The Venture Bros.



A reminder of how good cartoons can be for adults.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Brock is a bodyguard with no boundaries and a deviant sexual appetite; Dr. Venture is a manic depressive with a nasty disposition.


Guns, bombs, swords, beatings, torture -- you name it. All animated, but still quite graphic.


Bare butts, partial breasts, implicit (and sometimes explicit) sex.


"Damn," "hell," the occasional "son of a bitch," bathroom humor, etc.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Brock always has a cigarette clenched in his teeth; Dr. Venture is addicted to prescription painkillers and drinks a lot.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this violent, sexualized cartoon is in no way intended for children. It's a parody of a cartoon style that was popular in the late '60s/early '70s (particularly Jonny Quest), and as such will probably hold little interest for younger kids. The humor is usually either tongue-in-cheek or overtly absurdist, with clever dialogue and over-the-top situations. For grown-ups into smart writing, biting social commentary, and sharp animation, it's one of the funniest cartoons out there. Just wait until the kids are asleep.

What's the story?

In parody cartoon THE VENTURE BROS., which is part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim line-up, the titular brothers, Hank and Dean Venture (voiced by Christopher McCulloch and Michael Sinterniklaas, respectively), are a pair of bumbling, naive teenagers whose father, Dr. Venture (James Urbaniak), is a world-renowned super-scientist. Actually, he's the son of a world-renowned super-scientist, constantly cowering in his late father's shadow and trying to live up to the Venture name -- the more he fails, the more he retreats into a fog of prescription painkillers and booze. Brock Samson (Patrick Warburton) is a shadowy figure, a former government agent gone seriously homicidal, who has sworn to protect the boys at all costs. The Ventures' primary nemesis is The Monarch (McCulloch again), a megalomaniac intent on taking over the world while wearing a butterfly costume, who is assisted by Dr. Girlfriend (Doc Hammer), who has the body of a supermodel and the voice of a Bronx wrestler.

Is it any good?


For a certain segment of the population, there's simply no funnier cartoon on television than The Venture Bros. The jokes are fast and furious, the tone is very mature, and the animation recalls a bygone era when people actually cared about the look of cartoons. That said, with its edgy content and mature tone, this isn't one for the kids.

Early episodes were self-contained genre parodies, since the cartoon was initially seen as a short-lived effort. But as the series progressed and it started to look like there was long-term potential, some continuity began to creep in. Plot lines developed that required attention and, strangely, a sense of caring.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why networks air cartoon series that aren't intended for kids. Why do people automatically tend to associate animation with children? Is that assumption as strong now as it used to be? What are the differences between cartoons made for kids and those aimed at adults?

TV details

Cast:Christopher McCulloch, James Urbaniak, Michael Sinterniklaas
Network:Cartoon Network
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Venture Bros. was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byutonium4 April 9, 2008

The Best Show on TV

Again, I am frustrated with the CS review--its inexcusable to have factual errors on the official review page (Dr. Venture is addicted to diet pills, not painkillers. Duh!) Regardless, absolutely the best show on TV today. Funny, gorgeously animated, surprisingly poignant, the Ventures are a terrific case study of failure as a family value! Again, I'm a liberal parent and treat my kids like humans rather than adorable idiots, so I let them watch this show. Despite the reviewers insistence that there is nothing to keep kids entertained, its my little (11 and 8) guys favorite show. The fighting, the jokes, the gadgets! They love the dorky, naive twins and constantly quote the show. Watching this as a family requires vigilance and the stomache to discuss whatever depravity might show up, but in the end, we have bonded via Team Venture, and I think that time shared wathing the Venture Bros. is more valuable than dodging issues of transexuality and homicidal mothers, but hey, its an individual thing, of course.
Adult Written bybestvideo April 9, 2008

Incredible Show

The Venture Bros. is a fantastically funny cartoon, but for a fairly narrow slice of the American Viewing Public. Here's the checklist: Did you like Jonny Quest? Are you reasonably attuned to pop culture? Are you intelligent? If you answered yes to at least 2 of these questions, this show is for you. But if you watch in order (advised), be a little patient and pay attention. There is a lot of backstory to fill in and the characters actually develop through a long story arc. If you don't like it after episode #5, you probably got number 3 wrong on the old checklist... GO TEAM VENTURE!
Parent of a 10 and 15 year old Written byALunarLight April 28, 2011

johnny quest on acid

Got to love it. I only put the rating so high because younger kids might just drift off,violence and near sex seance is not for any one under 10 (my kids are pretty mature thought). it all builds up kind of like a soap opera on the cartoon front. Its a mix of Johnny Quest meets Failure, meets the best intentions of mice and men. It got good plot action and character development but if you can't keep up and kind out of the question.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models


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