JONNY QUEST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON No. of Episodes: 26. No. of Discs: 4 (Single-Sided; All "Region 1"). Aspect Ratio: Full Frame OAR (1.33:1). Audio: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono (in English & Spanish). Color/B&W: Color. Subtitles: English, French, Spanish. MSRP: $64.92. Release Date: May 11, 2004. ------------------------------------------------ This ultra-cool four-disc DVD boxed set from Warner Brothers contains all 26 episodes of the original 1964 animated TV series, "Jonny Quest" (aka: "The Adventures Of Jonny Quest"). This set is part of the slick-looking "Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection". This original version of "Jonny Quest" only lasted one season (1964-1965). Therefore, this collectible DVD boxed set contains *every* episode in the entire so-called "Classic Jonny Quest" series. The show was twice revived in later years (for syndication only), once in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. But I think I'm safe in saying without fear of getting much argument that the subsequent resurrected versions of "JQ" cannot nearly measure up to the original 1964 variant of the program, which seems to exude a kind of timelessness and authentic quality which makes these "Classic" episodic adventures fun to watch again and again. Every exciting and peril-filled '64 Quest adventure is here, complete with all the various cool vehicles and gadgets that are utilized by Dr. Benton Quest and his son Jonny, who are accompanied by their ever-present colleagues, Roger "Race" Bannon and "Hadji". (Plus Jonny's often-helpful dog, "Bandit".) So many memorable set-pieces came out of the Jonny Quest cartoon series. .... Watch in glorious Digital clarity as Dr. Quest's #1 nemesis, the evil Dr. Zin, makes multiple futile attempts to "take over the world". This fun series also features the likes of abominable snow creatures, gargoyles, very unfriendly sea beasts, some angry pygmies, a spider-like "robot spy", werewolves, lizard men, deadly spiders, poisonous snakes, wild panthers, man-eating dragons, an invisible energy-absorbing monster, and one of my favorites (in the episode "Turu The Terrible") -- a Quest-hating prehistoric pteranodon, which was trained by a wheelchair-bound madman, voiced by Everett Sloane. ("Kill, Turu, kill!!"). This adventure cartoon debuted on ABC-TV on Friday night, September 18, 1964, in the 7:30 PM (ET) time-slot ("The Farmer's Daughter" and "The Addams Family" followed Jonny on the ABC schedule). I, however, best remember seeing Jonny in reruns on Saturday mornings. The producers of this series (Hanna-Barbera) sure got their money's worth out of this one-season wonder. The series still holds a lot of fans spellbound, and has produced a cult-like following from many Quest lovers. In fact, there's a very nice website devoted solely to the 1964 "JQ" series --- at http://www.classicjonnyquest.com. Each of these twenty-six "Classic JQ" episodes is presented in its original, uncut form (with a running time of about 25:15 each). All of the original "Episode Title Cards" (complete with the thunderously-dramatic "four-note" musical cue), are also included on each episode of this DVD collection. However, there *is* one small piece of each episode edited out here -- the "Jonny Quest" title cards (with the accompanying two-word voice-over by Mike Road, who provided the voice of "Race Bannon") are absent. But this omission of approx. 3 seconds per show isn't really a big deal, IMO. Although, I imagine some hard-core JQ fans will not like even this short piece being cut out of these prints. For the sake of accuracy, I should also add here that the closing title sequences used for all the shows in this collection are (evidently) taken from the exact same episode, and used over and over again on all the discs. However, once more -- although it might irk the purists who insist every last detail be accurate to the letter -- this slight alteration of the closing titles doesn't detract from the overall quality of these presentations. The picture quality for these color episodes is terrific....virtually perfect! Colors look very bold and vibrant, with Race Bannon's always-present red shirt showing up bright and vivid. The image aspect ratio is as you would expect from a TV program aired in the 1960s -- Full Frame (1.33:1). This, of course, is the original ratio employed for this television series. The sound comes via Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono tracks, with pleasing results. There is also a DD 1.0 Mono "Spanish" track included for each episode. "JQ" relied heavily on music to build suspense and carry each storyline along. The music cues used in the programs, as well as the rousing opening and closing themes, come across very well on these discs. Each episode also features subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Once again, it's worth repeating with vigor here --- THESE EPISODES LOOK FANTASTIC ON THESE DVDs! High praise must be showered upon whoever is responsible for these DVD video transfers (as well as the top-notch audio). These Quest adventures look and sound as clear, sharp, and rich as when they were first aired (probably even better)! Packaging .... Warner Home Video has issued this 4-Disc set what they have described in their official press