In the early ’90s, Turner Broadcasting System — the brainchild of everybody’s favorite media mogul/humanitarian/sports nut, Ted Turner — purchased the classic animation studio of Hanna-Barbara. The acquisition not only enabled them to program almost every classic (as well as the not-so-classic) Hanna-Barbara franchise onto their newly-launched Cartoon Network, but also gave Turner’s own in-house animators to start producing their own takes on many of the timeless characters William Hanna and Joseph Barbara entertained households over the course of several decades.
In 1996, one of these remake series came to fruition: The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. Seeing as how the original Jonny Quest — broadcast from 1964 to 1965 — was made in a time wherein stereotypes and politically-incorrectness weren’t of much concern to anyone (except women and foreigners, of course), it was probably time to bring this popular character into the world of open-minded kindliness and that brotherly love that books like the Bible teach us (and which certain Bible quoting fanatics tend to ignore, ironically enough).
And so, for The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, we have a PC version of the young Mr. Quest — one who is slightly older here than he was in the ’60s series. Now a teenager, Jonny travels all over the globe with his phenomenologist (yes, that’s a real word) father, Dr. Benton Quest (yes, “Benton” is a real name); his adopted brother Hadji Singh; Benton’s faithful bodyguard, Race Bannon; Race’s daughter, Jessie (a new character); and the family dog, Bandit. Throughout the series, the kids investigate various modern mysteries and tabloid headlines come to life, occasionally visiting a virtual world called (generically enough) Questworld — which gave animators a chance to use some (now primitive) CGI.
While even the animation of the ’90s seems dated compared to that which we see today, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest remains pretty decent stuff. Kids who are completely new to the character will no doubt enjoy it without judging it too terribly much, while those of you who grew up with the original (albeit the first time ’round or in syndication) might make the odd grimace or two over the series’ writing and direction in general. That said, though, if you never had the opportunity to see this when it first aired on Cartoon Network, now might be the time to check it out. Likewise for those of you who saw it in the ’90s and didn’t like it: some things can improve over time. You never know.
Warner Brothers released the first Volume of Season 1 to stores on DVD in 2009, but, evidentially must not have sold all that well, since the second half of this series never found its way to homes until now via the Warner Archive Collection — which means you won’t the Manufactured-on-Demand 2-Disc set in stores, and it’s available from WBshop.com. Unlike most of these made-to-order DVD-Rs, this one actually has a special feature on-hand: a featurette entitled “Journey into Questworld” that has a few of the animators talk about their overly tacky (by today’s standards, that is) gimmick.