Adult Swim's popular animated series The Venture Bros. returns tomorrow night at midnight with a mockumentary episode titled "From the Ladle to the Grave: The Story of Shallow Gravy" that follows a three-hour marathon of the cult-hit show.
The folks from Williams Street were kind enough to share a screener copy of the VH1 Behind the Music style episode that features Hank Venture, Dermott Fictel, and the robot H.E.L.P.eR. as a super-group band, and ComicsAlliance is giving you a short run-down of the new season's debut.
[Warning: Contains Spoilers]
At the end of last season, viewers got a taste of Shallow Gravy performing in the hour-long episode "Operation: P.R.O.M.," and the start of season five more-or-less picks up where the characters left off.
By the end of tomorrow's three-hour Venture Bros. marathon, the new, less-than-30-minute episode will probably be just enough Shallow Gravy for most viewers, but on its own, I was hoping the new episode would have been grander in scale.
As it stands, "From the Ladle to the Grave" is pretty much a standard Venture Bros. episode that the creative team went above-on-beyond to give the opener a little more depth in terms of a new medium, much in the same way Metalocalypse has been doing for years.
Over the course of the episode a cheesy narrator tells the story of how Hank, Dermott, and H.E.L.P.eR. formed a band, while various characters talk about their relation to the aspiring musicians. There are a few nods to "The Buddy System" episode in Season Three where we learn Dermott Fictel may-or-may-not be Brock Samson's son, as well as a number of excellent still-frame images, that act as photographs in context, of the Shallow Gravy members that seem to have been drawn by a variety of artists.
The level of design that's gone into Venture Bros. over the years, including the incredible Bill Sienkiewicz images seen blow, demands an art book be published at some point. And if such a thing is ever made, the first words out of my mouth will be, "Shut up and take my money!"
After some back-story about Shallow Gravy as a band, which doubles as a decent way to get caught up on the Venture Bros. in general, we see Billy Quizboy and Pete White decide to produce the robot-boy-band as various problems arise. Highlights include seeing Hank in a Batman pajama-costume playing bass atop a desert canyon, and Dr. Venture dropping the line, "I know what you're thinking . . . I invented karaoke."
The episode ends with a killer music video for the song "Jacket" that can already be downloaded for free via iTunes. As well, the team at Adult Swim has released a hilarious EP that features the standard version of "Jacket," plus a live, acoustic, and remix version for $3.99. If that's not enough, there's a Top 9 Musical Moments in The Venture Bros. on the show's blog worth checking out.
I'm always going to want more Venture Bros., and I doubt Shallow Gravy will be the next Dethklok, but Doc Hammer and Jason Publick have done an excellent job continuing to craft a superb animated series that will thankfully continue for a fifth and sixth season.
Oh, and that spoiler that was mentioned before the jump - Dermott probably isn't Brock's son. You'll just have to watch to see who is the potential father.
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