What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic action cartoon -- which originally aired in the '60s and had another TV incarnation in the mid-'80s -- includes some violence and dated stereotypes. But none of what's here is too iffy, and many modern kids will be able to relate to Jonny, who doesn't come from a traditional nuclear family.
What's the story?
JONNY QUEST (also known as The Adventures of Jonny Quest), follows 11-year-old Jonny (voiced by Tim Matheson) as he accompanies his famous scientist father, Dr. Benton Quest (John Stephenson and Don Messick shared the role), on expeditions around the world. Also along for the ride are Jonny's adopted brother Hadji (Danny Bravo), family bodyguard Roger "Race" Bannon (Mike Road), and pet bulldog Bandit (Messick).
Is it any good?
Overall, this classic series provides lots of vintage humor and a surprisingly contemporary take on family life, given the Quests' atypical (for the '60s, anyway) family unit. But keep an eye out for futuristic weapons and glamorized violence (fights among villains sometimes include robots and scary mummies), as well as some awfully dated stereotyping.
Many of the show's foreign characters are one-dimensional; you may want to explain to kids that the concept of political correctness didn't exist back in Jonny's day, and tell them why labels and clichés aren't OK. On the plus side, the serial- and comic book-inspired Jonny Quest is filled with exciting adventures, and it succeeds in sending the message that "family" can take many forms.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the meaning of family. What does it mean to be a part of a family? Do you have to be related to someone for them be part of your family? Who makes up Jonny's family? How is his family similar to yours? How is it different?
Families can also discuss how the show stereotypes its foreign characters. Why is the way they're portrayed no longer acceptable? How do these kinds of labels and assumptions get started, anyway?