|Dr. Byron Orpheus|
|The Venture Bros. character|
Dr. Orpheus in a typically dramatic pose
Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!
Dr. O |
Triana Orpheus (daughter)|
Mystical powers include resurrection, shapeshifting, invisibility, illusory powers, teleportation, offensive magic, telekinesis
Order of the Triad
Dr. Orpheus is an expert necromancer, and, until recently, the only one of his kind seen on the show. He is headstrong, tends to be unaware of the perils of most situations, and is quite melodramatic even in everyday situations. He has quite a large, extensive vocabulary he freely uses, though his theatrics tend to spill over into his more everyday activities, such as offering a snack of pizza rolls with an unnecessarily dramatic flourish, or warning people away from the bathroom because he had Taco Bell for lunch. Orpheus' actions and speech are usually accompanied within the show by overly suspenseful string music which adds to his campy, over-the-top presentation. Unlike some more conventional characters, Dr. Orpheus sometimes uses his great powers in very mundane ways; he can be seen using telekinesis to help prepare dinner in the episode Ghosts of the Sargasso. He seems to be somewhat self-conscious of the fact that despite his abilities, he leads a rather ordinary life. Perhaps this is best illustrated by his proclamation that although he only holds a Bachelor's Degree in communications from a community college (with a minor in women's studies), he has been granted a Doctorate from "a higher power than a mere college professor" - his master admits Orpheus is his "greatest student". Dr. Orpheus mentions in that he teaches "conjuring" at The New School.
Despite his initially imposing necromancer persona, Orpheus is actually one of the more benevolent and morally balanced characters in the series, as contrasted with the cynical and amoral Dr. Venture. He is helpful, pleasant, and genuinely cares about people. He also acknowledges his job is to help preserve the fabric of reality from supernatural forces, suggesting that he has given up a normal life (which he seems to desire) in order to serve others.
However, like all characters in Venture Brothers, he has his moments of sheer failure. He is clueless about relationships, which is only somewhat mitigated by his affable nature. His pomposity is legendary and often off-putting, driving away people he likes or tries to like (which is almost everyone, including his former wife). He is very insecure as people don't seem to take him seriously, and often longs for a more adventurous life, not appreciating the work he does. Finally he also has a dark side - when he or those he cares about are threatened, he has no problem using magic in horrifically excessive ways; he trapped the souls of two rednecks in a Homeboy figurine because they wouldn't stop teasing him, repeatedly erases his daughter's memories of his more shady activities (such as the portal to the Necropolis he hid in her closet), threatens anyone who is wooing his daughter, and once predicted The Action Man's exact date and cause of death in response to being shot in the shoulder unprovoked. His casualness about magic and lack of appreciation for himself seems to lead him to casually use his abilities.
He has rented out a section of the Venture compound, where he lives with his teenage daughter Triana, who dresses in goth style, although it is unclear whether this is due to the influence of her father's "career" or an ironic statement on it. In one episode of the series it is suggested that she is simply afraid to change her clothes, as her closet is used by her father as a portal to the Necropolis. Although Dr. Orpheus seems out of touch with reality at times, and tends to embarrass his daughter at least as much as any typical teenager's parents do, the two have an apparently good relationship with each other. He displays the ability to detect when others are lusting after his daughter, specifically using it to track Dean Venture at one point, and (in a dream sequence) sternly burning the mistletoe above Pete White's head from afar during the Venture Christmas party. This could, however, refer to lust in general, as it was his daughter that was being lusted after in both instances, as White was within eyeshot of Dr. Orpheus, and Orpheus acting as an incensed father used his magic to try and dissuade White from flirting with his daughter, and owing to Dean's already obvious attraction to his daughter, he was able to invoke lustful feelings and track them from a far away distance. Triana is apparently uncomfortable with her father's ability to raise the dead; she actually began to sob when he discussed his attempt to resurrect the Venture boys. He ends up responding to complaints like this by mindwiping her memory clean of such events; this explains why she was until recently unaware that the Venture boys were clones. In spite of this being a somewhat heavy-handed method of dealing with the problem, Orpheus' master reveals that Orpheus does this so as to spare his daughter from having her life end up like his.
