‘The Venture Bros.’ debuts extra-unpredictable seventh season

Although extended waits between seasons of “The Venture Bros.” is standard protocol for the long-running animated series, its return is always something to hotly anticipate. Fortunately, after two years, four months and about 17 days – but who’s counting? – the Adult Swim “Superfriends”-spoofing show is returning for its seventh season with 10 episodes starting this Sunday.

There’s still time to catch up

While the show has an impressive legion of die-hard fans that has been there from day one all the way back in 2003 (!), chances are everyone could use a refresher—whether they have seen every season and holiday special or been a more casual watcher. With an expansive cast of characters that goes well beyond the Venture family and includes a dizzying array of shifting alliances among heroic and villainous organizations, a shape-shifting David Bowie, Sasquatch and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln there’s a lot to keep straight and keep your eyes peeled for rapid fire, tossed-out references.

“Go Team Venture!: The Art and Making of ‘The Venture Bros.’”

Fortunately, earlier this week the series co-creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick, along with author Ken Plume, have released “Go Team Venture!: The Art and Making of The Venture Bros.,” an indispensable companion guide perfect for series newcomers and lifelong devotees alike. Bursting with interviews conducted over months and months about literally every episode and chock-full of storyboards, early drawings and painted backgrounds, this new book is the perfect way to wrap your head around 15 years of “Venture Bros.” history, lore, and behind-the-scenes background recollections. As Publick joked to iO9, the book is like a print version of their commentary tracks, “except [we] actually talk about how [we] make the show.”

Don’t panic: season seven delivers!

Season seven is worth waiting for and proves that the show is still picking up momentum with bottomless creativity in its equal-opportunity mockery and celebration of pop culture. Nimbly adapting to how much more mainstream superhero stories are now than when the show premiered (there was only one Spider-Man and one X-Men movie back then), these 10 episodes find Hammer and Publick with plenty to tweak about caped crusaders, lots of mysteries to explore and still discovering new quirks and dysfunctions in the relationships among the show’s many, many distinctive characters.

“The Venture Bros.” returns for its seventh season Sunday, August 5, at midnight on Adult Swim.