[WARNING – This Venture Bros. review contains some minor spoilers.]
When I saw the first trailer for The Venture Bros. Season 7, I couldn’t help but wonder if Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick had read my reviews of Season 6 and my continual questions as to when Doctor Orpheus was finally going to rejoin The Venture Clan in their new digs in Manhattan. Lo and behold, our first glimpse of Season 7 saw Doctor Orpheus leading The Order of The Triad in trying to cleanse a demonic presence from Ven-Tech Tower.
Thankfully, this did turn out to be a preview of the first new episode in over two years – The Venture Bros. & The Curse of The Haunted Problem – and not a sneak-peak from further down the season. Everyone’s favorite Master of the Mystic Arts (well, second favorite if we’re going to be honest, now that everyone gets the joke behind Doctor Orpheus’ character) is firmly in evidence this week, as he and his team are summoned by Dean Venture when Ven-Tech Tower is apparently besieged by demons, ghosts or something spooky – a fact that is blatantly obvious to everyone except Doctor Venture and Hank.
The only reason Hank isn’t on-board with the ghost-busting effort is because he’s too busy dealing with a more important problem – his romance with Sierna Ong, the daughter of crime-boss and official Venture Family arch-enemy Wide Whale, has been discovered and he’s been forced out of his job and had his life and manhood threatened in a bid to keep him away from his love.
Those who disliked the sixth season’s adherence to a standard story structure and a requirement to see all the episodes in order will not be happy to know that trend has continued into Season 7. Indeed, this episode ends with a number of cliff-hangers. This isn’t the first time the show has done a two-part story (That occurred at the end of Season 2, for those keeping score, with the two-part finale Showdown At Cremation Creek) but it is the first time the season has opened with a two-parter.
Thankfully, while Publick and Hammer may continue to play with the formula of the series and the audience’s expectations, the show is fantastic. The writing for the episode (a solo effort by Publick this time around) is hilarious and the animation by Titmouse Inc. is as strong as ever. Possibly stronger, as some of the sequences involving the horrors unleashed by the entity taking over the Ven-Tech Tower present some truly disturbing and horrific imagery.
The show’s voice acting is another strong point, but one wonders if it is becoming more difficult for them to book the show’s expansive cast at this point. Patrick Warburton’s Brock Samson. for instance, is barely in the episode, apart from a few hilarious moments where even the normally unflappable Brock completely loses his mind faced with the insanity posed by the creature taking over the tower – a sign of how truly awful things have become. It is a minor point, however, and the ensemble continues to excel, no matter how briefly they are on-screen.
In short, despite an unexpected ending and the show’s creators continuing to experiment with their creation even now, The Venture Bros. is still as funny and fantastic as it ever was.