Classic Jonny Quest
The New Adventures of Jonny Quest (aka Season 2) and the Movies

© 1998-2010, Lyle P. Blosser

Here is a list of the 13 episodes of The New Adventures of Jonny Quest from the syndication-only 1986-1987 season, plus a bit of discussion on the episodes and the subsequent JQ movies.

NOTE: The entire set of these episodes, packaged as "Jonny Quest: The Complete Eighties Adventures", has been made available on DVD. There have been several release dates mentioned, depending on the retail website being viewed: April 8, 2014, April 29, 2014, and May 9, 2014 are all specified as the release date. Unfortunately, Warner Bros., the producer of the DVD (made available as MOD - Manufacture on Demand) did not supply an official release date on their website. However, the majority of commercial sites, as well as Wikipedia, have settled on April 8, 2014, so we're going to say that is it. Check your favorite retail outlets for availability.

Thanks to Gary Karpinski and others for providing the the episode summaries.

There used to be some disgreement on the exact order of the episodes, and on some of the air dates. While numerous episode guides from various web sites as well as data from individual contributers differ in the details (although the episode descriptions remain pretty standard across the board), this situation appears to be satisfactorally resolved, with the information shown on IMDB's episode list for the show being deemed as accurate as possible, despite no hard evidence (printed TV Guide pages, etc.) for the actual historical order of episodes being located. Thanks to Ray Barrett and Corey Law for contributing to this topic.

  1. Peril of the Reptilian (09/14/1986) - Mysterious attacks on military installations in the South pacific lead Dr. Quest to evil Dr. Phorbus, who has engineered prehistoric remains into mutant dinosaur-like "reptilemen" to help him rule the world.
  2. Nightmares of Steel (09/21/1986) - Sheik Abu Saddi asks Dr. Quest for help in dealing with a vicious marauder band who have developed robot horses from plans stolen from the shiek. On these metallic mounts, the raiders are terrorizing Bedouin villages in his country.
  3. Aliens Among Us (09/28/1986) - A matter transportation device invented by Dr. Quest is stolen by apparent aliens, but when they fail to get the device to work, they take a dangerous step by kidnapping Jonny and Hadji to try to force Dr. Quest to help them.
  4. Deadly Junket (10/05/1986) - Dr. Zin once again causes problems when he kidnaps Dr. Bradshaw to work on an anti-anti-missle system, but brings more grief upon himself after the scientist's daughter Jessie escapes and seeks out the Quests for help.
  5. Forty Fathoms Into Yesterday (10/12/1986) - After being thrown back into the year 1944, the Quests discover that a time machine discovered aboard a submarine is being used by a German scientist to change the course of history.
  6. Vikong Lives (10/19/1986) - While in the arctic, the Quests discover an ape-like being frozen in the ice, a relic from the days of the Vikings.
  7. Secret of the Clay Warriors (11/02/1986) - After receiving a plea for help from an archaeologist friend exploring the tomb of an Chinese emperor, the Quests arrive to help end the reign of terror by ghostly clay warriors.
  8. The Monolith Man (11/09/1986) - The story of how Hardrok, a living rock being joined the Quest team. It all starts when a thermal mining operation pushes the limits by digging too deeply; an explosion reveals a previously-hidden underground civilization.
  9. Warlord of the Sky (11/16/1986) - Evil scientist Maximillian Dragna plans to rule the skies with an incredible flying craft called the Dreadnought. Dr. Quest and the team must attempt to stop the man before he succeeds.
  10. The Scourge of Skyborg (11/23/1986) - Race tests a new computerized autopilot (CAP), and runs afoul of Skyborg, a renegade half-man, half-robot who pits Race against CAP in a battle to win the Quests freedom.
  11. Temple of Gloom (12/07/1986) - Hadji's old teacher is being forced by the evil Deprave to disrupt a peace conference by using his mental powers to apparently make nightmares come true. Hadji must try to help his master and maintain peace.
  12. Creeping Unknown (12/14/1987) - When a monster made of plants terrorizes the area near a swamp, the Quests investigate and find that an evil scientist is turning people into plants.
  13. Skullduggery (03/01/1987) - Dr. Zin is behind a plan to use tokens of power (a crystal skull and staff) to gain mastery over the world. But a doomsday device is activated when an ancient Druid ceremony is re-enacted.

Some discussion...

It should be noted that these 13 episodes, as well as the two feature-length movies, "Jonny's Golden Quest" (1993) and "Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects" (1995, originally titled "Jonny's Global Impact"), are not considered "canon" by JQ afficianados.

