Yesterday I checked out the live stream of the show at Adult Swim and happened upon the episode that introduced the “original” Team Venture. That team, analogous to the Silver Age of comics features the likes of Colonel Gentleman, Otto Aquarius, the Action Man, and Kano. Other members of this era’s crew would be introduced in later episodes and they’re all pretty great. The team leader was Dr. Jonas Venture, father of the show’s protagonist Rusty.
Later on in the series we were introduced to the Guild, a Victorian-era group of adventurers including Colonel Lloyd Venture, the grandfather of Jonas. This is all well and good so far.
But if we look at the Venture family tree we see a glaring omission: Women! Well, okay, yes, that is true, but what I actually meant was Lloyd’s son and Jonas’s father. Who is that guy? We have been told that he’s a superscientist like the others, but we have no further details. do I have a prediction: Whatever his name, the missing man is Captain Venture.
The time period of this supposed Captain Venture falls right into World War-era, so he’d probably have a team of heroes similar to the Justice Society and the Invaders who fought the Nazis and terrible caricatures of the Japanese. There’s probably a couple of patriotic-costumed heroes like Captain America and Bucky and maybe powerful female hero who is relegated to the role of secretary as a reference to Wonder Woman. You know, all that sort of thing, but done better than I could do because that’s what the Venture Bros. does.
Furthermore, I would guess that Otto Aquarius joined the Venture clique during this era. The rest of Jonas’s team are great pals, but Otto doesn’t seem to fit in or hang out with them. We also know that Otto ages extremely slowly due to his partially-Atlantean heritage. He’s the team’s equivalent to Namor or Aquaman, so it’d make sense if he came in during the Golden Age and stuck around but never really became friend with the younger generation.
The Bee Man of Alcatraz is a beekeeper and a criminal introduced in an episode of Scooby Doo and Guess Who. Unfortunately, he is only seen at the beginning of an episode, at the end of some off-screen adventure that is being wrapped up in media res. He is unmasked as Bob the Beekeeper.
You might think that this minor appearance would mean I have very little to work with for this review. Not so! We’re talking about a Scooby Doo villain here. I am an expert reviewer of Beekeepers and I have watched an awful lot of Scooby Doo. My knowledge of the abilities of the former and the beloved formulaic nature of the latter mean that I am more than qualified to piece together this tale.
Bob was definitely a beekeeper who worked on or near Alcatraz Island, and he probably had knowledge that there was some manner of secret treasure left behind in the museum that was once the infamous prison there. Perhaps some relative was once a prisoner there and buried it, who can say, but he was definitely looking for something in those walls. He couldn’t very well hunt for treasure with tourists and employees milling about all day, so he did what any criminal would do: he concocted tales of a monster to frighten people away, giving him time to look for his prize. He went with a bee-theme for the monster because that’s what he knows, and it allowed him to use things like wax and bees as part of his ruse. I expect his costume actually allowed him to fly as well.
I think it is a safe bet that when Mystery Inc. showed up Shaggy and Scooby were frightened. There was probably some wax left behind as a clue. It’s quite likely he chased the Mystery Machine around for about the length of a pop song. I figure at some point he tried to sting something and the stinger got caught. And in the end, he was captured in some clever trap.
To review, he’s a beekeeper successful enough as such to be called “Bob the Beekeeper” which means he’s probably at least kind of good at that job. It’s unfortunate he turned to crime, but the fact he has no apparent henchmen means he’s got skills. Those skills aren’t enough to get one over on Scoob and the Gang, but there’s no shame in losing to such an esteemed team of crimefighters.
3 Honeycombs out of Five. It’s worth noting that Bob did not have a speaking role in the episode, so the makers of Scooby Doo definitely need to bring him back, voiced by me.
Beekeeping is Jules Beachum’s dream. It started as a mere hobby, but he liked it, so it has become the thing that he yearns to do with his life. Before, he owned a restaurant, but that was just a family business that he’d inherited from his father. When Jules took over, his heart wasn’t in it, and the customers could tell. The business failed.
But Jules’s heart is in beekeeping! Admittedly, he’s off to a rough start. He kept his first two bees in a jar until they died, after which he was surprised to learn that you don’t get honey by mushing up the dead bees. After that failure, he was surprised to learn that you also don’t milk them for honey. Basically, Jules began with an absolute zero in his Beekeeping skills. But unlike the failure with the restaurant, Jules isn’t giving up on Beekeeping. He’s been studying and he’s bought the proper equipment, and it seems like he’s on the path to becoming an professional Beekeeper.
And that heart boosts Jules’s rating in another way as well. As I’ve gone about reviewing Beekeepers there’s one trope I’ve come across far too often: the Apiarist In Distress. If you look back at Holofernus Meiersdorf or Fullan you can see the problem. Those are beekeepers who are just sitting around waiting for a protagonist to come solve their problems. That’s not how high-rating Beekeepers do it. But when Jules appears in an episode of Bob’s Burgers he has a problem: he wants to get back a flat top grill from the failed restaurant so he can keep it in his family. And while the Bob’s cast does get involved, Jules wasn’t waiting for them before he acted. They encountered him in the midst of his scheme. He attempts to steal the grill using disguises and secret passages. Jules is not an Apiarist in Distress, he’s an Apiarist in Action. He may not have supernatural powers or incredible combat skills or more than basic beekeeping talents (yet), but he’s got that extra-special something that can get a Beekeeper an extra point. And all that when he’s got an allergy to bees.
