Let’s make one thing clear right off the bat: If you’re new to The Venture Bros., I strongly recommend against buying season 5.
That’s not to say it’s not worth paying attention to. When it’s on its game, the infrequent installments of this staple of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim lineup are among the best serialized animation on the air.
But starting off with just season 5 will leave new viewers to the show confused. Actually, even watching it in order may leave you confused as the show picks up with significant changes from the end of season 4. A Halloween special that aired somewhere in the chasm between seasons 4 and 5 covers events that occur halfway through the first episode of season 5.
And I thought Doctor Who’s timelines could be crazy.
This Blu-Ray set offers a fairly good selection of extras. All eight episodes and the Halloween special feature commentary tracks by Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. The tracks themselves are a mix of insight and tangents with the occasional burst of Manhattan sirens in the background. During one stretch of “OSI Love You,” the commentary track completely drops off, perhaps because they had nothing to say, or they said something that had to be redacted.
Also included on the disc is a Behind The Music-esque look at Hank and Dermott’s band, Shallow Gravy. There’s a moment I won’t ruin with a great reveal of a mystery that’s been hovering around for a few seasons.
If you’ve watched the first four seasons, I highly recommend picking up season 5. The show, while highly serialized, is well worth investing a weekend or two catching up. You’ll find season 1 on Netflix, but like most of Cartoon Network’s offerings, that’s all you’ll find streaming. The rest of this sporadic series is on your own to find.
By the way, when I say sporadic, I mean it. The show premiered in February of 2003 and just wrapped up its fifth season in 2013. Fans looking forward to Season 6 will likely have to wait until at least the fall of 2014, or possibly early 2015—nearly two years after its predecessor.
But a show that somehow manages to take a Teddy Ruxpin-like doll, make it appear to be a felon on the run, then payoff that gag on something wild and insane that somehow fits perfectly in with its own universe is well worth the wait.
These last two clips are on the NSFW side, but show off two heartfelt moments that make the show worthwhile.