Hey, if you haven’t been paying attention to the new year of The Venture Brothers, I just want to do you the favour of telling you to get back on that, because, no lie, they haven’t had writing this tight in forever. The move to New York, the fleet of new characters, the unforced but substantial shakeup of scenario have worked wonders. It’s not that it’s a different show, it’s not even going back to the show it was in 2003-2005, it’s more… a much-needed natural evolution for the better.

I don’t want to get into spoiler commentary in the main post, but Anna and I are actively making fan theories about what’s going to happen next, and making guesses about characters and character development, which is just… something which has not been a feature of this show for a while. I was a little worried by a couple of short scenes at the very beginning, but so far my fears have turned out to be totally unfounded.

Plus, they’ve got their dialogue patter magic back again. After the first two brilliant years, that did undergo – let’s face it – a bit of a decline. The production woes didn’t help anything, and the decision to spend a whole series writing about “beautiful failure” was, perhaps unsurprisingly, not a success.

I mean, don’t get me wrong – the show did improve generally after the lows of series three, which was mostly a write-off. (That awful episode where Dr. Venture wants to capture a gorilla to sell to a circus or something, mid-third-year? That’s the nadir right there, the “And the Children Shall Lead” of Venture Brothers. Just unwatchable.) Series four took real steps up back out of that pit, and there were very good episodes later in the run – “The Silent Partners” and “Pomp and Circuitry,” for example, and “Everybody Comes to Hank’s” is a standout. And series five started to get back into the swing of things, started to work pretty well out the gate.

But this is the year they’ve broken through, back to that level of excellence they showed the first two runs. This is a series where they’re just firing on all cylinders all the time. It started with last year’s single-episode hour-long special, “All This and Gargantua-2,” which succeeded on every level, and it’s been chugging full steam ahead ever since.

So – yeah! If you lost track of the show during the rights fight and the time in the wilderness, now’s a very good time to catch up. Start with “All This and Gargantua-2,” because it’s excellent, and because it should get you on the ground running for what’s going on now. And enjoy.

I have missed this show. Not just The Venture Brothers – I mean this writing, this level of The Venture Brothers. It’s so nice to have it back.