Dr. Orpheus' age has not been specifically mentioned. While his birthplace is to date unspecified, his preference for referring to carbonated drinks as "tonic" and attempts to order Moxie and birch beer in Return to Spider-Skull Island may indicate he hails from the northeastern U.S.
Dr. Orpheus' master is a mysterious being living in a place called the Necropolis, which may or may not have some connection to Hell or the Underworld. His behavior is a rather sarcastic subversion of the wise mystic supernatural master archetype, whose contemporary casual nature is in stark contrast to Orpheus's penchant for theatrical melodrama. His master is a shapeshifter who will often take unusual forms in order to prove a point to his pupil. His master does seem to have some affection for Orpheus, but will not hesitate to correct or criticize him and lacks Orpheus' gift for pretension. Despite his strange abode, his master does not seem to be demonic or malicious. However, Orpheus has never introduced the Order of the Triad to him as he is apparently concerned about his Master's reaction to The Alchemist's homosexuality, although whether this is because he thinks the Master will object on a moral level or simply use the knowledge for more effective sarcasm against Orpheus remains to be seen.
In the episode Powerless in the Face of Death, he mentions several celebrity "clients" he has resurrected specifically; magician David Blaine, stuntman Evel Knievel, and former President Ronald Reagan (until he bounced a check).
Orpheus and Triana have one pet, a cat named Simba. He owns a classic black Bug.
Living in the East Wing of the Venture Compound until its' destruction in Season 5, he constantly receives Hector Molina's mail by mistake who also lives on the grounds.
Doctor Orpheus with his grandiose personality and powers stemming from the mystical realm heavily resembles Marvel Comics superhero Doctor Strange. He also bears a passing resemblance to Christopher Lee's portrayal of Dracula in the Hammer Films of the 60s and 70's. In particular, his theme music resembles the overture from the 1958 Hammer Film Horror of Dracula. He also has a similar behavior and appearance to the Batman villain Ra's al Ghul.
History and activities on the show
For most of seasons 1-3 very few details of Dr. Orpheus' life were revealed. He has remained silent about Triana's mother, except that she left him "for a younger necromancer", a fact which was supported by the Master, Orpheus' omnipotent spirit guide, who claims that she left him for his tendency to overwork and because of their poor sexual relationship. In season four it is revealed that almost all of this is true; that his wife, Tatyana, did leave Orpheus for one of his students, a necromancer known only as The Outrider, and that it was due to their poor sexual relationship, his poor parenting, and his failure as a husband due to his tendency to overwork. On this last note The Outrider comments; "I idolized you. I wanted to be just like you. And then one day I realized that the way you got so good was by sacrificing everything else, including your marriage, and I just thought 'There has to be another way.'"
His first appearance on The Venture Bros. comes soon after he begins renting from Dr. Venture; his mystical powers prove useless in rescuing Brock and the boys from the "joy can," but Dean's feelings for Triana prove the key to their freedom. Disgusted by the revelation that the machine is powered by an orphan's heart, he destroys it with bolts of mystic power.
He has had minor appearances in several episodes, such as in Ghosts of the Sargasso, in which he finds Jonas Venture's notes regarding Major Tom and puts the boys in contact with the pilot's widow, and Tag Sale – You're It!, in which he helps the Ventures with their yard sale. The original Team Venture briefly mistook Dr. Orpheus for a villain in Past Tense. When Action Man grazes his arm with a bullet and attempts to attack him again after learning that he is a friend, Orpheus predicts the elderly hero's death from a stroke in the near future and leaves coldly.
The necromancer plays a pivotal role in The Trial of the Monarch, using his powers to view the past in serve as a witness. Before he can testify to The Monarch's innocence, however, Guild agents led by the Phantom Limb immobilize everyone in the courtroom and erase their memories of the intrusion. Strangers inform Phantom Limb that memory wipes don't work on necromancers, but Limb says that necromancers take to subliminal messages "Like cancer to a prostate". Limb tells frozen Orpheus that if he claims that the Monarch is guilty then Orpheus will get an arch nemesis from the Guild much sooner. Orpheus complies and the Monarch is sent to jail.