Not only that, Lance Falk, writer for JQ:TRA, in his Top 14 FAQ for JQ:TRA states:

"Just so you know, Jonny's Golden Quest is SO WRONG about EVERYTHING, it can never be considered data. That way lies madness. It's version of Jessie, Dr. Zin and Jade are especially incorrect. They are well made and fun to watch but not considered accurate by any means. Which also goes for the other TV movie "Jonny Quest and the Cyber-Insects", and also The 86' Jonny Quest series. These events never happened to our characters. They are "what-if" stories and in no way, part of Official Jonny Quest history."

According to an article in Television Chronicles (issue #2):
"The second series suffers by comparison in the areas of animation and writing. The animation is as stilted as any of contemporaries, and the credibility of the action is seldom a concern. Aside from the deux ex machina available in the form of Hardrok [a new character made of living stone added in the new series - LPB] much use is also made of Hadji's mystical powers, far more so than in the original shows, in order to extricate the Quests from peril."

"For whatever the reason, the second series failed to fulfill the expectations that Hanna-Barbera had for it. Though an additional 26 episodes had been planned...production ceased after the first 13."

The Television Chronicles article expresses strong disappointment in the two attempts at creating Jonny Quest feature films, which fail on a number of levels to adequately carry the Jonny Quest torch. There were apparently problems with the character relationships (especially between Jonny and Dr. Quest, and Jade is now Race's ex-wife!), problems with the setting, problems with supporting characters (Dr. Zin's deteriorating physical condition, and Jade's red hair), and more.

Not having seen any of the season 2 episodes or "Jonny's Golden Quest", it's hard to say just what the problem is with these productions, although judging by the synopses, they appear to be just a bit more "extreme" than Classic Jonny Quest, involving more monsters, aliens, etc. than villians who were diabolical but still human.


Warning! Personal opinion, and possible spoilers, ahead!

If the 2nd season episodes and "Jonny's Golden Quest" are anything like "Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects" I can see why the folks at JQ:TRA want to distance themselves from these productions. The artwork is bland and flat, although "drawn bigger". Quest labs is now a HUGE facility, with ceilings dozens of feet high, rooms the size of football stadiums, and filled floor to ceiling with computer-ish screens, panels, lights, etc. And although the Quests jump all over the globe during the course of the movie, absolutely missing is the sense of reality, of actually being on location. The scenes could be taking place anywhere; there's nothing really to distinguish one place from another.
And maybe that's part of the problem; rather than concentrate on a single locale and its atmosphere like the original series did for each episode, the film attempts to expand the impact of the story by including settings from all over the world (and nearby space). Unfortunately, the result is less than satisfactory; instead of a "global" feeling, the entire sense of "being there" has disappeared.

The soundtrack and underscores were so dull as to be virtually non-existant; the plot was strictly fantasy (intelligent prehistoric insect monsters under direct control of a madman), and, worst of all, the characters have been "updated" to reflect more politically correct thinking.

Dr. Quest now apparently heads a huge group of scientists in several locations, including his own "Quest space station" (they commute via several "Quest shuttles"). A new character, an intelligent robot called 4-DAC, is added. Dr. Quest doesn't seem to use the computers much, but asks 4-DAC to do his research for him. Race is no longer a tutor for the boys, but is just a kind of "big buddy". And the boys really don't need guidance any more, as they are fully capable of using all kinds of equipment, and can do most anything, including flying aircraft (large and small). Oh, and to be politically correct, there's a girl, Jessie (Race's daughter), who always seems just a bit more mature than Jonny, who is there to correct his silly behavior, but yet gives him a kiss "for luck" when he is about to attempt something dangerous.

The drawing of the human characters seems to have taken a step backward, becoming more "cartoony", with eyes that widen to three and four times the pupil width, and lips that don't really seem "in-synch" with the voices. Even Dr. Zin was re-done so he was less a normal-looking Oriental genius, and more a diseased, warty sick-o. (Note:The Quest team never defeats any of Dr. Zin's henchmen as they did in the "good old days"; rather, Dr. Zin eliminates them himself when they fail him in the least little way!

The main point of "JQvCI" is that Jonny needs to develop more caution and patience, do less on his own, and become a "team player" if he ever wants to be successful. Everyone else seems to be "on board" with this line of thinking; poor Jonny is left out in the cold until he can "get with the program". Thankfully, Bandit still seems to care for Jonny, just as he is.

I could barely finish the film...gone was the sense of kids sharing in an adventure with a family, gone was the sense that Jonny and Hadji were buddies instead of "Quest Team members", gone was pretty much everything that made the original Jonny Quest so memorable! All in all, there was much to disappoint, and precious little to recommend, here. One can hope that JQ:TRA can do a better job, and that this incarnation of JQ is quickly forgotten.

NOTE: In the "JQvCI" credits, original voice providers Don Messick (Dr. Quest and Bandit) and Tim Matheson (original Jonny) were also part of this project (Dr. Quest and 4-DAC, respectively); one can only imagine the pain these two went through when seeing this "improved" JQ!
Go to Jonny Quest Season 1.

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