Plot: Dr. Benton C. Quest is one of the government’s most valuable scientist, which means he is dispatched all over the world to solve various problems, often in exotic, danger filled locations. Quest has an impressive skill set, but even he needs some help now and then, so when he goes out on these assignments, he has a team by his side to even the odds. The squad includes Benton’s sons Jonny and Hadji, the family’s faithful canine Bandit, and the always trusty Race Bannon, who is a jack of all trades and mentor to the boys. These missions are often dangerous and always a challenge, but with a blend of scientific genius, good old fashioned elbow grease, and maybe a little luck, this group just might overcome the odds.
Entertainment Value: This cartoon became a classic with good reason, as it offers one grand scale adventure after another, taking us all over the world on unpredictable, always epic assignments. The stories have a wide scope of possibilities, so you never know from episode to episode what you might encounter, from raging volcanoes to robot spiders to lizard men, all tackled in action packed fashion. As wild as some of the tales can seem at first blush, the show makes a real effort to connect the events with science in one way or another. So yes, some outrageous adventures are embarked upon, but there is some kind of scientific explanation of some sort, which helps Jonny Quest feel like more than random wackiness. This is also bolstered by the characters, as the main ensemble is grounded, likable, and well developed, which helps keep things reined in somewhat, even in the wilder episodes. The action is ever present however, with big, sweeping locales and adventures, so Jonny Quest remains just as exciting and fun to watch as ever, even decades later.
The show’s adventures are brought to life in grand visions as well, thanks to some skilled, old school animation. The style here is similar to other older cartoons, but also has a comic book feel, which makes perfect sense, as these kind of stories would fit right in with that medium. I love seeing all the varied locations and all the detail that goes into each one, which couldn’t have been a simple task, since Jonny Quest seems to be in all new areas in each episode. The attention to detail is impressive, with a lot of small, but effective visual touches to bring the atmosphere of each location to life, whether that involves mummies, ancient ruins, or an arctic tundra. I really like the show’s visual presence and thanks to Warner Archive’s stunning release, the show looks better than ever, hands down. The voice cast turns in earnest, always capable performances here, with some animation regulars on hand throughout. Don Messick is a constant presence and his voice over work is always on the mark, while Tim Matheson brings Jonny to life in all of the episodes. Danny Bravo and Mike Road are also present for the entire run, while Henry Corden is a frequent participant as well.
The Disc: Warner Archive has released Jonny Quest on Blu-ray, with all 26 uncut episodes included and the episodes look fantastic, you can tell some clean up work was done, if not a full on restoration. The visuals here look so sharp and super clean, which really lets the animation and especially the colors shine. And those colors do shine, with bright and vivid hues that really pop, impressive stuff. I also appreciate that while the episodes have been spruced up, the images haven’t scrubbed to the point of loss of detail or depth. So to sum it up, Jonny Quest has never looked so good and I have to think fans will be beyond ecstatic with this release. On the extras front, one episode has a special mode filled with pop trivia and other bonuses, a series of ten featurettes are included, and there’s a retrospective on the show’s legacy with a host of artists and animators involved. You can also watch a vintage sneaker commercial that involves Jonny Quest, which is a fun and interesting inclusion.