If Jonny, Haji, Race Bannon, and the rest of the Jonny Quest
gang were idiots, their animated adventures might play out like The Venture Bros.
, a consistently funny spoof on '60s adventure cartoons from the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming. The premise should be immediately familiar and nostalgic for any Saturday morning TV aficionado who grew up in the '60s and '70s: Dr. Venture (James Urbaniak from Henry Fool
) is an inventor, while sons Hank and Dean's insatiably curiosity lands them in hot water with supervillains, robots, magicians, and the like. Brock Sampson (voiced by the very funny Patrick Warburton of The Tick
) is the good doctor's right-hand man, who rescues the boys with good old-fashioned manpower. The twist in The Venture Bros.
is that every single character, down to the supervillains' henchmen, are complete and utter dolts, and their adventures are inspired more by foolishness, personal obsessions (for Brock, it's sex and violence, and for Dr. V, it's diet pills and a daddy fixation), or just plain cosmic weirdness than any sense of post-Kennedy-era adventure and derring-do. The result is subversive and occasionally shocking insanity (Dr. V loses his kidneys in the series opener "Dia de Los Dangerous"; Dean suffers an unmentionable personal injury in "Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean"; the boys believe that Dr. Venture's stomach tumor is actually a pregnancy in "Return to Spider Island"), but with enough flashes of surreal brilliance to make this a must-have for modern animation fans. The Season One
two-disc set contains all 13 episodes, as well as two bonus episodes--the show's original pilot, "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay" (for Hank and Dean, the secret is something decidedly salacious), and "A Very Venture Christmas," as well as a handful of deleted scenes. Commentary by the show's creators and cast can be heard on five episodes, including "Turtle Bay," and the extras are rounded out by "Behind the Scenes of the Live-Action Movie," a 20-minute mockumentary that features much of the voice-over talent dressed in some ridiculous costumes. --Paul Gaita