In Return to Spider-Skull Island, the first-season finale, Orpheus is asked to take care of Hank and Dean while Brock attends to their father during a medical emergency. When the boys run away in a mistaken fit of jealousy, Orpheus decides to watch over them from a distance and keep them out of trouble. Although he fails to prevent their arrest (for "dabbling in superscience"), he drives Dr. Venture and Brock to and from the prison to bail them out. Orpheus allows the boys to drive several hundred yards ahead of them to give them more freedom, but two of The Monarch's henchmen accidentally kill the boys in a fiery explosion. In the subsequent episodes, the sorcerer is wracked with guilt and misery over his perceived role in their deaths, and finally resolves to resurrect them. He is unable to locate their souls in the astral plane, however, and seems horrified when he learns that the boys have been repeatedly cloned by their father. (Dr. Venture argues an interesting point: what he did was no different than what Orpheus had planned, but used science instead of magic, although cloning is the creation of entirely new people, while resurrection involves the originals.)
Though he has only one major effect on the plot, a great deal of Orpheus' character is revealed in the episode Escape to the House of Mummies Part II. Venture reluctantly calls the necromancer for help when Team Venture is trapped in a room with closing, spiked walls. Later, Orpheus' offers of help are met with resentment and open hostility from Venture, leading the two to agree to a duel of sorts to compare their abilities: whoever can shrink himself more than the other will be declared the winner. In concentrating on the challenge, both doctors completely forget their original intent-to rescue Brock and the boys from the clutches of an Egyptian cult. After consulting with his master and much soul-searching, Orpheus philosophically concedes that he can make himself no smaller than he is already - his master had pointed out many of Orpheus' failings and pretensions. (Venture, meanwhile, has failed to find a reliable technological way to shrink himself, and also admits defeat.)
In Fallen Arches, Orpheus' petitions to the Guild of Calamitous Intent are finally fulfilled and he is granted an opportunity to select an archenemy. He assembled his former team (the Order of the Triad), containing friends The Alchemist, a homosexual monk and alchemist who was researching a cure for AIDS(and who appears to be based heavily on the Marvel Comics character, Dr. Druid, a peer of Dr. Strange), and Jefferson Twilight, a vampire hunter who hunts only blackulas, (and who is based quite heavily upon the Marvel Comics character Blade); neither of which he has seen in at least sixteen years. The Order is ecstatic at their chance to finally fight supervillains and the publicity it will bring and begin screening every applicant at Venture Industries (much to Dr. Venture's chagrin), with the fiery fiend known as Torrid (whose costume and appearance are modeled after the Marvel Comics villain Dormammu and the DC Comics super hero Deadman) winning out as the Order's archenemy due to his kidnapping of Triana.
The season four episode The Better Man introduces The Outrider, Orpheus' former student and the man who stole his wife. Orpheus is initially incensed at the Outrider, who he claims was a terrible student, having apparently outshined him in necromancy, going so far as plotting to kill him. He later learns that the OutRider was cheating via a mystical amulet implanted in his brain. At the end of the episode, he learns that Triana has visited with The Master and has learned she will one day be a great sorceress if she is allowed to go live with her mother and train. According to The Master, Orpheus knew this about his daughter but kept it from her because he was afraid that if she pursued a life in magic that she would end up as unhappy as he is. However, The Master says that this will not be so and that Orpheus can rid himself of his unhappiness if he can come to accept the fact that while he may not have been a good husband or father he is still a great necromancer.
In the season 6 special All This and Gargantua-2, as a result of The Monarch setting the Venture Compound on fire. Orpheus The Alchemist, Jefferson Twilight and Sgt. Hatred attempt to put out the flames but to no avail as the compound is burned to the ground. At the end of the special, he attends the funeral of Jonas VJ. and while there he speaks with mourning Dean and tells him he has used his powers and brought back someone special to him. The Venture boy assumes Orpheus means his late uncle but is sad when it turns Orpheus meant his stuffed giraffe which he burned in Season 5 during his depression.
With the Venture compound destroyed, Orpheus and the rest of the Triad have relocated to the Rancho Feo Motor Home (which Dr Venture refers to 'that shit-hole out on I-25'), presumably near the ruins of the compound. This causes some jealousy and friction when Orpheus and the rest of the Triad visit the Ventures in their luxurious penthouse in the 7th season opener The Venture Brothers & The Curse of the Haunted Problem.
