Johnny Bravo was one of my absolute favorite cartoons when I was growing up. Cartoon Network could do no wrong in my eyes as they adapted cartoon after cartoon from their What a Cartoon Show to be given full season runs. Although Bravo was far from the most popular, that designation belongs to Dexter’s Laboratory or the worldwide sensation that was The Powerpuff Girls, he stuck out in my mind simply because of his stupidity and his Elvis-driven voice. It’s an extreme parody to be sure, but growing up I would watch that channel for hours on end (for better or worse) and Bravo is always a cartoon I would plead to stay up late to watch. Needless to say revisiting the series and characters thirteen years after it first debuted was a bit of a trip.
Join Johnny Bravo, the dim-witted, girl-chasing, muscle-flexing, sunglasses-wearing, clown-hating, mama-loving pretty boy as he karate-chops his way through 13 Outrageous Episodes of action-packed antics that’ll rock your world! Hilarious pop-culture references including spoofs of Schoolhouse Rock, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book and Dr. Seuss serve up gut-busting laughs. Guest appearances from Scooby-Doo and the Mystery, Inc. gang along with celebrities like Farrah Fawcett, Adam West and Donny Osmond boost this 2-Disc Complete Season One Collection to hubba-hubba status. Play it cool, like Johnny would, and play this heaping helping of pure Bravo!
Like a lot of the early Cartoon Network produced series, I was surprised by how edgy this series was. Obviously I didn’t realize it as a kid but watching it again as an adult I see just how universally appealing this show truly was. I also didn’t realize how much I missed watching animation general; I’d fallen out of the loop in recent years just due to school and whatnot, so I haven’t kept up with anything that Cartoon Network has been doing lately. But when I heard that Johnny Bravo was coming to DVD finally (especially since it’d been getting overseas releases for awhile now), I won’t deny that I wasn’t mildly excited by the prospect of seeing the series again.
I have to say it definitely holds up. While I didn’t remember all of these episodes and each of the three self-contained storylines, I do recall the majority of them; even if I forgot how one ended up I still remembered bits and pieces of them. I also was quite surprised not only by the range of stories told here (especially the “The Zone Where Normal Things Don’t Happen Very Often” bits) but also the sheer absurdity and stupidity that Bravo’s character exhibited. He spouted various catch phrases over the course of the series which, when combined with his absolutely moronic tendencies, likened him closer to Homer Simpson more than any other cartoon character out there.
It’s with great pleasure I can say there isn’t a bad apple in this entire bunch and I hope that Warner continues to push the rest of the series out on DVD. While the show changed character attributes (both in terms of attitude as well as visual appearance) later on in the series, a change I really didn’t enjoy as a kid (in fact I disliked it so much I refused to watch them based solely on the appearance of Suzy alone…they really screwed that one up), these early seasons are really quite possibly as close to perfect as the series ever became. It’s odd—while live action series have rough first seasons that eventually blossom into stronger ones later on, cartoons seem to have the opposite effect as their creators blow all of their most creative and original ideas within the first few seasons and coast the rest of the way.
In any case this first season comes Highly Recommended regardless of your age. As the ridiculously long title (Cartoon Network Hall of Fame: Johnny Bravo: Season One) to this DVD release states, Bravo is a true Hall of Fame member when it comes to Cartoon Network’s legacy and this first season set really does him justice.
Warner releases the set in a two-disc amaray case with an embossed foil slipcover. It’s a very well done package and I hope they stick with it for future releases (assuming we get them and we just don’t end up with a complete collection ala Powerpuff Girls). Video is nice and tidy looking, especially considering the cartoons age. It’s certainly leagues better than the shady TV signal I got on my 13” TV in my room when I was a kid. Audio is a DD2.0 audio mix and sounds clean and clear throughout, presenting not only the voice actors of the series with excellent clarity but also the guest stars like Adam West and Farah Fawcett.
Extras are…well, would you look at that! It’s a pretty decent crop:
Bringing Up Bravo – Series documentary that will allow viewers to explore the beginnings, middles, endings, and everything in between of Johnny Bravo
Audio Commentary – With Van Partible, Jeff Bennett, and Seth MacFarlane
Johnny Bravo Original Pencil Tests – Introduced by Van Partible, featured are some of the original pencil tests used in the production process
Seth MacFarlane Audio Track – Listen to Seth MacFarlane lay down an entire temp track on his own, well before he would become known for his hit show Family Guy
The documentary is a very nice touch and the commentaries (of which there are three) are just the icing on the top. We also get to see how much involvement that Seth MacFarlane had on the series, as I really wasn’t aware that he had so much to do with it. My only concern with these extras being as plentiful as they are (for a Cartoon Network release, at least) is that we’ll end up with a Samurai Jack situation where they become fewer and fewer and also of less quality as time goes on. Still, as is, it’s a solid collection and one I Highly Recommend for fans of the show.
Cartoon Network Hall of Fame: Johnny Bravo: Season One arrives on DVD on June 15th.