Adult Swim, Heads Firmly Up Their Own Asses, Cancels ‘The Venture Brothers’

Adult Swim / Venture Brothers

Adult Swim has been on the air for 19 years and they still don’t know what the hell they’re doing. A little over a year after the block debuted they aired the pilot episode of The Venture Brothers, a Johnny Quest parody that slowly built into a sprawling epic building it’s own mythology while remaining exceptionally funny. Today we found out that Adult Swim canceled the show with season eight already in pre-production, leaving it forever unfinished until they decide to give the show a movie or something to wrap up the loose threads and unresolved cliffhangers in ten years like HBO (which is owned by the same company) did with Deadwood.

Now, here’s what Adult Swim did wrong that completely screwed up on of their most popular and oldest shows; they dragged their feet on renewing it every season despite the long production cycle. The Venture Brothers aired 7 seasons in 15 years from when the pilot aired in 2003 to the final episode, which aired in October of 2018.

It didn’t have to be that way. The reason for the long gaps wasn’t that the show took so long to produce, it was that Adult Swim would drag their feet making each season’s pick-up so the next season wouldn’t even enter pre-production until well after the previous season had aired.

We could also see this in how Adult Swim handled Rick and Morty, which had similar delays between seasons; season three aired its final episode in October 2017 and Adult Swim didn’t greenlight season four until May 2018, despite Rick and Morty being their most popular show. They had similarly waited until after the season two premiere to order season three. Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon saw what was going to happen and had the leverage to demand a huge 70-episode order so they could put the show out on a timely, yearly basis.

Even then, Justin Roiland said he’d prefer to air a new episode once a month because he knows those huge gaps between seasons kill shows.

The Venture Brothers didn’t have the luxury of a big, upfront order and you can watch the ratings fall as fans had to remember intricate plotlines and dozens of characters from years earlier to follow along.

Adult Swim killed The Venture Brothers by creating these unnecessary gaps between seasons, and they were going to do the same thing to Rick and Morty if Harmon and Roiland had let them. The gaps between seasons were a choice Adult Swim made; Rick and Morty season six is in production right now, before season five has even premiered because that’s what it takes to keep an animated series on the air in a timely fashion. Had Adult Swim given The Venture Brothers multi-season renewals, even two at a time, they could have had fifteen seasons by now. Instead, it died a slow death and we’ll never get answers to some of the show’s biggest questions, like why The Monarch hates Dr. Venture so much.

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