Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Two - The Venture Bros.: Season 1, Pilot, "See, this is what happens..."

...when you watch a crap ton of Jonny Quest and smoke a lot of weed.

But, really, that's a good thing.

Done in the style of the old Hanna-Barbera adventure cartoons from the 60's and 70's, Venture Bros. definitely emulates those awkward, super-science boys shows in all the right ways while lampooning their faults with obvious plays, puns, and reversals.

Focusing on the Venture family, where Dr.Venture is an obvious analog to Dr.Benton Quest and the boys are a cross between the eponymous Jonny and Frank and Joe Hardy from, you guessed it, The Hardy Boys mystery novels. Race Bannon is replaced by the rage-prone Brock Sampson (voiced by Patrick Warburton) who only seems to get amped about sex and violence.

While the series as a whole draws inspiration from just about all things geeky and counter-culture from the past fifty years, from David Bowie to Marvel Comics, the pilot itself only carries a few such references (like the obvious Reed Richards/Mr.Fantastic clone).

There are also a few key design and character issues that never made the transition to the series proper, the most noticeable being the latent sexuality that Dr.Venture subtly exhibits towards an uncaring Brock.

While the regular series definitely paints Dr.Venture as a failure at life and love, there's never any sexual tension between he and Brock save for this one episode... though they are the effective parents of the boys in the form of hetero life-mates.

I don't know if the network wanted to tone down the idea of Doc Venture lusting after Brock, even though the show was firmly rooted in their racier Adult Swim block, but the idea was transferred, instead, to VB's actual Jonny Quest analogs, Action Johnny and Race Bannon who are implied to have had some sort of loving relationship. But that is a conversation for another day when talking about the rest of the series, not the pilot.

The pilot itself is fun, even if some of the jokes run a little too long or have uneven payoffs, like the "we don't have a mom" silence or the ninja's paraphilia. It's easy to see why the series was picked up and it does improve over time. Let's just say that, despite its flaws, there was lots of potential in this pilot.

Also, Hookers, Supervillains, and Violence.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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