Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Jonny Quest

The last few years have been about moving forward - new projects, new games, new players... and looking back - Star Trek, Thundarr the Barbarian, Dungeons & Dragons, old 80's favorites like Big Trouble in Little China and Flash Gordon, The Twilight Zone, The Smurfs, Scooby Doo, Land of the Lost, and now Jonny Quest.

I just finished the original series (only one season long) this morning.  Sure, the nostalgia made it that much better, but even if I'd never watched it as a kid - Jonny Quest is a great cartoon - especially for gamers.  I can see it fueling any kind of action, adventure, pulp, espionage, spy, secret agent, lost world, or investigative RPG (even horror!).  Every episode has something to recommend it.

Before I get to my bullet points of favorite stuff, I would be remiss for not mentioning the show's sub-textural xenophobia.  One might go as far to call it "racist", except there are instances of Caucasian evil-doers as well (though they are decidedly in the minority).  At least one line was removed from an episode for going too far.

A few of my favorite things about Jonny Quest

  • Cool gadgets.  The series has a pseudo-sci-fi thing going on with weaponry and technological advancements in communication, transport, chemistry, and more.
  • They make a great team, like a party of professional adventurers.
  • Race Bannon is a certified badass - he even has a mercenary, femme fatal hook-up out there in the world, occasionally looking out for him.  Her name is Jade.
  • The bad guys are generally sinister, warped, and insane.
  • There's a James Bond and Sherlock Holmes type of super-villain who's behind several of the schemes... Doctor Zin.
  • The visual aesthetics of the show are dark, shadowy, and more realistic than later Hanna-Barbera shows like Scooby Doo.
  • NPCs die.  If there's a prolonged shoot-out, someone's going to get killed eventually. 
  • Lots of creatures - sometimes we get poisonous snakes, but other times we're treated to a giant spider, Yeti, and pterodactyl!
  • There are lighthearted, fun moments (usually with their dog, Bandit), but the show never devolves into slapstick.  The writers take the serious parts of the show seriously.
  • Exotic locations - jungles, deserts, mountains, the ocean, ice and snow, etc.  

Well, I could go on and on and on, so I'll just stop there.  If you're running a Hollow Earth Expedition, Call of Cthulhu, or Savage Worlds game, Jonny Quest could be your inspiration!


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