Johnny Test is an animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Coliseum Entertainment, for the first and second seasons (as Warner Bros.' trademarks current owns the rights on the credits in 6 seasons), and Cookie Jar, for the remainder of the series. It premiered on Kids' WB, on September 17, 2005, which continued to air the series through its second and third seasons. The rest of the series aired on Cartoon Network, from its debut on January 7, 2008, in the United States and internationally. In Canada, the series aired on Teletoon, premiering September 8, 2006.
The series revolves around the adventures of the title character, Johnny Test, an 11-year-old suburban boy who lives with his best friend who is a talking dog named Dukey, and his super-genius 13-year-old twin sisters, Susan and Mary, both of whom are scientists. They reside in the fictional town of Porkbelly. Johnny is often used as a test subject for his genius twin sisters' inventions and experiments, which range from gadgets to superpowers. Their experiments often cause problems that he must resolve and he must sometimes fight villains in the process. He occasionally saves the world with his sisters' inventions.
On June 25, 2015, voice actor James Arnold Taylor stated that he was unaware of any plans for a seventh season.
Origin and development
On February 16, 2005, Kids' WB's unveiling of its new Fall schedule for the 2005–2006 television season was announced by The WB Television Network, featuring its returning series Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, The Batman, and Xiaolin Showdown, with the inclusion of four new series introduced and to be added to its weekly fall lineup. Among the former three shows, Loonatics Unleashed, Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, and Transformers: Cybertron, was none other than Johnny Test. The aforementioned schedule was announced by The WB/Kids' WB Entertainment President David Janollari, Kids' WB Senior Vice President and General Manager Betsy McGowen, speaking to advertisers and the media press during the Kids' WB upfront sales presentation in New York. Johnny Test was created and executively produced by Scott Fellows, the creator of the three Nickelodeon live-action series Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Big Time Rush, and 100 Things to Do Before High School, and the head writer for The Fairly OddParents and ChalkZone. The show premiered on September 17, 2005, on Kids' WB's Saturday morning lineup of its weekly fall schedule, alongside Loonatics Unleashed and Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island. The episode pair, "Johnny to the Center of the Earth" and "Johnny X", marked the series premiere.
When the show first progressed on its original first-run on Kids' WB (season 1 only), it captured top posts for second straight week in total and was very well received in the Nielsen ratings. It ranked as the #1 broadcast program in Girl 2-11 (garnering 2.2/10), and ranked as the #2 broadcast series in Kids 2-11 (gaining 2.3/11 in the process) and Girls 6-11 (2.4/11), and ultimately ranking #3 in Kids 6-11 (receiving 3.0/14). Its second season received a slightly more number of viewers in average in the United States: 2.6 million viewers per 2nd-season episode. Its 3rd season's average number of viewers in the United States was 3.1 million viewers. Its 4th season got an average number of viewers of about 4.3 million viewers per episode in the United States. Its 5th premiere attracted over 4.7 million viewers in the United States.
The series was developed for television by Aaron Simpson, with a brief, slightly longer pre-existing pilot short produced by Simpson as well, before the show was picked up as a full series by Kids' WB. Based on Episode 1A "Johnny to the Center of the Earth", the pilot episode was animated roughly in Adobe Flash, but retaining the same plot, and used the same, similar color schemes as the aforementioned episode, and was recorded with an American voice cast (retaining James Arnold Taylor, as the voice of Johnny Test) instead. The original production design (including character designs, prop designs and background designs) was created, provided and contributed by Matt Danner and Marc Perry, and then later worked upon by producer Chris Savino and art director Paul Stec. Fellows, the creator of the series who had interested the network to the series' premise, based the titular character on himself when he was a young boy, with Johnny's twin sisters, Susan and Mary, being based on his own two sisters, also named Susan and Mary. In the original pilot and early promotional material of the show, Dukey was referred to as "Poochie".
James Arnold Taylor said that he was not Fellows' original choice for the role of Johnny Test, he had previously voiced the lead character in the initial test pilot. After the show got picked up by Kids' WB! as a series, he was initially going to be replaced by a different voice actor, with a Canadian voice cast instead, but the studio had trouble finding Johnny's initial voice convincing for the first six episodes, so they gave Taylor back the role to redub his dialog for the rest of the first season, and managed to keep him on the cast for the rest of the series. Aaron Simpson, who had developed the series and produced the pilot, was the creator and executive producer's first choice to serve as the producer of the show, before he turned it down.
