Tragic news for fans of deranged heroes, dysfunctional supervillains, and generally death-prone children today, as series creator Jackson Publick has confirmed that The Venture Bros. has been canceled after 7 seasons, 81 episodes, and a frankly improbable 16 years on Adult Swim. Publick confirmed that the show had been canceled by the network a few months ago, while he and long-time collaborator Doc Hammer had been gearing up to write season 8.
Speculation that something might be up with the show had been growing for a while now; even for a series with notoriously long gaps between seasons, the radio silence surrounding the Venture family had started to turn worrisome. In any case, this retroactively turns season 7's “The Saphrax Protocol” into the show’s ultimate finale; fitting, maybe, that a series so totally drenched in pop culture and subconscious weirdness would end in a spirit journey influenced by both Barbarella and The Empire Strikes Back. (Plus, whatever was going on between Dr. Venture and The Monarch there at the end.)
As one of the longest running entries in the Adult Swim canon, The Venture Bros. has also became, almost by default, one of the network’s most mature programs. Originally little more than a send-up of pulp heroes and Johnny Quest, it eventually became a sort of wide-ranging exploration of masculinity, getting old, and learning to accept failure—while also still very often being a send-up of pulp heroes and Johnny Quest. (Sorry, “Action Johnny.”) The thought of it being gone—and of being unable to complete whatever story Publick and Hammer were hoping to tell with the upcoming season—well, we can think of only one way to describe it: Ith maddening.
Update 9/6/20 10:44 p.m. CT: Adult Swim posted this statement on Twitter, indicating that efforts are being made to “find another way to continue the Venture Bros. story” with Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer.