The Venture Brothers are no more
September 8, 2020 6:03 AM   Subscribe

The Venture Brothers has been cancelled. Announced on twitter yesterday by creator Jackson Publick (Christopher McCulloch). The Venture Brothers was a long running cartoon series written and largely voiced by Jackson and co-creator Doc Hammer. Originally a spoof of the earlier cartoon Jonny Quest the series expanded over time to include a regular cast of dozens of characters with an impressive resume of voice actors.

The series ran on Cartoon Network for 17 years, but only managed to produce 7 seasons of episodes. With the exception of a single episode it was written entirely by creators Publick and Hammer.

Notable characters include:
Dr "Rusty" Venture (James Urbaniak)
Hank and Dean Venture (Christopher McCulloch, Michael Sinterniklaas)
Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton)
The Monarch (Christopher McCulloch)
Dr Mrs The Monarch née Dr Girlfriend (Doc Hammer)
Professor Impossible (Stephen Colbert)
posted by Eddie Mars (41 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
This is terrible news. Kinda want answers. It's a show I think about at least every other day, and the go-your-own-pace model they had worked out with Cartoon Network was something that always gave me warm fuzzies for the channel. I want to know what happened. True travesty.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:24 AM on September 8, 2020

Adult Swim has since tweeted: We also want more Venture Bros. and have been working with Jackson and Doc to find another way to continue the Venture Bros. story.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:36 AM on September 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

One of the few shows that gets better every season. Hope a streaming service picks it up
posted by InfidelZombie at 6:37 AM on September 8, 2020

After Season 6 they were renewed for seasons 7 and 8; cancelling between 7 and 8 and preventing the production of 8 seems really shitty to me.

(Also kudos on the "LookAway" tag, the first thing I thought was "Get their clothes.")
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:48 AM on September 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

Most recently re-watched Everybody Comes to Hank's.
A++ will watch again.
posted by Glinn at 6:49 AM on September 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Anyway if you're curious about the show I feel like this clip from the Season 2 premiere captures its overall style well. If you've got access to Hulu, the first-season episodes Ghosts of the Sargasso and Tag Sale, You're It! both excel at communicating the underlying concepts and overall world of the show. Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean is also great but I feel like it benefits from already knowing the characters and their relationships in a way that the other two don't quite so much.

I will warn new viewers that, especially in the first few seasons, there's some problematic stuff- ablist and homophobic slurs mostly, and some racist depictions. This smooths out after awhile as the creators, frankly, grow up.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:03 AM on September 8, 2020 [11 favorites]

Has there ever been a better pairing of actor and score than Steven Rattazzi's Dr. Orpheus and JG Thirwell?
posted by whuppy at 7:11 AM on September 8, 2020 [7 favorites], I had no idea this was still on. I watched the seasons that existed as of 2008ish with my college boyfriend and liked them, but I thought it had gone off the air about a decade ago.

Sounds like yall would say it's worth catching up? (Or more realistically, going back to the start?)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:15 AM on September 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

The writing on this show was great, but it went for so long between seasons that I often found I'd forgotten about the intricate world-building and would miss a bunch of jokes and references. Still, it had a lot of great stuff - Everybody Comes to Hank's was totally delightful, for one.
posted by whir at 7:20 AM on September 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

It had such an erratic release schedule, owing I suppose to the fact that the scripts were mainly the work of 2 people, that it is strange that it was cancelled. It always felt more like a special event then a normal series. In any case, it is a shame especially since in that last season it felt that things were wrapping up emotionally and were edging towards some conclusions.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:33 AM on September 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

posted by mikelieman at 7:47 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Anyway if you're curious about the show

I was curious. I found this from 2013.

Venture Bros: The Story So Far
posted by philip-random at 8:03 AM on September 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Still quoting this clip around my house regularly: I had Taco Bell for lunch!

I own the first three seasons on dvd but got impatient with their schedule years ago and don't really know how things went after that.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 8:22 AM on September 8, 2020

I really also thought the show was done a long time ago. It was so important to me back in … college??? Pre-2010, and I wasn't able to get back into it when I tried last year when I learned there were new seasons. I think a full rewatch then the new stuff will do.

It's crazy that the show was around for so long off and on. Why did it have such a weird production schedule?
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:31 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Knowing that Cartoon Network/Adult Swim is part of the same megacorp as HBO, and HBOMax had already picked up the third season of Infinity Train (in which the already-freaky show took a darker turn), I have my suspicions how this will play out. Unless Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer have something against streaming services.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:40 AM on September 8, 2020

Venture Brothers always felt like a thing that was forever on the horizon... you wouldn't hear much for a good while and then bam a season dropped. Thinking that there may never actually be another season is quite sad.

And the video for Dr Venture being the argument about just what the definition of a "Rusty Venture" should be is quite possibly the best representation of that character I can think of!
posted by cirhosis at 9:15 AM on September 8, 2020

First Metalocalypse and now this :(
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:27 AM on September 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

Venture Bros. was a joy to me for it's entire run. I would love one last season to wrap up then Hank & Dean and Monarch vs Rusty arc. But it also wouldn't have been as good if produced like a normal show, or written by committee.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:31 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen the most recent seasons but this show stands out as being able to truly change it's stakes season to season. Instead of stagnating around a single conflict, the characters grew and the world got bigger as time went on. That seems rare.
posted by macrael at 9:33 AM on September 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

Venture Bros has been one of my favorite shows for so long. The seasons took a long time to produce, but they were always worth it. It's especially a shame to get cancelled before Season 8. The end of Season 7 seemed like they were building to a climax, with Dean and Sirena's betrayal of Hank. I figured Hank would turn to the Guild and arch his brother, who will, like Rusty, get sucked into the hero-villain shenanigans despite himself. Theres' a great finale in there. I hope HBO Max will pick it up for the final season.

