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Case Number 27108

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The Venture Bros. Season Five (Blu-ray)

Warner Bros. // 2013 // 198 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 19th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson recently accepted an entry-level position with OSI entering data and processing ghost yetis.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Venture Bros. Season One (published June 7th, 2006), The Venture Bros. Season Two (published May 9th, 2007), The Venture Bros. Season Four, Volume One (published November 4th, 2010), The Venture Bros. Season Four (Blu-ray) (published March 17th, 2011), The Venture Bros. Season Three (published April 9th, 2009), and The Venture Bros. Season Three (Blu-Ray) (published March 30th, 2009) are also available.

The Charge

Go Team Venture.

Opening Statement

Adult Swim's moneymaker returns after what seems like a decade of off time. Whatever. The Venture Bros. is where it's at.

Facts of the Case

Hank and Dean Venture have arrived at a crossroads. For Hank, there still remains a world of potential boy adventuring, with supersuits at his fingertips and a promising career as a retailer in the burgeoning HankCo. On the other side, Dean, usually wide-eyed and eager, has withdrawn into a pensive, semi-dark teenage cocoon. Dr. Venture, meanwhile, is as self-absorbed as ever.

Elsewhere in the Venture universe: villain-turned-bodyguard Sergeant Hatred gets used to his new breasts; The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend continue to hatch schemes to menace Doctor Venture; Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton) does the dirty work back at OSI; and somewhere, perhaps in another dimension, Dr. Orpheus combs his mustache approvingly.

The Evidence

The unveiling of a new installment of The Venture Bros. is always a cause of celebration in the Johnson household and it should be in your. That's not just because it's as rare as the passing of a comet that was last seen in the Mesozoic Era; it's because you can always depend on this show to cough up a good time. Five seasons and a decade later, co-creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick have managed to keep their homage to Johnny Quest and assorted Saturday morning cartoons relentlessly clever, subversive and laugh-out-loud funny.

What I appreciate the most about the show as it's aged, is Hammer/Publick's willingness to mix things up. They'll kill off a fan-favorite or re-assign Brock Samson, but I never feel like these moves are simply to twist the knife. It feels as if they're reenergizing their series and their creative juices and, while I still think Sergeant Hatred kind of blows and not a moment goes by where I don't miss the rapport between Henchmen 24 and 21, I can live with the changes because the show always feels smart and fresh.

I suppose I'm just going to have to accept that Sergeant Hatred is here to stay and Brock Samson is occupying a reduced role (due in part to, I'm guessing, Warburton's tight schedule; Publick and Hammer talk about having to record his dialogue over the phone sometimes). The good news: I've warmed up to him, especially as his persona has shifted more towards exasperation (and occasional haplessness); it's a nice juxtaposition with the constant lunacy surround the Venture compound. What I can't abide as much is the much-reduced presence of Dr. Orpheus. I know I just proclaimed my trust in the showrunners the paragraph prior, but, still, give us more Dr. Orpheus; two episodes just isn't going to cut it.

But that's about all I have as far as negativity. The season is a strong one, varied in its adventures and sporting large amounts of biting, esoteric humor. Whether it's a Brock-centric OSI episode that plays with chronology or Dr. Venture's boyhood vacation destination revealed to be an elaborate ruse or Hank going feral as The Bat or, my favorite, a large-scale government project on the Venture campus that leads to an epic struggle between humans and mutants for control of the world: every episode packs a generous dollop of entertainment.

A sound Blu-ray for the boys to adventure on: a vibrant 2.40:1, 1080p and a clean Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround add up to a nifty tech treatment all around. Extras: the Venture Bros. Halloween special, the short "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story," episode commentary by Publick and Hammer and deleted scenes.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Stealing Chief Justice Michael Stailey's observation: the season ended too abruptly. The Venture Bros. Season Five finale just didn't feel like a finale and, versus other seasons, there wasn't as much connective tissues throughout the episodes.

Closing Statement

Speedsuits for everyone.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 85
Acting: 90
Story: 90
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
• English (SDH)
Running Time: 198 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Adventure
• Animation
• Blu-ray
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Bonus Episodes


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