An enjoyably surreal animated series currently airing on the Cartoon Network, "Venture Bros." is definitely unique, but it develops its universe well enough so that it doesn't seem weird for the sake of being weird. The series focuses on Dr. Venture, a scientist who keeps busy (in the opening episode, we see him teaching at a community college in Tijuana), but who also deals with a drug issue and having to live in the shadow of his more successful father.
There's also the doctor's two twin sons, Hank and Pete, who are rather dim to say the least. The two manage to get into trouble, despite the fact that they often think they mean well. Helping out the family when they get into hot water is their bodyguard, Brock Samson, who bulldozes just about anyone or anything that gets in their way, including super-villians like Monarch and his girlfriend...Dr. Girlfriend.
The series throws its characters into action scenes in-between moments of adult humor, sarcasm and amusing bits of workplace humor, all combining to form a fun parody of shows like "Johnny Quest". The show's animation is first-rate, with a style as unique as the material. Voice work is also fantastic, with Patrick Warburton being a highlight as the deadpan Brock.
The second season opens exceptionally well, with a hilarious sequence largely following Dr. Venture as he tries to "find himself" through a drug and rave fueled journey, chased by Brock. As funny as the scene is on its own, the brilliant choice of song - Aquagen and Rozalla's techno track "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)" takes the whole bit to another level. The second season opens with the boys having died, but they do return early in the season, as do the Venture's enemies.
The plots are still wonderfully, marvelously weird in season 2, including: "Victor. Echo. November" (The Phantom Limb and Dr. Girlfriend go on a civil double-date with Monarch and some girl he met on the internet), "Assassinanny 911" (Brock leaves his violent ex-girlfriend in charge of the family while he's gone) and "Escape to the House of the Mummies", part two of an Egyptian adventure that never had an actual part 1 episode.
VIDEO: "Venture Brothers" is presented by Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in 1.33:1 full-frame (occasional, brief segments are presented in widescreen), the show's original aspect ratio. The picture quality looked terrific, with the animation appearing consistently crisp and well-defined throughout.
Aside from some minor shimmering and a few slight artifacts, the picture appeared clean and clear, with no edge enhancement or other concerns. Colors looked bright and vibrant, with no smearing.
SOUND: The stereo soundtracks on these episodes were quite nice, with crisp dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: Commentary from co-creators Chris "Jackson Publick" McCullough and Eric "Doc" Hammer (as well as the occasional special guest) on all episodes. Finally, we get quite a few enjoyable deleted scenes and a tour of the creators' "Super Top Secret" Astro Lab base.
Final Thoughts: Those seeking a fun (and funny) cartoon adventure that's a departure from the norm should check out "Venture Bros." The DVD offers a nice round of supplements, along with very good audio/video quality. Recommended.