Despite the plethora of TV comedy out there, it isn’t actually all that often that I find myself truly and consistently tickled by a TV show. Luckily for me, Adult Swim exists. And whilst I find most of what I’ve seen from them very, very funny there is one show in particular that rises above their own very high standard and deserves far more attention and accolade than it receives. That show is The Venture Bros. Having waited for what seems like an eternity to an avid fan, Season 4 Part 1 is now available to purchase on DVD in Australia thanks to Madman Entertainment. And it’s every bit as absolutely awesome as the three incredible seasons that precede it.

At the end of Season 3 viewers were left wondering not only where the line between “good” and “evil” lay with relation to key characters but also who exactly would make it back alive for Season 4. Well, I’m not going to spoil things by answering those rather excellent questions but what I will say is that you needn’t worry because – one way or another – all your favourites will be returning and, as has been the case all along, the “plot” (I think we can just about call it that) thickens. There are important updates afoot with regard to The Guild of Calamitous Intent, The Sovereign, budding romances between certain young characters, the mental health of various other characters and of course, the very complicated, legal minefield that applies to the world of Arching.

If everything I wrote in the last paragraph means absolutely nothing to you then I suspect you are unfamiliar with the best cartoon ever made, in which case, you really ought to start with Season 1 and catch yourself up. Don’t worry, this recommendation is about as iron clad as anyone’s sanity, so if you have a sense of humour (and particularly if things that are a little bit not quite right so happen to tickle your fancy) go buy Seasons 1-4 NOW.

The only negative thing to be said about this DVD is that once you’ve finished watching the eight wonderful episodes it boasts, you’ll no doubt wish you had the next eight at the ready (sadly, they are not yet available over here). But, on the up side, you can go back and watch those eight episodes all over again which, so far as I’m concerned, is actually pretty bloody exciting because if Seasons 1-3 taught me anything, it’s that The Venture Bros. only gets better with repeat viewings.

The Venture Bros. Season 4 Part 1 was released on DVD on Thursday February 16 through Madman Entertainment.

Written by Tara Judah for Liminal Vision.

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Videocracy

August 5, 2010

Although labeled a “cultural revolution”, the unhealthy obsession with fame that is now bred into the vast majority of children and youths is actually more a powerful political tool for the continued and unchallenged repression of the lower socio-economic classes. Erik Gandini’s documentary film Videocracy (2009) reveals the rise and shame of an appallingly strong “media oppression” in Italy.  Though the notion is not exactly “news”, the film successfully communicates an aptly bleak and depressing picture – not so much of “the power of television”, but rather of the power of the social and political elite.

There is an entire generation who believe that the greatest achievement in life is fame and furthermore that being seen on television is a form of validation because it means others will “remember” you – rendering you (in a manner of speaking) “immortal”. Belief in this ludicrous notion is what continues to keep those of low social-economic standing repressed, something the likes of Silvio Berlusconi and Lele Mora know all too well. Berlusconi, the current Prime Minister of Italy, also owns 90% of Italian television media, a devastating conflict of interests, but one that helps to successfully breed the controlled climate that produces such questions from “average citizens” like, “Why should I have to be a mechanic all my life?” By giving the masses an “aspiration” of this kind, those in power distract and mask the corruption within the political system, focussing the masses on achieving within it rather than challenging it.

Filled with a plethora of dirty facts such as “the minister for gender equality was a former showgirl”; and a ream of baffling ideologies; “I’m like Robin Hood, I rob from the rich, but instead of giving to the poor, I give to myself”; Videocracy is an important and blunt reminder that we are far from “free”.