Relationships With Other Characters
Triana is Dr. Orpheus's daughter. After he divorced his wife Tatyana, Triana lived with him up until the episode the Better Man when she went to live with her mother on advice from The Master. Orpheus is very protective of her, especially shown in Fallen Arches and A Very Venture Christmas. He is also generally aware that she drinks.
Is Dr. Orpheus' teacher, The Master taught Orpheus everything he knew since he was an apprentice. Orpheus holds his mentor in high esteem often going to him for advice over problems he may come across. The Master does not seem to carry much respect for Orpheus showing very little patience with him sometimes ignoring him when he visits him. Despite this, he does view Orpheus as his greatest student and sometimes tries to get him to relax more. The Master shows this caring side again when he tells Orpheus that even if he may he may have failed as a husband or father, he is still a great wizard.
Dr. Orpheus rents part of Dr. Venture's compound. Although the two are ostensibly friends, Dr. Orpheus often refers to Thaddeus as "Mr. Venture". At times he questions Dr. Venture's ethics, especially in Eeny, Meeny, Miney...Magic! and Powerless in the Face of Death. In return, Dr. Venture is often annoyed by Orpheus' passion for theatrics. However, scenes featuring Dr. Orpheus and Dr. Venture together frequently end with Orpheus muttering, "'kay...", in a way oddly at contrast with his usual mannerisms. At one point,the two have a disagreement wherein Dr. Venture sees no difference between science and magic, this sparks them to have a contest of magic-versus science, but Dr. Orpheus declares himself the loser after his mentor uses the opportunity for Orpheus to explore his life. Venture and Orpheus end up reconciling after realizing they were arguing over such a silly matter. Otherwise, Dr. Orpheus has admitted that he frankly envies Dr. Venture's more adventurous and exciting life, and desperately desires an archenemy; during the episode Tag Sale - You're It!
As of Season 6, the Venture Compound has been destroyed and the ventures have moved to New York. Now that Thaddeus has moved, they have not been seen together.
Dean and Hank
He is quite protective of Hank and Dean, and seems to bear more fatherly feelings towards them than does their own father (an ongoing joke in the series—even The Monarch seems to like the boys more than Dr. Venture does). Dr. Orpheus was utterly devastated by the boys' deaths in Return to Spider-Skull Island, suffering under a great deal of self-imposed guilt. He was shocked to learn that they were clones, despite his own plan to resurrect them. Dr. Venture goes so far to suggest that Orpheus is hungry for a cut of the Venture inheritance, though this may be more a creation of Venture's cynical nature than anything else. In All This and Gargantua-2, at the funeral of Jonas Venture Jr. Orpheus "comforts" Dean by restoring his stuffed giraffe. He had previously stated he brought back someone close to Dean (who thought he meant his late uncle).
The Alchemist and Jefferson Twilight
Are Orpheus's old friends, who form the Order of the Triad. They get along very well and work well as a team even if they have their occasional arguments. Despite being old friends, he has not introduce them to The Master who they don't meet until A Very Venture Halloween.
Years ago, The Outrider was once Orpheus' pupil but was described by the latter as a "slacker". Outrider paid little attention to Orpheus' teachings and often searched for an easier way to learn magic which he eventually found and became a better wizard than his teacher much to Orpheus' envy and anger. Orpheus' dislike of the latter increased when Outrider managed to win over (his now ex) wife Tatyana. In The Better Man, Orpheus discovered that Outrider has discovered a way to enter the underworld while Orpheus struggled for years increasing his jealously. Later on, when trapped in said place Orpheus apologized to Outrider for being jealous of him while the latter admitted he admired Orpheus for his abilities and wanted to find a shortcut for achieving what Orpheus did since he didn't want to sacrifice every else for magic like his mentor did.
- Eeny, Meeny, Miney...Magic!
- Tag Sale - You're it!
- Ghosts of the Sargasso
- Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean
- The Trial of the Monarch
- Return to Spider-Skull Island
- A Very Venture Christmas
- Powerless in the Face of Death
- Escape to the House of Mummies Part II
- Victor. Echo. November.
- Fallen Arches
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Kills
- Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)
- Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part II)
- Blood of the Father, Heart of Steel
- The Better Man
- Everybody Comes to Hank's
- Assisted Suicide
- Operation P.R.O.M.
- From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story