Go Team Venture!
posted by vibrotronica at 9:35 AM on September 8, 2020 [2 favorites]

Bummer news, for a long time it felt like you could always look forward to a new Venture Bros season, you couldn't predict when, but it would happen, eventually, and each new season continued to get better. I don't know of any other show with a quality trajectory that increases over every season. Last seasons have introduced a lot of exciting room for the stories to go, some juicy cliffhangers too. I can only hope they at least get a finale movie or something, I absolutely trust them to be able to pull off a satisfying movie-ending to the series.
posted by GoblinHoney at 9:36 AM on September 8, 2020

posted by doctornemo at 9:40 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Having season 8 yanked out from under them is really disappointing. Given that the show always seemed on the brink of not coming back, there are a couple of spots that you could call a satisfying ending*, but the end of season 7 was not one of them. I hope they get a chance to wrap things up.

*The first four seasons make a nice self-contained unit. Then season 5 + "All this and Gargantua-2" wraps up neatly as well.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 10:05 AM on September 8, 2020

I'm just going to leave the "Fairytale of New York" version by The Monarch and Doctor Girlfriend (later Doctor Mrs The Monarch) here, and what may be the best use of Holst on cable TV here, then.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:12 AM on September 8, 2020 [4 favorites]

+1 best use of Holst ever. RIP Venture Brothers, I guess -- there are probably clones down in the basement somewhere.
posted by rachelpapers at 10:38 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

TIL that you don't have to be on BBC to have a production schedule like "7 seasons over 17 years".
posted by 3j0hn at 11:03 AM on September 8, 2020 [10 favorites]

Why did it have such a weird production schedule?

Because Chris and Doc wrote almost every episode. It was unique in being the product of just a few writers and primary actors. The show just kept getting better looking and more complex through the whole run.

At the premiere of season 6, someone in the audience asked Chris where to start as a new viewer. He said something about skipping season one, only to be interrupted by a producer yelling “No, this whole episode is a callback to a joke from season one, episode 2!” You don’t usually get that kind of through line from a writers’ room.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 11:41 AM on September 8, 2020 [5 favorites]

A great show - the ruins of the Space Age.

I watched it when it was on (and I could find it), but the production was so erratic that it was really hard to keep up with DVR-wise.
posted by lon_star at 11:59 AM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

They released an amazing book that covers every episode through season 6. Each takes turns writing episodes and their writing process seems very Douglas Adams inspired.
posted by Eddie Mars at 12:02 PM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I had literally just finished rewatching the whole series when I saw the news. I love the hell out of The Venture Bros. I loved the world, I love how they explore the practical and emotional impacts of the "protagonist/antagonist" lifestyle, I even love the whole "will they/won't they" of can these characters grow past their major traumas.

Also, so much music! The Shallow Gravy EP! Look Away! Their 2004 holiday carol is how I found out Bing Crosby and David Bowie sang a Little Drummer Boy duet, and that cover of Hard Candy Christmas gets me through the holidays every year.

I really, really, really hope we at least get a long special to wrap things up.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 1:05 PM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I hadn’t seen any episodes since Season 2 until two months ago. Watched the whole thing in a “weekend”.

It’s easily one of the best things on television, obviously a labor of love without once feeling labored. It not only held up better than I was expecting, it was even better than I remembered, and the later seasons are simply transcendent.

Nice work tv people, make room for more horseshit to shovel at us.
posted by hototogisu at 1:14 PM on September 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

I can't help but wonder if this was a corporate decision at some high level because Venture Bros, due to an earlier agreement, was not on HBO Max and thus they didn't want a show helping a competitor.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:43 PM on September 8, 2020

Somebody on Twitter was saying that Hulu gets Venture Brothers until it's cancelled and that was what drove this, so that it can go on HBO Max, but IDK how accurate that is.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:21 PM on September 8, 2020 [3 favorites]

You know how you leave money in an old coat, forget about it, and then you put it on much later and are surprised by a nice dollar bill? Each new season of the Venture Bros felt like finding a fifty.
posted by Paragon at 5:29 PM on September 8, 2020 [8 favorites]

Crap, there were more seasons than those I saw of The Venture Brothers?!?!?!?!

I always assumed when I saw them that they were re-runs. This child of the 70's growing up watching Johnny Quest loved The Venture Brothers. And OMG it's been 17 years... AAAARRRGGGHHH.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:33 AM on September 9, 2020

He said something about skipping season one

And miss the testicular torsion episode?
posted by atoxyl at 10:27 AM on September 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 10:29 AM on September 9, 2020

Is anyone reading down here?
I just watched the first ep of Dicktown starring John Hodgman and I believe it may appeal to this crowd.
posted by Glinn at 12:25 PM on September 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

The Venture Brothers are no more

Strictly speaking, [rot13] gur Iragher Oebguref unir orra ab zber fvapr ybat orsber gur frevrf fgnegrq naq nyy jr'ir rire xabja ner gurve pybarq qbjaybnqf. [/rot13]
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:40 PM on September 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

God, this news sucks. Fingers crossed they at least get a movie or something, to finish the story on their own terms. The show did feel like it was wrapping up, at the same time that it felt like it could run forever.

2020 just takes and takes, devouring everything good and shitting out despair.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:28 PM on September 9, 2020

“The Venture Bros, Nostalgia, and The Price of Sincerity”—Jack Saint, 27 September 2020
posted by ob1quixote at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2020

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