shield through production.

Rusty’s lack of foresight and carelessness of course leads to several terrible disasters befalling the scientists, chief among them the fact that they being to grow a new set of arms and develop telekinesis thanks to being cooped up in a radiation filled lab for months on end. Rusty’s problems are exacerbated thanks to the fact his old nemesis The Monarch is still hell-bent on enacting revenge on the Venture family for reasons still unknown. Venture Bros. always ups the ante at just the right moment, and the final minutes of tonight’s episode sees all the different plotlines converge at once with the Monarch’s revenge, the mutated scientists, and the Venture clans efforts to put an end to the madness all coming to a head at once.

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The show has always found fun ways to play around with chronology and tonight is no different, with the episode taking place both before and after the Venture Bros. Halloween special from last year. Although there are some very important developments that take place during that particular special, they aren’t focused on so much here that they could confuse any viewers who might have missed it. It’s interesting that in a show called the Venture Bros. the actual Venture brothers, Hank and Dean, get relegated to the B and C plots of this episode. This isn’t the first episode where they’ve been sidelined, but the rest of the supporting cast is so delightful to watch and the flow of the episode moves so freely one hardly even notices their lack of screen time.

The massive amount of heroes and villains to keep track of would become bewildering in any other show, but here the pacing is so tight that even an episode twice as long as normal moves smoothly and never offers a moment of confusion. Joke can be measured on a by-second basis, with so many hilarious moments coming one right after another that it becomes almost impossible to turn away from the screen. Nothing else can offer such a perfect blend of action, comedy, and suspense and deliver them all to the viewer at freight-train speed. Simply put Venture Bros. is, pound-for-pound, the most enjoyable television watching experience available right now.