release as "dazzling translucent collectible packaging". And, upon seeing it in person, I'd have to agree completely with that statement. This super-shiny packaging is just bursting with color! The glistening outer slipcover of this "Digipak" case (which is made out of plastic, and not cardboard) securely houses an inner, five-panel fold-out section. The inner paneled section of this unique-looking case must be slid inside the outer "slipcase" in order to gain the full-color effect of the image contained on the cover. When the two sections are placed together, you get the "complete" colorful picture (which seems to emit a kind of "three-dimensional" status when both of the box parts are merged). Excellent graphics indeed! I love it! A nice, sturdy package. My only complaint with the box design is that (for some reason that I cannot figure out) the cover art on the front of the case is NOT an image (drawing) from the original 1964 version of the show. The cover artwork is, instead, taken from the second (1980s) version of the series. Which is a bit of a mystery, because the images that decorate all other portions of this DVD package -- the discs themselves, inner-case panels, and the back of the box -- are all taken from the correct "Classic '64" Quest publicity materials (and they look great here, too). So, some original '64 pictures were obviously available for this DVD release; which makes me wonder WHY a "Classic JQ" image couldn't have been used for the front cover. Oh, well....it's not worth slashing your wrists about, I suppose. The image on the cover still looks nice, even though it is from the much-inferior 1980s Quest series. Each of the individual discs displays a different JQ character (Race Bannon, Dr. Quest, Jonny, and Hadji on Discs 1-4, respectively). After you've removed a disc from its plastic holder, you'll see a different image of each of the characters printed on the case underneath. Nice work was done on this eye-appealing packaging. There's no physical paper insert or booklet included with this set. Instead, the episode information (along with some trivia and some excellent vintage photos) is printed onto the various sections (panels) of the inner cardboard fold-out case. There are 7 episodes on each of the first three discs; with the remaining 5 shows on Disc 4 (along with all of the bonus material). There are no "chapter breaks" for any of the episodes, which is a bit of a disappointment. I would have liked the advantage of at least a chapter break after the opening credits. DVD BONUS FEATURES ........................................... >> "Jonny Quest Files: Fun, Facts and Trivia" is a unique type of bonus DVD feature. When you choose this bonus, the entire episode "Double Danger" will play with integrated "pop-up" text coming on the screen periodically, displaying bits of trivia and show information. A fun bonus. >> "Jonny Quest: Adventures In Animation" -- This is a terrific little mini-documentary (in rich-sounding Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo to boot), which features several people in the industry (artists, animators, directors, and writers) talking about their thoughts on the original "Jonny Quest" adventure cartoon series, and what impact it had on them when they were kids. Lots of JQ episode clips are used for this bonus program, which has a run time of 15:14. >> The "Jonny Quest Video Handbook" consists of 10 separate "Mini Bios", covering just about anything anyone would ever want or need to know about the "Jonny Quest" series. These short narrated bio pieces (which all feature a DD 2.0 Stereo track) contain many clips from the series as we listen to each capsule biography, which are told with an entertaining tongue-in-cheek style. Each "bio" must be accessed individually from the "Video Handbook" Main Menu. These video segments range in length from 50 seconds to 3:05, with a total length of 16:57. The ten sections are entitled: "Jonny", "Race", "Dr. Quest", "Hadji", "Bandit", "Allies", "Villains", "Vehicles", "Gadgets & Gear", and "Locales". My favorite is "Villains", which gives us a glimpse at all of the Quest foes and bad guys. Wryly-told, this one is really a hoot! >> "P.F. Flyer Sneaker Commercial" -- This is an original (color) TV commercial spot (circa 1960s), with "Jonny" and "Race" advertising -- and wearing -- their "P.F. Flyer" athletic shoes. The end of this ad has the original voice of Jonny (Tim Matheson) telling the viewers about the cool "P.F. Magic Ring", complete with a "secret compartment". I'll bet every kid who watched Jonny Quest in those days wanted one of those neat rings. This TV commercial spot lasts exactly 1 minute (although the DVD packaging shows a length of only half this). And the video quality for this bonus ad is remarkably good. Looks brand new! Great stuff here! >> Trailers for 4 other Cartoon DVD sets. Each of these promotional ads runs a little more than 1 minute. I enjoyed all of the above supplements very much (even the Trailer ads for other DVDs). Although the bonuses aren't exactly "feature-length", these short bonus items were all very well done. Nice and professional-looking. I know I'll find myself revisiting this bonus material in the future. One thing I wish could have been included here would have been an appearance in one of the featurettes by Tim Matheson (the voice