on January 8, 2011
Yeah, it sure is a drag that this season was split into 2 releases, even worse that after I pre-ordered volume 2, a short while later there was an announcement on Amazon that the entire season four would be released in Blu-ray on the very same day (to add insult to injury), but with a show I love as much as this one, I'll refrain from my usual tirades, rants, conspiracy theories, vitriolic cursing and death threats, bite the bullet and remind myself how fabulous the second half of this season was. Brock's back in all his glory, Sphynx plays an integral element with Hunter at the helm along with Shoreleave now an important and hysterical addition, Whitey and Billy feature prominantly, Molotov Cocktease and her comrades are back to up the ante, the Monarch is ever-present along with his henchmen and muse, the adorable yet husky-voiced Dr. Mrs. the Monarch, the Guild is fleshed out a bit more and the Triad is afoot and, somewhere in the midst of all this monumental madness, Team Venture manages to get a bit of screen time as well. On top of it all, the one hour season finale is probably one of Adult Swim's crowning achievements. I can't wait to see these episodes again. "Go Team Venture!"
on March 23, 2011
This is an actual review of the product itself and not just the fourth season!
What you are getting is six plus hours of the Venture's hot new envelope pushing complete fourth season on one disc loaded with extras.
The set includes creator commentary on all the episodes, deleted scenes, and four more features: this is captain feature, all of the finale promos, comic con season four trailer, and lastly the lost season three cold open. - 10/10
The package art design features both the clean and bloody speed suits and comes in a regular BD digi-pack case. - 10/10
The BD disc menu is sleek and easy to use, it is one of my favorites BD menus of all time b/c it's simple and works. - 10/10
Not much is needed to be said about the sixteen episodes b/c they are the best and I loved the new season, but here is a list of the best episodes within this season:
"Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel"
"The Better Man"
"Pinstripes & Poltergeists"
"The Diving Bell Vs. The Butter-Glider"
"Everybody Comes to Hank's"
"Bright Lights, Dean City"
"The Silent Partners"
The audio is good True HD, as I can actually hear all the different channels (layers/tracks) of audio, and subtle sound effects. - 9/10
The video is the only downfall of this BD, yes folks that is right.
The animation this season is the best and still looks very sharp and vivid on BD, but because artifacts show up often on the characters/backgrounds it's not perfect.
It's mostly three or four times an episode that someone's shirt will have a thousand blotchy boxes all over it. Maybe it's just my Sony HDTV, but I kind of doubt it since the season three BD has like maybe six scenes total with minor artifact issues. I get the feeling that this should have had a more accurate transfer, or maybe it needed to be two discs like it was going to be.
That is it, one minor (or very annoying depending on how much artifacts bug you) flaw in my opinion keeps this disc from being the best TV season BD ever. - 8/10
All in all this set is easily five out of five stars just as season 3 BD was, the creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer have really out done themselves with this new season, a huge special thanks should go out to them for all the hard work they have done. The next two seasons should prove to be very exciting for the Venture clan.
Go ahead and buy this BD now, or regret it later.
on July 10, 2013
If you're a Venture Bros. fan, this review is superfluous. You already own this DVD box set already (or the Blu-Ray version) or your mouse cursor is hovering over the "Add to Cart" button. Don't read any further, just push the button! This review is for people who haven't been turned on to this marvelous show yet. There are many things you need to know.
The Venture Bros. is one of the most intelligently-written shows in the history of TV. It is screamingly funny, it has amazing action sequences, it has probably the most complicated backstory in the history of complicated backstories, and it is a true labor of love. The show is ostensibly an hommage/parody of the old Jonny Quest action super-scientist cartoon genre, taking the perspective of "what if Jonny (Doc Venture in this show) grew up, inherited his Dad's super-science gizmos, realized he didn't have what it takes to be a scientist himself, and was angry and bitter about how he was treated as a kid?" And what if he had two clueless kids (the eponymous Venture Brothers) who have no idea what it's like not to live in a super-science compound? And what if he was surrounded by a bunch of other people as schmucky as he was, including lame super-villains, over-the-top macho secret agents, assorted hangers-on, and the occasional competent person who wonders what he's doing in the midst of all the chaos. But I can't do justice to the story in less than 20 pages; it's _that_ complex. It's worth it, though, because it's so interesting and the characters, despite their failures, are so appealing you want to know everything about them.
