The Venture Bros. S07E01
“The Venture Bros. & The Curse of the Haunted Problem”
Director: Juno Lee
Starring: Jackson Publick, Doc Hammer, James Urbaniak, Patrick Warburton, Michael Sinterniklaas
Writer: Jackson Publick
Review by Michael Walls-Kelly
“A Century of Venture-y”
It’s been over two years since The Venture Bros. season six finale, and it’s been over 15 years since the pilot episode of the series, “The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay,” aired on Adult Swim. Fans of the series are used to wait times. Fans of Rick and Morty who complained about the year or two wait between seasons — those sweet summer children — have been rewarded for their patience with a 70 episode pickup. Most fans of The Venture Bros. who have spent a decade and a half waiting patiently for news of a handful of new episodes every two or three years are all either dead or infirm and ravaged by age.
Season seven continues where we left off rather abruptly in season six. Due to an unfortunate and hilarious misreading of a series contract, the sixth season just sort of ended. Thankfully, the first three episodes of this season — colloquially called the “Blue Morpho Trilogy” by the series creators — will be wrapping up major plot lines that were set up during the Venture family’s move to New York while, presumably, introducing brand new ones.
We start off with a flashback of Jonas Jr. (James Urbaniak) uncovering the wreckage of the Gargantua-1, his father’s space station. A cameo by the freaky-ass Pazuzu statue from The Exorcist lets us know that shit ain’t right. In the present day — or whenever The Venture Bros. considers the present — former boy genius Rusty (James Urbaniak again), bodyguard Brock Sampson (Patrick Warburton), and broodier, slightly-smarter Venture brother Dean (Michael Sinterniklaas) start being haunted by holographs and electronics going haywire and the song “Street Life” by Randy Crawford.
It’s very easy to get acclimated to the world of The Venture Bros., even with the convoluted plot and world-building. The genius of the show is taking a simple plot (a haunted house/building) and expanding it outward (connecting it to the long history of Venture Industries) without losing the snappy dialogue and deep characters they’ve been developing since the beginning.
One of the better additions to season six and seven is Hank’s love life. The actual Venture Brothers have had a few false starts — it’s a long story — but their development over that last four seasons has been entertaining and fulfilling.
The episode ends, after a very welcome return of the Order of the Triad — Dr. Orpheus (Steven Ratazzi), Jefferson Twilight (Charles Parnell), and The Alchemist (Dana Snyder) — with the reveal that Jonas Venture Sr., Rusty’s domineering and adventuring father, is still technically “alive.” His head is inside the P.R.O.B.L.E.M. box, first seen in the second episode of the series, “Careers in Science.” Rusty’s albino friend and kinda-hacker, Pete White (Jackson Publick) endure the house of horrors before slamming a fire axe into P.R.O.B.L.E.M. Jonas’s spine, causing him to freak out and make the entire building flex.
Honestly, you have to watch the episode to get it. The point of The Venture Bros. isn’t the plot, as weird and entertaining and intricate as they can be. The jokes, esoteric references and, above all, characters, are the selling point for the entire show. Instead of a post-credit tag or joke, we get a giant question mark, which means the story won’t be wrapped up for another episode or so.
Thankfully we have the characters. No matter the wait, they’re always worth it.
Verdict: Watch it! This show continues to be worth the incredible wait. I always slip back into the rhythm and continuity of the show, no matter how long it takes. The production is as sharp and lush as ever, continuing a retro style while advancing its modern animation. The strong style and new direction of season six continues here. I can’t wait to see what else is in store.