The remainder of the first and second seasons were produced in-house by Warner Bros. Animation and Coliseum Entertainment, but since this show was a utilized U.S./Canada co-production, some of the animation production service work was outsourced to Canadian animation studios Studio B Productions and Top Draw Animation, and as well as South Korean animation production company Digital eMation, which also provided the original main title animation opening, storyboarding of some of the episodes was done by Atomic Cartoons.
Nearly much of the original writers, storyboarders, and art crew of the series' first production season was recycled of mostly and notably that of familiar Cartoon Network Studios and Nickelodeon Animation Studio alumni, as well as some from WB Animation, Walt Disney Television Animation and DIC Entertainment, and even the comic book industry, including Chris Savino, Marc Perry, Paul Stec, Matt Danner, Joe Horne, Mike Kazaleh, Brian Larsen, Jun Falkenstein, Scott Shaw!, Nora Johnson, Milton Knight, Ray Leong, Chris Battle, Casey Mitchum, Pat Ventura, John Derevlany, J.C. Cheng, Aliki Theofilopoulos, George Cox III, Frederick J. Gardner III, Allan Penny, Justin Schultz, Christopher D. Lozinski, Dane Taylor and Rita Cooper. The original version of the show's theme song and all of its underscores were both written, composed and conducted by Kevin Manthei, with creator Scott Fellows having written and provided the lyrics to the theme song. Voice recording was provided by Voicebox Productions, Inc., with voice direction by Terry Klassen.
The merger of UPN and The WB into The CW Television Network had resulted in many budget cuts for the show, leading to the show being put on hiatus. Cookie Jar Entertainment, another Canada-based entertainment company, decided to take control of the series' production. Due to this change, the writers, storyboarders, and art crew who worked on the first season were let go, resulting in an entirely new crew managing the show. In addition, the budget of the show dropped dramatically, leading seasons two and three of the show being animated in Adobe Flash by Collideascope Digital Productions. The show's opening theme was later changed for the second season, later for the third season and once again for the entire latter remainder of the series, with the opening being made of recycled episode footage. On March 1, 2008, the episode pair, "Johnny X: A New Beginning" and "Johnny X: The Final Ending", aired. It was originally intended as the series finale; however, James Arnold Taylor had stated that it was renewed for a fourth season.
The fourth season was animated at Atomic Cartoons with animation assistance from Seventoon Inc. and Philippine Animators Group Inc., which are both located in the Philippines. It finally premiered in high-definition on Teletoon on September 10, 2009, and on Cartoon Network in the U.S. on November 9, 2009. Later, on August 24, 2010, it was announced that Johnny Test was renewed for a fifth season. Like the fourth season before it, it would be a full set of 26 episodes with a 27th episode added to the end; the renewal brought the series total to 92 episodes. The fifth season premiered on Cartoon Network in America on June 13, 2011, along with a new theme sequence with the same song used from seasons 2–4. Starting with the fifth season, Trevor Devall would become the new voice of Dukey, due to Louis Chirillo leaving the series. Similarly, Ashleigh Ball retired as the voice of Mary, Sissy and Missy at the end of the 4th season, due to her work on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic; as a result, she was replaced by Brittney Wilson, Mary's original voice.
On March 12, 2012, it was announced that the show was renewed for a sixth season. Like the fourth and fifth season before it, it would again be a full set of 26 episodes; the renewal brought the series total to 117 episodes. Ashleigh Ball also returned for the roles in this season. The sixth season premiered on Cartoon Network in America on April 23, 2013. With this season, the show reached its 100th episode (and 200th segment), making it one of Teletoon's longest-running original series (Total Drama has produced 118 episodes and two specials, while Totally Spies! was co-produced for its first five seasons and 130 episodes).
The show was reportedly renewed for a seventh season, on June 11, 2013, which would have consisted of 13 episodes and a three-part special. However, on June 25, 2015, James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Johnny Test, stated that he was unaware of any plans for season seven.
Johnny is part of the Test family, which consists of his 13-year-old genius twin sisters, Susan and Mary, and his over-the-top parents, his mother Lila, who is a full-blown workaholic businesswoman and his father Hugh, who is an obsessive-compulsive househusband whose two biggest obsessions are cleaning and cooking meatloaf. The Test Twins frequently use Johnny as a guinea pig for their various experiments and inventions in their laboratory filled with highly advanced technology built in over the Tests' household attic, with most of which they try to impress their pretty boy next-door neighbor, Gil, for whom both harbor a deep love and obsession, although their attempts to come up with some way to attract his attention usually end in failure.