The other thing you need to know is that this is the cult show to end all cult shows. It is utterly uncompromising. The creators (Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer) assume you have watched all the previous seasons, and they delight in basing stories on minor plot points of earlier episodes that you've probably forgotten about even if you have seen them (the episode "Any Which Way But Zeus" is a good example of this). They also pepper each episode with hundreds of pop culture references ranging from very obvious to unbelievably obscure (part of the fun is trying to figure them out). So be warned: you need to watch the previous seasons (all of them!) before watching this one. Also, DVD is really the best way to watch the show, preferably on a computer. That way, you can rewind if you miss a reference or ten, and you can pause if you want to go online to the many Venture Bros. fan sites to figure out where you last saw such-and-such a character who just popped up out of nowhere. You'll also probably need to listen to the episode commentaries to really understand every last detail, if you're obsessive about this sort of thing. This sounds like a lot of work, and it is. It's actually kind of ridiculous how much time I've spent chasing down Venture Bros. references, but it's worth it because it makes the show that much more enjoyable. Season 4, part 1 is excellent, but part 2 really hits a new level of awesome, with almost every show being a classic (the one-hour finale in particular is jaw-dropping). Along the way, the characters that you know and love are given greater depth and you start to feel compassion for them (even the villains), even though they're still pretty much losers. In particular, we start to realize that Doctor Venture isn't just a failed super-scientist, he's also the product of horrible parenting from his famous super-scientist dad who warped him so much he's unable to function normally. And every other character has some kind of similar backstory explaining why they are the way they are.
I haven't given you many details about the episodes, both because it would take way too long and because I don't want to spoil the fun. If you like intelligently-written, clever, and amazingly twisted comedy, you will love this show. And watch out for that finale! It'll feel like the Secret President did a Rusty Venture on your Id!
on April 15, 2014
If you've made it through 3 season of Venture Brothers, season 4 is probably worth picking up. The basic dynamic of the show has changed a bit, with several major characters becoming secondary, and many secondary characters becoming central to the story.
The jokes are, unfortunately, beaten to death. Whereas in the past Venture Bros was very good about dropping unexpected lines and references in and just letting them be funny, this season the writers seem determined to make SURE you did not miss a joke. They do this by repeating them over... and over... and over. At one point the characters THEMSELVES almost seem to notice this "We get it already! You've already told us that..." but that doesn't stop the same tired punchlines from showing up again and again.
The storylines become far more intricate this season. Instead of one-off episodes that can stand on their own merits, most of this season is tied with previous episodes in some way, and missing something early in the run can become a problem later on. You might consider this a plus or a minus depending on your own particular taste.
Overall I think I would recommend watching the season if you are already a fan of the show. The basic humor still holds up and it is certainly worth a chuckle or two. If you are iffy on Venture Bros to start with now might be a good time to call it quits.
on March 22, 2016
This is a season of major changes, but it leads to so many great things for future seasons. Luckily, the discomfort of getting out of the structure created by the first two seasons is aided by foreshadowing from season three. With season four, you see that Publick and Hammer have had a very ambitious vision that they are unwilling to compromise (which is great news for us). Things take a very strong turn, but what dislike you may initially feel towards this brave new world is coming to terms with the fear of a change that could be detrimental to something that is already good. I can assure you that the show never loses its integrity, minute attention to detail and story structure, or its humor, poignancy, and knowledgeable dialog concerning so many elements of what I'll vaguely call "nerd culture." Season Four proves what Season Three already hinted at: the creators never just throw an idea (be it a character, story-line, theme, etc.) to the wall just to see if it sticks. Every element of the content is nurtured and meditated upon until it is ready to join the story. Nothing is ever forsaken, however minuscule, and is always brought back in a way that only adds to the story (Professor Impossible is a good example that doesn't give too much away regarding spoilers).
The Dr. Orpheus episodes really shine, but, beginning with "The Diving Bell vs. The Butter-Glider," the major evolutions of the narrative really start to reveal themselves in the most delightful ways. The humor is as strong as ever--exceeding season 3 and rivaling season 2 (which is perhaps the strongest season). However, don't let my reverence for the second season lead you to believe that it's all down hill from there: The Venture Brothers remains consistently strong all the way to Season 6. Aside from the show's innate hilarious nature, the creators have a strong acumen for illuminating the shallowness of certain widespread trends in nerd culture while still managing to remain reverent to certain works and pieces (they certainly aren't afraid of letting their opinions known). One of the great elements of the show is that is doesn't talk down to its viewers when using referential humor. For example, when they fashion a character that alludes to a monster from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they don't just let the allusion rest to show off their expansive knowledge but show that they are fully aware of what they're talking about through acknowledging that they are using an allusion in a specific way: leaving viewers in an interesting position of skipping looking up a reference and focusing on what dialog is actually established with the twist on the allusion.
