I’ve always been a night owl. Even when I have to get up early in the morning, the idea of going to bed at 11pm always feels crazy to me. I like to stay up late, always have.
If this sounds like you, you probably already know about Adult Swim, the late-night block of (mostly but not only) animated shows on Cartoon Network. (Actually, it’s Cartoon Network in the daytime, Adult Swim at night, they’re distinct networks sharing space on the same feed, but you don’t really care about that, do you?)
If you don’t already know about Adult Swim, there’s no better time to grab a towel and wade in, because the long-awaited Venture Bros. Special, just aired a couple of weeks ago, which means the even longer-awaited sixth season of the densely plotted adventure comedy can’t be far behind.
Sort of a cross between ‘70s Saturday-morning cartoon classic Jonny Quest (ask your dad) and Arrested Development, The Venture Bros. follows twin brothers Dean and Hank Venture, whose father, Dr. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture, was dragged around the globe by his wealthy, brilliant father Jonas as a child, solving crimes and getting into adventures. Desperate to follow his father’s example, Rusty (who hates being called Rusty) now does the same to Dean and Hank, bringing along their bodyguard Sergeant Hatred and doing battle with their nemeses The Monarch and his wife, Dr. Girlfriend.
Does that sound stupid? It is, kind of, but in the smartest way possible. Adventure movie and TV tropes, comic-book tropes, and of course family dysfunction are the most common targets of the show’s sharp, rapid-fire satire. I became a fan thirty seconds into the first episode I saw and if there’s any better place to start than with this one-hour special, in which Jonas Jr. (Thaddeus’ deformed twin brother) opens his space station, Gargantua-1, to the public (for gambling), you’d probably have to buy some DVDs to find it.
Other ongoing shows currently running on Adult Swim include Mike Tyson Mysteries, which I can’t describe any better than the synopsis for its third episode, “Heavyweight Champion of the Moon”:
Mike is a terrible driver and although they’ve all been accidents, he’s killed a lot of people. But when he discovers almost all of them were astronauts, Mike decides there’s only one logical explanation: He must be part of a secret government plot to kill astronauts, because of something they saw on the moon, something the government doesn’t want us to know! Literally before giving this theory a second thought, Mike steals a rocket and blasts off for the moon.
Then there’s Newsreaders, the news parody show that spun off from Adult Swim’s biggest live-action hit Children’s Hospital; The Eric Andre Show, a riff on low-budget cable access talk shows; Seth Green’s long-running found-object stop-motion pop-culture sketch show Robot Chicken; the evil family dog comedy Mr. Pickles; and the violent, psychedelic, alternate future dimension freakout Superjail!
For the true diehard night owls, keep an eye on the 4am timeslot; this is where Adult Swim features the weirdest of its weird, usually one-off shows like The Best Show podcast duo Tom Scharpling and Jon Wurster’s Newbridge: We’re Comin' To Get Ya!; the upcoming Swords, Knives, Very Sharp Objects and Cutlery (no idea what that might be); and of course the viral sensation Too Many Cooks, which seems like as good a note to go out on as any.
For more information on Adult Swim shows and listings, check out www.adultswim.com!