Cartoon Network (ended 1997)
|The questworld, I would have eliminated from the cartoon period. It was a stupid gimmick for the show and was pointless. For example if Surd kept attacking the family from Questworld why the heck did they keep using it.|
I thought Dr. Quest's Time Travel Program, in "Edge of Yesterday" indirectly answered that question.
Visually, I would have kept the animation from the first season, and had a few changes in season two brought in at the beginning: Benton's hair being red, Hadji's clothes being more reminiscent of his 1964 counterpart. I also would not have changed the ages of the characters so drastically between the two seasons, continuity wise that was a death sentence, and frankly I ignored it. Jonny and Hadji are supposed to be the same age, and Jessie was younger than them when first introduced in the 80's. I didn't mind so much Jessie being older, it was the abrupt age gap between Jonny and Hadji that I found off putting. Also, my biggest issue with the second season is when it first aired I did not recognize Jessie at all, there were absolutely no clues as to who she was, she was just a girl in pink running through the woods. If an overhaul had to occur I would have at least kept her in green, changing her outfit color like that defeated the purpose of characters keeping color schemes in the first place, which the whole point of is to keep the individual players recognizable; Race is always in red, Jonny is in black, Hadji has his turban, Dr. Quest has shades of brown etc.
I would have liked to see the writers pull the memory of Jonny's mother into the background more, perhaps with pictures or Dr. Quest's mentioning her. After all, she passed when Jonny was eight (ever notice how it's always eight years? Batman & Nightwing just to name two), and if Jonny is thirteen at the start of season one, that's only five years. I did pick up a sense that Benton and Jonny thought of her in a few episodes, like in Return of the Anasazi when Alice asks Dr. Quest and the rest to come with her the look on Jonny's face immediately pulled me to think of his mother, and his sensitivity to death as show in Ndovu's Last Journey where he's openly crying against his dad. Only that was it, I never felt that they missed her, which was something I got throughout the original 1964 show. It was nice that they at least gave her a name, and I can't for the life of me remember the episode, but I do know they gave her name as Rachel Wildey Quest, which is a heck of a lot better than the only other name I've found for her. Mrs. Quest was named Judy in the comic series from 1987. I did read that had a third season been given the OK, we would have seen more of the life and times of Rachel Quest, but it didn't, although who's to say Jonny Quest won't be reinvented a third time.
Over all, I think that's about it.
After re-watching a lot of the second season, I have a few other things to add: the voice acting was better (I may be biased on Rob Paulsen, though ;p), and I had forgotten that Jessie wasn't in most of them, which I liked. I've never been the biggest fan of Jessie Bannon, didn't mind her but could do without, so it was nice to have it just Jonny and Hadji. I think with Jessie around it severely down plays the fact that the boys are brothers; Dr. Quest did adopt Hadji. Also, I like the fact that Hadji is more likely to go along with, and come up with his own schemes without Miss Bannon present. Other than having her gone, it did serve to point out that Jess has a mother and spends part of the year with her too, so it does make sense she was MIA.
Race's lines took a turn beyond cheesy. I think I preferred his "fur on a catfish", and bad puns to the sheer amount of "feel good" nonsense he spit out. He simply said a whole lot of things that I've never heard anyone come close to saying in conversations, especially former military. Eh, blame the writers.
Hadji's revamped background was just too far from the original for me. Having grown up watching the show from 1964 (I had no clue about the 80's one), it was too far fetched to sit comfortably in my mind. Only, for a show aimed at preteens and teenagers I think it was a smart move, because a few things dawned on me that left me with a sense of "oh wow, ehhh".
1. Hadji is an eleven year old orphan in Calcutta.
2. He learned Judo and English from an American Marine not Pasha, despite the merchant being fluent.
I watched a documentary on children in Calcutta's red light district some time back, and while I do not think Hadji was in that area, it has opened my mind to the possibility that he could have been as the city is apparently known for it. Also, the Marine left him after obviously staying around for while, whether the American acted as a teacher and Hadji ran off elsewhere after lessons I don't know. It's just known the man is not in Hadji's life when he meets the Quests. I don't think Pasha actually "raised" Hadji either, I think it is more likely he checked up on the boy now and again, because it appears the only thing Hadji learned from his "old and venerable friend" was how to strike deals. Hadji himself said he learned English elsewhere, Pasha has no mystic abilities and Hadji had to pick it up from somewhere, and when introduced Pasha stated Hadji had grown two inches- meaning he had been gone for quite a good amount of time, certainly longer than a week regardless of how fast kids grow. Pasha had no quarrel about letting Benton adopt Hadji either, it made me think that when they said they were friends they meant exactly that. So to go from all of that to suddenly finding out he's royalty was a bit much, but then I prefer that sense of realism in cartoons like Jonny Quest.
Anyhoo, end of my rant.
I absolutely loved this show growing up and I STILL watch the VHS tapes I made of it years ago today! It makes me so happy to see so many people still talking about it to this day!