Johnny is a troublesome and mischievous boy who causes problems in the family and often within the city. He is best friends with his anthropomorphic talking pet dog, Dukey, who Susan and Mary gave human-level intelligence and the ability to speak in an experiment. Because Johnny has Susan, Mary and Dukey by his side, he can live any kid's dream, only to find that most dreams never turn out as hoped. He is very hyperactive and often messes with his sisters' inventions, causing trouble and mayhem, but just as often proves himself to be clever such as by frequently tricking his genius sisters or saving the day from whatever danger happens to show up. Johnny is also stubborn and a bit spoiled, as he gets what he wants through deceit, blackmail, or manipulation. However, he does have a sense of justice and always learns from his mistakes. He also feels remorse for any of his actions that may have hurt peoples' feelings. Johnny cares deeply for his family and has said on more than one occasion that he loves them. Johnny, like most kids does not like school; if anything, he goes to great lengths to avoid doing work, often using his sisters' inventions to do so and often putting himself and/or others in trouble as a result.
Though Susan and Mary generally refuse to help Johnny in his antics, they generally end up doing so anyway due to Johnny blackmailing or manipulating them, or in exchange for Johnny allowing them to use him as their aforementioned lab rat. Their sibling relationship is complicated as Johnny does risk his life to save his sisters if they are in danger. Yet they often have typical sibling arguments that sometimes grow into full on battles.
Dukey sometimes dresses as a human being when going out in public, usually in a shirt marked 'NOT A DOG', and he is addressed by others as Johnny's "hairy friend" or "the kid with the rare hair disorder" because the minor characters' lack of intellect causes them to believe that Dukey is a human. In later episodes, when Dukey is not dressed like a human and someone hears Dukey say something, they will ask "Did that dog just talk?", to which Johnny quickly replies, "No, you're just hallucinating."
One of Johnny's main nemeses is Eugene "Bling-Bling Boy" Hamilton, a fellow arch-rival of the Test sisters and frienemy of Johnny and Dukey, who acts as one of the recurring evil forces at work. He has a big crush on Susan, who does not reciprocate his feelings and generally shows no interest in him. Since season 3, Johnny has also gained a second major rival, Dark Vegan, a space warlord from the planet Vegandon, of which he is leader. Sissy Blakely is a tomboy who often serves as Johnny's rival/friend, as the two are believed to have crushes on each other, but each would instantly deny it, and they also constantly compete against each other. Sissy also has a pink laberdoodle named Missy, who is also Dukey's rival and crush. Bumper is the school bully who constantly picks on Johnny. Meanwhile, the General from the army base Area 51.1 and Mr. Black and Mr. White who are two Federal agents from the Super Secret Government Agency (SSGA) sometimes help, distract, and/or annoy the Tests on various occasions. The General and the Agents are shown to be close friends with the kids and often get them out of trouble or recruit them for an assignment. Susan also revealed to Johnny that the entire agency can be summoned by saying the secret password; "for the love of fiddlesticks!"
The backstory given to the Johnny Test character was that it was his 11th birthday, and for the ultimate birthday gift, for a while, Johnny wanted a dog as his present, so he chose a mixed-breed dog, who was once the "smelliest, mangiest and friendliest mutt" that he could find at the dog pound, and named him Dukey. But Susan and Mary, since they hated stupid smelly dogs, decided to genetically alter him so that he will have human-like abilities. Meanwhile, Johnny's enemy, Bling-Bling Boy, had once attended the same exclusive school (The Porkbelly Mega Institute of Technology) that his sisters do, but he got expelled after an "unfortunate incident" that resulted in their teacher, Professor Slopsink, receiving a metal claw for a hand.
- Main article: Johnny Test episode list
Cookie Jar had partnered with restaurant chain CKE Restaurants to offer a promotional Johnny Test toy campaign at its Carl's Jr. and Hardees restaurants in the U.S. and Mexico, one of the four custom-designed premiums with the purchase of their Cool Kids Combo meals; The campaign ran from June 28, 2010, through until August 24, 2010, with Carl's Jr. also having subsequently presented a Johnny Test soccer-themed promotion in Mexico, which lasted June 7 – July 25, 2010, to coincide with the country's World Cup activities. Philippines-based fried chicken chain Jollibee advertised a similar toy campaign in their Kids' Meals as well, in form of their Amazing Adventure Chasers mini-toyline. In 2014, DHX Media signed a master toy license with Imports Dragon.
