In the early 2000s, The Venture Brothers aired late at night on Adult Swim. In the past two decades, the show cemented itself as a key piece of Western Animation.
The show follows the Venture family Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture and his twin sons Hank and Dean as they bumble their way through danger sometimes caused by Dr.Venture’s self-proclaimed arch nemesis, The Monarch. The only way they make it out alive is because of their bodyguard/secret agent, Brock Samson, or his temporary replacement Sergeant Hatred.
At its core, The Venture Brothers pokes fun at the Space Age and boy adventurer stories of the early 60s. Most particularly, the iconic Hanna Barbera show Jonny Quest, whose titular character appears in the show as a recovering drug addict who struggles with PTSD from his adventures as a child.
At first, the character had to be loosely based on the character. After finding out that Cartoon Network had the rights to the character, they took Jonny and made him an adult. However, the network put restrictions on what they can and cannot do with the character. This led the team to preserve the original character’s integrity by naming him Action Johnny.
Failures and Victories
The show highlights the failures of the Space Age and boy adventurer stories. Not only through Action Johhny but through the entire show. All the characters experience the fallout of failures from their pasts, their actions, and inactions which becomes the backbone of the show displaying that consequences are very real. While usually played for laughs, the very real in-universe effects are viscerally felt as the characters explore their traumas, faults, and motivations. This, paired with the show’s black comedy makes the show a hit and heralded as one of the best Western animation has to offer.
The series ran for seven seasons and has 5 specials. When the seventh season ended in 2018, Adult Swim immediately announced an eighth season. However, the series was canceled in 2020 as the writers were developing season 8. As one of Adult Swim’s most popular shows, the channel fought to keep the show alive in some capacity.
And they won. In 2021, a special was teased. However, at some point, the special turned into a full-length film.
This film, Radiant is the Blood of the Baboon Heart will serve as the series finale. The film will release digitally on July 21, 2023, and physical copies will be in stores on July 25, 2023.