Warner Bros. // 2008 // 286 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 30th, 2009
"Why did you buckle up? Why did you buckle up?!" -- Number 24
Adult Swim's finest effort and, well, one of the best half-hour-longs you're going to find, animated or otherwise, gets its very own Blu-ray release. You wouldn't want to disappoint the OSI now, would you?
For their third season, the Venture Brothers, Hank and Dean, find themselves in a whole new set of exciting adventures and mysteries! Maybe it's their uncle opening a Venture museum on Spiderskull Island, the Monarch's relentless pursuit of a grudge (even if that means a senile half-man half-sea-cow will have to die), Rusty's globe-trotting scavenger hunt for a powerful orb, or maybe because they have to fend for themselves while caught in the middle of a violent OSI/Butterfly war.
Thirteen episodes of further zooming around in the X1 and putting up with the considerably unhelpful help of H.E.L.P.E.R. await!
If you're in the know, then I don't need to go on and on about the greatness of the The Venture Bros. Like any comedy series, the gags can be hit or miss, but when creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer are on their game, there's not much that can touch the show for sheer wit and hilarity. And thankfully, they're on their game a lot during this go-round.
Much of Season Three is devoted to character development, as we get a clearer look at the nuanced history between Rusty Venture and the Monarch which, as series followers have come to expect, drives most of the storylines. Even with Rusty assigned a new arch-enemy (the Sergeant Hatred's get-to-know-you moments are classic), Monarch nurses his insatiable appetite to nuke the Venture family. The legendary Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton) stands in the way, as usual. If you're a fan of Warburton's Alpha-male voiceover performance, then rejoice: Brock is arguably the central character this season, culminating in the Samson-centric, kickass two-part finale. As expected, the season ends with a cliffhanger, and without getting spoilery, it involves Brock making a world-changing choice. However, it's overshadowed by the death of a significant character, which affected me more than any series capper to date, including the infamous Season One ender. Be sure to listen to Doc and Jackson's commentary on the last episode, as they joke about the decision and deal with some pretty aggressive writer's remorse.
Look, here's how it shakes out: The Venture Bros. is one of my favorite shows currently on the air. It's endlessly rewatchable, exceedingly clever, and stocked with some of television's most memorable characters, even if they are entirely two-dimensional. Season Three is right up there as the series' strongest.
On Blu, the episodes look fantastic. The animation may not be Pixar-level, but the style is vibrant and engaging. Colors are comic-book-rich, rendered robustly in high-definition. You will not see brighter, livelier Team Venture animation. The caveat: as attractive as the video quality is, the bump in resolution doesn't offer a stark contrast to standard-def. But it's there and if you're expanding your Blu collection, you won't be disappointed with the picture. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is clean, aggressive, and pushes out that sublime soundtrack with verve. Speaking of which, the centerpiece bonus feature is an accompanying music CD, featuring 20 tracks of JG Thirwell's awesome score. On disc features are deleted scenes (in purely storyboard form), plus Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick's episode commentaries, which are a lot of fun.
I would have appreciated significantly more Dr. Orpheus.
A great season for a terrific show scores a solid Blu-ray release. And can I just mention the cover art is yet again wicked pisser?
Dude, Not Guilty!
Review content copyright © 2009 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 286 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes
* Music CD