Review: Venture Brothers - Season 5 (DVD/Blu-Ray)

Written by Guest Contributor: Jefferey Pinkos Venture fans have good reason to rejoice. After a three-year-long self-imposed hiatus, The Venture Brothers returned to DVD/Blu-Ray this week. Without coming off all fannish and hyperbolic, all is well once again.

Beyond the obvious, this marks a return to the adventure/comedy with an entrenched pop cultural sensibility, and audiences will find the show’s creators Messrs. Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick delivering stronger and more consistent episode season. That consistency, some crude cynics may say, might come from the season’s shortened length — ten episodes in total, if you include the Halloween and Shallow Gravy specials. I say it’s a trade-off. Last season, a massive sixteen episodes, strained the efforts of the creators. It had to be split in half and prompted the hiatus and almost broke the damn show. So, ten episodes of some of the best serialized television on the air and the promise of more later within a reasonable period of time, I can deal.

Venture Bros Season Five CoverFor one, the animation is fantastic. Compared to its first season, released ten years earlier, it’s night and day. Much of the aesthetic of Adult Swim fare is decidedly lo-fi. Here we get lush backdrops and amazing colors. Check the Doc Savage like jungle scenes in “Venture Libre,” or the laboratory scenes in “What Color Is Your Cleansuit?” e.g.

It continues the worldbuilding and mythmaking, and doesn’t shy away from humanizing its characters. Last year, Dean Venture, a previously underserved character, underwent a cathartic pair of events and spends this year dealing with it. Some fans found it a flat plot line; instead it takes its time. It deals with relationships in a natural progression, a daring move for a sitcom.

Like the other seasons, there is nothing in the way of extras. Of course there’s the always amazing and always insightful commentaries and some deleted scenes and extended audio tracks. Frankly, either you’re in or you’re out. If you’re in, buying this is an obvious move. If you’re not, start at the beginning (season one is streaming on Netflix) or check out what’s wrong with your life. Do you hate joy?

Now all that’s left is the waiting, as they say. Season six is underway. Who’s up for a binge watch?

Score: 4/5

Creators: Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer Distributor: Adult Swim/Cartoon Network Price: $31.97 (Blu-Ray) $24.98 (DVD) Release Date: 3/4/14