of Jonny Quest). Better yet, a Matheson Commentary Track for one or more JQ episodes! But, obviously, Mr. Matheson's participation in this DVD project could not be secured by Warner Brothers (you do suppose they at least asked him, don't you? I'd surely think they would have). MENUS .... Just like these episodes themselves, I found this DVD set's Menu structure to be very cool. A brief animated sequence comes on screen when any disc is initially loaded into the player (featuring some clips from various episodes), which then expands to show the menu selections -- which are presented in the guise of the instrument panel of the Quest private vertical-takeoff jet. Sub-Menus are all the "static" type; and there are no long, time-consuming transitions when switching between menus. You move around the various menu choices using an icon resembling Jonny's bulldog, "Bandit". A catchy little "adventurous-sounding" musical theme has been created for this DVD set, that plays while the Main Menu is viewable on screen. While this snappy theme was not derived from the show itself, it still seems to "fit" the spirit of the series very nicely. Yet another well-done touch. There are sub-menus for "Episode Selections", "Special Features", and "Languages". All bonus supplements are located on Disc 4 however. A "Play All" feature is also included on all of the discs. Therefore, a "JQ Marathon" session can be achieved without having to select each episode individually from the Menu. These well-written and visually-impressive episodes of this memorable animated series are still a pleasure to watch, even all these decades later. And the show is made infinitely more enjoyable thanks to this outstanding boxed set of DVDs from Warner Home Video. This is a DVD collection I shall enjoy for many, many years to come. NOTE ON EDITED-OUT PORTIONS OF SOME JONNY QUEST MATERIAL --- As has been discussed elsewhere here @ HTF, one episode on this set ("Pursuit Of The Po-Ho") has had two small (but aggravating) bits of dialogue cut out. Two phrases in the episode, spoken by Roger "Race" Bannon, that some deem as offensive -- "You heathen monkeys" and "You ignorant savages" -- have been "muted" off of the soundtrack at some big-wig's direction (Warner's I surmise??). However, interestingly, the CAPTIONS for these words can still be shown on screen when the 'Subtitles' option is turned on. Funny they wouldn't want the written words erased during these scenes, as well. But, I guess the WB executives don't care if a person READS this super-offensive invective; it's only bad if we can HEAR the spoken words evidently. *shaking head in disgust* Another rather obvious audio effect edit occurs also during this same "Heathen" scene. When Race comes up out of the water as the purple "God", we *should* be hearing the water splashing all around him. But, instead -- dead silence. This water splash has also been muted for some unknown reason (someone hit the "Heathen/Ignorant" kill switch too soon perhaps?). However, the "splash" IS heard on the Spanish language track. Weird. IMO, it's silly (to say the least) that ANY commercially-released video product has to be edited in any manner, just because somebody (who knows who!?) deems a certain word or phrase "politically incorrect". If *every* DVD were to be treated in this manner, we'd be seeing a lot more "edited" versions of movies/TV shows. Because there are most certainly a lot more vile/insulting things being uttered by actors than what Race said in this "Po-Ho" JQ episode. Well, even with these small edits to the soundtrack, I don't think it should keep anyone from buying this outstanding DVD boxed set, or from enjoying these great old Jonny Quest Classic episodes. These JQ shows are some of the truly greatest works of animation ever done. They should be treasured -- by heathens and savages alike. And finally, in closing this review tome .... some nice-looking screenshots from the "Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season" DVD collection (courtesy www.classicjonnyquest.com / www.classicjq.com). The top pic is from the immaculate-looking "P.F. Flyer" TV ad that's included on Disc 4. ......... ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ THE JETSONS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON No. of Episodes: 24. No. of Discs: 4 (Single-Sided; All "Region 1"). Aspect Ratio: Full Frame OAR (1.33:1). Audio: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono (in English only). Color/B&W: Color. Subtitles: English, French, Spanish. MSRP: $64.92. Release Date: May 11, 2004. ------------------------------------------------ The animated TV series, "The Jetsons", represented a space-dwelling "flip side" to the popular cartoon "The Flintstones". Fred and Wilma Flintstone's antics were set in the Stone Age, with no modern conveniences (like, say, brakes on their bottomless automobile ... LOL!). While life with George Jetson and family is just the opposite -- taking place in the future, with a myriad of handy futuristic-looking gadgets and toys and flying cars. I love the Jetson's "food-a-rac-a-cycle", which is a cool device that instantly dispenses about any type of food you could imagine. Just press one button, and you've got an instant steak dinner. Now THERE'S one modern convenience I'm sure every 21st-century housewife wouldn't mind