I must include the caveat that there’s always a chance he could reappear on the show and they’d pile on more jokes about his terrible beekeeping and that would hurt his score. But until then: Three Honeycombs out of Five.
Harrison Wilton is a beekeeper that appears on a television show called American Horror Story. The season in which he appears has the subtitle “Cult” and that is appropriate, because Harrison is a cult member. And it seems to me that what drew Harrison to the cult in the first place was a typical case of Beekeeper Rage. In general he was unhappy with his life and his job and that led to Rage that manifested especially as paranoia. He built up a massive gun collection because he was worried the government was going to take away his rights. When the power went out in the area, he immediately assumed it was a terrorist attack. He’s clearly the kind of guy who worried a lot, and a cult leader came along and was able to take advantage of that. It’s a tragedy.
It’s a shame especially because I think he could have been a good beekeeper otherwise. Like the best beekeepers, he would wax poetic about the inspiring insects: “A hive is the perfect natural community because every single member of the hive is completely committed one hundred percent to a singular task. There’s no arguments. There’s no complaints. There’s no ‘me’. I admire them.” In addition to the beekeeping, he was a personal trainer at a gym, which indicates the kind of healthy lifestyle of a good beekeeper and suggests (along with his gun collection) that he may have actually been decent at Beekeeper Combat. And on occasion he seemed nice. He offered candles to his neighbours during a blackout, for example. Granted that may have been part of the cult’s plot, but I expect he would have been capable of such kindness before the cult as well.
But he never got to be the kind of beekeeper he should have been. The cult lifestyle led to his murder by chainsaw. And while that’s a metal way to go, it’s still not ideal. And that’s the true horror story here, America.
Two Honeycombs out of Five.
Well, the show Krypton was finally cancelled, so I was finally willing to sit through it all at once. The show was not what I wanted, but I knew that going in. I considered it a chore to get through. But it wasn’t without its successes. I’d say the show’s General Zod was definitely my favourite live-action Zod to date. The special effects gave us the best looking Brainiac or Doomsday we’ve had. There is also some (maybe not enough, but some) stuff in there about how the rulers of Kryptons are jerks and there is a whole oppressed class of people who need help and that’s important for the Superman franchise. And I remember laughing at at least one or two jokes. So with that out of the way, the rest of this post will be about the stuff I didn’t like.
First of all, it suffers from the same problem Smallville did (and which I assume most prequels do) in which everything is about how big and important things in the future are. Man, I hate that. When I worked my way through Smallville (similarly a chore), I decided that my enjoyment of the show would have greatly improved if they were not ever allowed to use the word “Destiny”. If a prequel is going to work, it needs to be a story, not just be about how great the story that comes later is. With that there comes the time-travel that this show used to make sure all the characters knew how important the future was. If the show NEEDED to have a time-traveller from Earth to help the audience relate (I’m not convinced it did), I definitely would not have used a non-Superman-related DC character like Adam Strange. For me it would have been Kristin Wells, not in her Superwoman identity, but just as a researcher who maybe gets trapped there or something.
It’s also very clear that the show was trying to tap into the Game of Thrones type of scene. It had a lot of characters whose names and motivations I had trouble remembering and they’d stand around having big vaguely-British-accented conversations about the various factions vying for control of the land and their words would be dripping with hints of importance and betrayal and haughtiness. I get that that was intentional. That was what the show wanted. So they did that. But it’s definitely not the way I would have gone with it. The Krypton show as created by PDR would have been 75% less Game of Thrones and that space would have been filled up with an X-Files sort of scene.
My proposal is thus: We make Seg-El a paranormal investigator. I’m assuming we still need to base the show on Superman’s grandfather specifically, so we go with an older Seg-El, already raising a young Jor-El. This would place us closer to Krypton’s destruction. My Seg would not be a high-ranking member of the Science Guild, but his work would involve wandering the planet investigating strange seemingly-paranormal things. There are plenty of tales of weird stuff on Krypton that could be adapted to play as spooky occurrences. Things like Lar-On becomming a werewolf-style beast or Nam-Ek making an immortality serum that turns him into a monster. Before the Phantom Zone is officially discovered, it could be the cause of various phenomena. What about the Juru Wizards. The coming of Brainiac. The lost history of the Vrang invasion. The aforementioned time-travel. At least one visit from Mxyzptlk. All of this adds up to enough weirdness to sustain a paranormal investigator’s career.
And, over the course of the show, he might notice that the strange occurrences have a common thread: a chain reaction of some kind is beginning in the planet’s core. I wonder what that’s all about? Oh well, I guess we’ll never know.