Some television shows lose their momentum as time goes on. They run too long and because of that, end up being shells of their former selves. It's especially like this when it comes to cartoons. People usually grow and mature and sometimes cartoon characters don't grow with their audience. While that may be true for some shows, Venture Brothers has been the benchmark of how to make a television show and still remain fresh.
Easily one of the most important things when it comes to a shows longevity is making sure that the main characters in the show continue to evolve. Not so much that they aren't themselves, but enough that they don't become bland and predictable. In Venture Brothers, all of their characters (even the ones we rarely see) grow or change in some way or another. The best example of that is Henchmen 21.
For the first few episodes, Henchmen 21 was just there. Just another one of the Monarch's many faceless and nameless henchmen that were there to be killed by Brock Samson at some point. All of a sudden, him and his best friend Henchmen 24 were Monarch's best henchmen. Even though they were completely incompetent they some how find a to get the job done. Then, came the unfortunate day when Henchmen 24 died. Normally, when a member of a duo dies, the surviving member falls into obscurity. Instead, Henchmen 21 went on to not only become a better henchman, but become a major part of the show. Helping the Ventures in one season and the Monarch in others.
Great Side Characters:
You have to have more than just great main characters in order to have a great show. The side characters have to be just as interesting. Venture Brothers has a variety of side characters that are brought out depending on the situation. There's the Venture's neighbor and necromancer Dr. Orpheus. Brock's old mentor Hunter Gathers is who now runs the O.S.I. (Office of Secret Intelligence. Think S.H.I.E.L.D. but goofy). And, my favorite, the out and proud Shore Leave. A [email protected]$$ member of the O.S.I. who was once just a character we'd only see once in a while, that was so popular that he ended up being rotated in almost regularly in seasons for 4. Each of these characters add something to the show whenever they pop up. When we get the opportunity to see them it's never just for filler. They always add something to the episode they appear on.
Venture Brothers debuted its pilot episode in 2003. Usually that means that in 2016, a show would be in, or going into, its 13 season. Venture Brothers is currently only on season six. While it may stink having to wait a year or two to get a new season, it actually works out for two major reasons. For one, the staff involved in creating this show can take their time and do everything right. Not having to rush the animation, the voices, or the script means that we get a well produced and thought out product. Secondly, when the announcement drops that the show is returning, the long wait gets people excited. It's almost like getting a surprise gift from a loved one. You're sitting around online and, BOOM, you're hit with an amazing Venture Brothers trailer with great snippets from the upcoming season and also a premier date.
And most importantly, you can't survive without having good stories. If you're on Adult Swim, you have to not only be funny, but you have to be able to push the envelope and be funny while you do it. Venture Brothers has been able to keep their stories not only hilarious, but also have a good amount of really deep moments at the same time. While Hank, Dean, their father Rusty, and Brock may seem like they spend a good amount of the time getting into shenanigans, they also have moments that are not only heart warming, but help them all evolve as characters. Well, Hank, Dean, and Brock evolve. Rusty has and always will be, a selfish human being. But that's what makes him, well, him.
While Venture Brothers may be looked at as "only a cartoon", there are a lot of television shows that could be taking notes from them. Some shows rush to get their product out and sacrifice quality, don't let their characters evolve which makes them stale and predictable, or don't focus on more than just the main characters. Venture Brothers does all of the big and little that make for a great show. It's going to be sad day when the final episode airs. Shows like this only come around once in a while.