having in their kitchens today! Of course, the darn thing was always breaking down, or spitting out the wrong meals, or something of the sort, to drive George crazy! But that was part of the fun -- seeing George in a frantic or stressed-out state. There are 24 episodes of "The Jetsons" included in this deluxe and very attractive 4-Disc DVD boxed set from Warner Home Video. These episodes are all from the 1962-1963 debut season of the animated series. Which, in my view, is actually the ONLY season from what could be termed the "Original" series of "The Jetsons". The series was revived more than two decades later, in 1984, with another 42 episodes produced and aired during the 1984-1985 TV season. And the show was resurrected yet again two years later, with an additional 9 "Jetsons" episodes airing in September and October of 1987. These two later versions of the series did a good job (IMO) of re-establishing the link with the original '62 shows and format. The character drawings and voices changed very little (if I remember correctly) from the original version to its subsequent 1980s sequels -- unlike the "Jonny Quest" cartoon series, which was almost totally changed (in style, voices, and appearance of the characters), and for the worse IMO, when it was revived in 1987, after 22 years off the air. But I still favor these first-season (1962-'63) "Jetsons" programs over the '80s episodes. This "original" series had a unique "flavor" and style all its own, and some great music and sound effects to accompany the stories. This classy-looking DVD set gives us first-rate digital transfers for these 24 TV episodes, with very clear and colorful Full-Frame (1.33:1) video, and solid sound -- derived via the four disc's very ample 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono soundtracks (English only). These episodes are presented in full, uncut, unedited form (as far as I can tell), with each show sporting a healthy running time of a little more than 25:30! The DVD Menus are fun and lively. We're greeted by the Jetsons' rousing opening theme music once a disc is loaded up into the player. From the Main Menu, there's access to the various Sub-Menus -- Episode Selections, Special Features, Languages/Subtitles, and a "Play All Episodes" option. These discs contain three different subtitle choices: English, French, and Spanish. The packaging is colorful and very attractive, and replicates the same box style that also adorns other products in this same line of "Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection" DVD boxed sets. The front cover offers a classic "Jetsons" image that is actually a "two-sectioned" (semi "3-D") picture -- with the inner section of the case providing the uncolored "pencil" drawings. When the innards of the case are slid into the "color" outer cover, the full, luminous effect of the image is completed. Nice design. The plastic outer slipcase does fit a bit snugly (perhaps a tad bit too tight); but, with a bit of shake-shake-shaking, the innards will finally slide out. All-in-all, I really like this packaging utilized by WB for these stellar "Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection" cartoon sets. And having the outer slipcover made out of plastic (rather than the usual cardboard) is kind of nice as well. It should prove more durable than the paper counterparts. (But, hopefully, the cardboard "inner" multi-panel part of these cases can hold up as well, after the struggles to get them into the tight-fitting outer portion.) In lieu of a multi-page booklet for this release, Warner Home Video has (in essence) placed the contents of any such paper enclosure directly onto the "panels" of the inner cardboard "Digipak", with each panel of the case displaying info for one of the discs. There are episode titles, trivia, and many nice pictures included on these inner fold-out sections of the packaging. These episodes don't have any "Chapter" stops, however. BONUS FEATURES INCLUDE .................... >> Two episode Commentary Tracks by Janet Waldo (the voice of "Judy Jetson") -- For the episodes "Rosey the Robot" and "A Date With Jet Screamer". >> "The Jetsons: The Family of the Future" -- This short featurette takes a nostalgic look back at the series, and includes interview clips with show creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Length -- 8:42. >> "Nuclear Family Album" -- This text-based bonus offers up five character bios from the famous 21st-century cartoon family (including one for dog Astro). You can access these short bios one at a time, or all at once via the "Play All" selector. Total run time = 2:42. >> "Space Age Gadgets" -- Featurette focusing on all the high-tech gadgets used by The Jetsons. Running time of 4:49. >> "Rosey, The Robotic Maid" -- Featurette highlighting (you guessed it Sherlock!) .... Rosey the maid. This bonus lasts 3:32. >> "Family Favorites" -- DVD Trailer Ads for four other cartoon sets. While all of the above Bonus Features are nice to see (once), generally-speaking, I'd have to say I like the extras included on the Jonny Quest set much better. If you fondly remember this classic Saturday-morning cartoon, then you'll be wanting to pick up a copy of this smart-looking DVD set of the complete first season of "The Jetsons" from the "Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection".