Yes, for Red and Blue's time you're right. They may be simple but in that time when Pokemon was a new thing, they were the most creative monsters out there. I remember complaining when I was little that I couldn't have all three starters in the beginning. Then Yellow came out...Oh was I happy. xD
Venusaur is beast, it was hard for me to choose between him and Sceptile. If it was Treecko vs. Bulbasaur then hands down I'd choose the Bulba line. But I figure the final evos are more important than the first stage since very rarely do I hear anyone keep them like that through a whole gameplay.