Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I dare you to make less sense
Or, VENTURE BROTHERS, revisited:
My initial impression -- namely, that THE VENTURE BROTHERS were little more than THE TICK meets JONNY QUEST, and overall, the show was consistently only about half as funny as THE TICK, turns out to have been premature. As Mike Norton said in the only comment this blog has had in over a year (I think), you can't judge the series by the first seven episodes. It does, indeed, evolve over the first and second seasons into something that is far more complex and valuable than merely the sum of all its inadequate, badly damaged parts.
I kind of wish I'd watched the first two seasons without having the Big Secret About Hank And Dean pre-spoiled for me. As it was, I probably didn't get the full impact of the death scene at the end of Season 1, or the revised credit scroll at the start of Season 2.
Having said all that, and having watched with real pleasure as what at first seemed an extremely formulaic show did indeed develop into something with real depth and breadth, something that was both nuanced and rich, something that actually rose above the limitations of the genre and became a multifaceted and almost beautiful and moving ongoing story of one of the world's most tragically disfunctional extended emotional families, replete with some of the most bizarrely developed and unhealthy psychic symbioses imaginable... for all of that, I find myself, in the end, feeling disappointed.
I know where it came from. I went into the last two episodes of Season Two psyched, thinking "Okay, next paycheck I'm buying Season 3". I emerged on the other end of that particular 2 parter... deflated. It was a big grand superhero wedding story, and all my favorite VENTURE BROTHERS characters were there... and overall, I was just kind of bored and disappointed and depressed by it. Phantom Limb had been kind of cool, but now he was just another jerk. Dean's addled, delusional wanderings through the Monarch's engine room filled me with a burning desire to watch nearly anything else, even ROCK OF LOVE, while they were onscreen. The ongoing saga of the Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend/Fiance, the Monarch's two numerically-named henchmen, the revelation of the true identity of the Sovereign... nothing really seemed to work for me. The only thing that really worked for me was watching Brock lead the Monarch's horde of nearly worthless goons in an attack on Phantom Limb's forces... and Brock always works for me.
Which is yet another reason I'm disappointed... apparently, Brock leaves at the end of the third season, and is replaced as Dr. Venture's bodyguard by Sgt. Hatred. Yay.
So, yes, THE VENTURE BROTHERS did grow up to be something far more than it seemed like it could in those first seven episodes, and I did very much enjoy a lot of what I've seen much more than I expected to. But at this particular moment, I largely feel disappointed in the series, and have little interest in watching any more of it, knowing what I do of its future direction.
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