The animation only continues to grow in beauty, the voice-acting is brilliant (and VERY under-appreciated), and the narrative complexities keep getting better.
Aside from a nice gallery of new characters, the evolution of the primary characters is given full attention. Hank, Dean, Brock, Rusty, The Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend, 21, Dr. Orpheus, Billy, and Pete all go through massive changes: some subtle, some abrupt, all great. Billy and Pete are always golden scene-stealers. Orpheus, who has a very realistic past despite his esoteric and mystical line of work, is given more development than he has in past seasons (along with the Orpheus specific characters like the Alchemist). Sergeant Hatred enters the story in a new way, and he is a wonderful wreck of a man. Of all the characters, I would say that Hank (who paradoxically changes by staying the same) and 21 are the characters who contribute the most depth to this season, and that was hard for me to say because I honestly love all of the characters. Brock is not as present, but that's a major point and serves a purpose to the story. I think the story-line I most enjoy, however, is Dr. Girlfriend/Dr. Mrs. The Monarch's singularity as a character. Aside from the many different elements of humor she brings to the story, her narrative is possibly the most fraught with struggle and inner-turmoil. It's so hard to pick a favorite story-line from this season because so many plots change is great, entertaining, and exciting ways. It's just as fun and hilarious as it is artistically magnificently and poignant.
Among long-running, adult-oriented animation, it is almost peerless. The creative team behind the show work tirelessly to make something that they can be proud of, and they should be. Unfortunately, despite claims of new-found critical attention to animation as a "worthy" artistic medium, this show continues to be overlooked in favor of live-action critic favorites that only perpetuate certain conventions of story-telling that have been monotonously praised--shows that take less effort and risk to produce content that still panders to a very narrow critical consensus of what is dubbed "good TV." Cartoon Network, however, has been bold enough in their selection of programming to allow animators a place to voice themselves and repeatedly show how animation as a more than valid medium, and you'd be hard-pressed to find any show that rivals the genius of The Venture Bros.
PS - Before moving on to Season 5, you should watch "A Very Venture Halloween." It explains a number of season 5 changes that might seem random if you haven't watched that glorious special.
Any fears that this superlative series would burn out after 2 or 3 outrageous seasons have proven to be unfounded; it's as great as ever and shows no signs of winding down.
Intelligent, clever, funny as hell, and full of surprises! I love it and look forward to more!
on January 28, 2016
The Venture Bros. series is one of my all time favorite TV shows, hands down. Begins as a fun parody of the old Johnny Quest cartoon but quickly develops it's own hilarious plot that grows with each new season. Very smart, very funny, great references for the target adult audience, well acted. I can't wait for the upcoming season 6. I recommend to anyone looking for that sweet spot between The Simpsons and South Park
on October 29, 2011
See my review on Volume One. All of the same comments apply.
At the end of season three I thought this show was done, Doc and Jackson had burned out and it wasn't going to be good any more - but they rescued it somehow, and season four is AWESOME. The writing sparkles, the animation looks great, and they avoided 99% of the mistakes they made last season.
There is a lot of cussing, but instead of being out-of-place and jarring like in season three, it works (except for the very last F-bomb, which still feels _wrong_ .. you'll know it when you hear it). Also in this season it really becomes obvious that too few voice actors are doing too many characters .. but these are minor flaws, overshadowed by how much sheer FUN I had watching this season.
on April 27, 2016
While I didn't like this season when it first aired on television, it got much better with a repeat viewing. It's just as brilliant as the other seasons. Layered, deep characters and smart, sharp writing. You can't go wrong.
on August 2, 2014
This, like all seasons of Venture Bros. is a must have for any fan. The animation style, comedy, music, and concepts are at once reminicent of a retro-future bygone past, and also of a future that is 'now'. My husband and I wish we could live at the Venture Compound and be friends with all of them. This show is funny as hell, action packed, super funny, and somehow also a great thing to have in the background; wheather you want to go to sleep with their familiar comforting voices in the background, or are having a casual get together with friends, wine & conversation. Love it, love it, love it.