Johnny Test first premiered in the United States on September 17, 2005 on The WB's Saturday morning block, Kids' WB. One year later, it aired on Teletoon, debuting in Canada on September 8, 2006. During the second season, The WB and UPN merged into The CW, which aired the second and third seasons; the latter season premiered on September 22, 2007, and concluded on March 1, 2008. On January 7, 2008, the show debuted on Cartoon Network, which aired the remainder of the series.
The series has five DVDs released by NCircle Entertainment. Johnny Test: Johnny & Dukey and Johnny vs. Bling Bling Boy were released on December 23, 2008. Johnny X and Super Pooch was released on August 11, 2009, Extreme Johnny was released on December 1, 2009, and Game Time was released on May 4, 2010.
On February 21, 2008, Liberation Entertainment released the complete first season on DVD in the UK, but as of 2012, no more seasons have been released in Region 2 format.
On January 4, 2011, it was announced that Mill Creek Entertainment had acquired the rights to the series, under license from DHX Media and all characters from the original series had to be remained because Warner Bros. still owns the titles and rights to the names. They have subsequently released the first four seasons on DVD in Region 1. The fifth season was released on May 5, 2015. and the first five seasons (with all discs from the separate season sets) was released on September 1, 2015.
On January 21, 2010, another partnership was emerged between Cookie Jar Entertainment and the mobile application developer Jirbo that resulted in two Johnny Test video games produced by the developer and made available exclusively for download from iTunes, for free and for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The first game, Johnny Test: Clone Zapper, finds Johnny Test and Dukey engaged to combat an army of Johnny clones they accidentally created of them from a clone machine, with the help of two special laser zapper guns as their only weapons to defeat the clones and destroy them personally, and the second game, Johnny Test: Bot Drop, sees Johnny, Dukey and the Test twins going on a rescue chase, with Johnny and Dukey both piloting a bot drop plane for use the robot clones of Johnnies (first seen in 101 Johnnies) for the titular "Bot Drops" to eject them to safety in a moving rescue vehicle driven by Susan and Mary. In the plot of that latter aforementioned game, and like in each level of the game before it, Johnny has to aim and time to drop the robots so they will land safely onto the vehicle, then Johnny Test has saved the day once again. Both games are typical shoot-slinging and side-scrolling games that in all utilize the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad's unique multi-touch capabilities and scrolling, and, as a whole, players of both games can compete on the worldwide high scores list of each level of game and competitive player. Later in the Spring of 2011, the series was finally really officially licensed by Cookie Jar for a new third, and fully console-handled, video game, this time, however, to come out on Nintendo DS; a sneak preview and trailer of the game has been already included on the complete first and second seasons DVD set (as aforementioned above), and was released in March 29, 2011.
Comic books and graphic novels
Viper Comics announced in April 2011 that they would be publishing a Johnny Test graphic novel along with another Cookie Jar Group property, Inspector Gadget. The book was subsequently published with the title Johnny Test: The Once and Future Johnny.
The Granby Zoo in Granby, Quebec also has an amusement park called "Parc Johnny Test Collection".
Joly Herman of Common Sense Media had written and posted a review of Johnny Test on Go.com, at the time of the show's original debut on Kids' WB. In the review, Herman indicated that the series "is an age-appropriate choice for kids" and was "surprisingly inventive and not as violent as other cartoons in this genre.", before finally explaining "The only thing worth mentioning: All the experiments Johnny undergoes are unattended by adults, which allows all types of zany plots to unfold." Herman gave the show three stars out of five.
Awards and nominations
In 2006, the first season of the series was nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation at the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards and a Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing in Television Animation (for the episode pair, Deep Sea Johnny and Johnny and the Amazing Turbo Action Backpack) at Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA. In 2007, the second season of the show won a Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Children's or Youth Program or Series (for the episode pair, Saturday Night's Alright for Johnny and Johnny's Mint Chip) and in 2008, the third season was nominated for another Gemini Award, this time for Best Original Music Score for an Animated Program or Series (for the episode pair, Johnny vs. Bling-Bling 3 and Stinkin' Johnny); finally, in 2010, the show, in its fourth season, was nominated once more for yet another Gemini Award, this time wholly for Best Animated Program or Series (for the episode pair, Johnny Cakes and Johnny Tube) and had been awarded a Grand Prize for Best Program - All Categories at the Alliance for Children and Television's 2009 Gala award ceremony, which ultimately marks the series' owner, Cookie Jar's first ACT award.
- Johnny Test at DHX Media
- Johnny Test official website
- Johnny Test at CartoonNetwork.com
- Johnny Test at Teletoon
- Johnny Test at the Internet Movie Database