I did like both seasons, but of the two, I liked the second season better for a few reasons. First off, I actually preferred the animation (I know I'll probably be hunted down and shot for saying that but oh well lol). They were more colorful and looked more attractive to me. In the first season, there were times when Jessie looked fine and other times when she kind of looked ugly . . . In the second season she was really pretty. Her outfit was a bit strange, and I certainly wouldn't have picked pink since she had such red hair, but I didn't think it was any worse than the stupid stretch pants and ugly t-shirt they had her in in the first season. Jonny and Hadji looked better too, a little more grown up which is funny since I read that they supposedly regressed their ages each by a year (which was really stupid since that makes no sense and they are awfully smart and mature for being so young). I also preferred the voice actors from the second season. The first season ones weren't bad by any means, but I did enjoy the second set better. I definitely liked Race's voice better. I never understood why he spoke with a Texan accent when he was supposedly born and raised in Illinois. Anyone want to try and explain that? lol Second season Race dropped the goofy accent so that was nice. I've also noticed my favorite eps come from season two. I liked how they got more supernatural rather than scientific. I noticed a lot of fans complain about second season Jessie, saying she wasn't as useful as she was in the first season and I don't entirely agree. It does seem like Jonny has to save her a little more often than he had to in the first season but I wouldn't say she's helpless or useless. She still did a lot and she still saved Jonny quite a few times in the second season. But I suppose that's one thing that could have been changed: making second season Jessie just as useful as she was in first season. I really liked how second season brought in some reoccurring characters like Jade and how they introduced us to Jessie's mom.
Aside from going the route they took with season two from the get go, something else I would change is how practically every ep is like a one shot, unrelated to previous events. That was lame since they could have done so much more with what they had going. It would have been great if they had a major plot developed and every so many episodes, more of said plot would be revealed or something with filler eps in between that might only have a little to do with the overlying plot or maybe nothing at all. That's the kind of thing that helps boost ratings. Give the people a reason to keep coming back next week. "To be continued" eps is a good way to do that and would have made things more realistic seeing how they were always able to solve every mysterious phenomenon they came across in a 30 minute time slot which wasn't very believable. I was excited when I found out season three was supposed to bring us more of that type of stuff, like they were going to go more into Jonny's mom, Rachel, and stuff like that. I would have liked to see more of Hadji's royal background as I thought that was an interesting addition to the story as well. Too bad we never got to see another season.
Another thing I loved was the addition of Jessie. To be honest, if she hadn't been in the show I wouldn't have bothered to watch it. It's one of the reasons I can't get into the original JQ. Being a girl, I want to see a cool girl character play a significant role. Adding Jessie as Race's daughter was a brilliant move and I definitely think it increased their audience to girls more than it would have otherwise. She was such a great role model too. I loved watching her, Jonny, and Hadji interact. I thought it worked really well how they kind of made her a combination of Jonny and Hadji (smart like Hadji, daring like Jonny). I also enjoyed watching Jonny and Jessie interact by themselves. They had good character dynamics. They bounced from butting heads to getting along to the point of borderline flirting. It was fun to watch. I definitely would have evolved their relationship together more as the story went. They were very cute together and made a good couple. Plus adding something like that would have added one more dimension to the overlying plot they should have had going. I almost got the impression that they were doing a little something of a love triangle between the three teens, like it was underlining some eps. Thanks to episodes like The Haunted Sonata, Undersea Urgency, Ghost Quest, Eclipse, and The Bangalore Falcon from season two, I was getting the impression that Jonny might actually be starting to like Jessie, and that, though she wasn't disinterested in Jonny, she kind of had a small crush on Hadji. That would have been interesting to explore and I've noticed a lot of fans feel the same way (check out JQTRA fanfiction for example). It could have only served to please people as people usually want to see someone get together in a story from what I've seen. Either way most people don't seem like they would be upset to see something like that happen between Jonny and Jessie. They either wanted it to or they didn't care. Granted I wouldn't want the show to focus too much on romance, but it would have been nice to see some between Jonny and Jessie rather than just Race and all his old flames.
I've also noticed that a lot of fans seem to dislike QuestWorld and would take that out of the show if they could. Once again I have to disagree. I thought it was a neat aspect of the show. The graphics suck now but at the time they were pretty decent, especially for a kids cartoon. I do think it was a little silly how the teens would go play around in QuestWorld despite the fact that Surd could attack them and whatnot and how Surd seemed to know their own program better than they did, but it gave yet another dimension to the show. And seeing that they didn't really do any of the other things I stated above, they couldn't afford to drop this angle. I will agree that it could have been done better, but I wouldn't scrap it altogether.
Although the Questworld was a bit gimmicky, I liked it and would have kept it in. I think I would have begun the storyline involving Jonny's mother Rachel in season 1 and continued it throughout. I would love to now see Real Adventures be remade and incorporate the Rachel storyline somehow from the beginning so that we learn exactly who she was and how she lived and died, or possibly even a plot-twist showing her still alive and having been in hiding all these years, either afraid to or having no way to tell the Quests.