If you love Scooby-Doo, that goofy, courageous hound with the super-sized appetite and the super-sized smile, then you share something special with most of the seven billion other people on this planet.
And if your enduring love for Shaggy's "ol' buddy ol' pal" has made you hesitate to watch Warner Bros. Animations' latest revamp of the world's favorite cartoon dog, I understand. The live action movies have been unwatchable. I've heard people say they'd prefer a root canal to another live action Scooby-Doo film. But in the hands of series creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, the brand-new animated Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is wonderful.
Imagine those meddling kids are still in high school. They're already the best of friends, going everywhere together in Fred's brand-new Mystery Machine. They look just the same. Their lines are more precise, and Velma has more expressive eyes behind those glasses, but otherwise all odious "updating" was thankfully avoided. In fact, the unique and idiosyncratic clothing choices of these kids, like Shaggy's baggy bell-bottoms and Fred's ascot, provide fodder to running gags.
In nearly every way, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated preserves everything that was good about the original series (1969-1972) while adding depth and dimension to the characters, and mysteries within mysteries for a smarter audience.
There are so many things to love about this reboot. I love the constant punning, like when a teen-aged girl is accused of being crabby just before being attacked by a giant crab, while all along the show is poking gentle fun at teen obsessions with looks and fads. (The gang, of course, is oblivious to looks and fads, part of the fodder for many jokes about high school society.) At the same time, the show offers genuinely compassionate portrayals of the insecurities involved in growing up, and the courage with which these kids face them, along with the loyalty they show each other.
The major innovations of the show provide each episode with a new level of complexity in story-telling and humor. Velma and Shaggy are a couple, but keep their feelings hidden because Shaggy doesn't know how to tell Scooby. Impatient Velma, nervous Shaggy, and confused Scooby combine to make a really funny, and true-to-young life love triangle.
Daphne has just about the biggest crush ever on completely clueless Fred. Fred really has only one true love: his traps. Fred is absolutely fascinated by traps and builds utterly inefficient traps with Rube Goldbergian complexity that still somehow work – even if they don't always catch the bad guy. I loved seeing Fred at the bikini volleyball tournament, swooning over the nets and dreaming about their tensile strengths while Daphne sat next to him, wondering how she could ever compete. Meanwhile, Daphne is a born sleuth, brave and smart. She works alone with superior instincts for danger and for clues.
There is more action in this series than in the original, and the action scenes are wonderfully choreographed. There are far more characters than in the original, thanks to a hilarious supporting cast. The kids all live in Crystal Cove, "The Most Haunted Place on Earth," a town which makes its money on tourists interested in a little supernatural chill. As a result, the gang's interest in solving mysteries is rarely welcomed by the Sheriff, Fred's father the Mayor, and Velma's parents, curators of the town's museum of spooky artifacts. There are far more settings and a much richer palette than in the original, and I particularly love the show's use of potent color contrasts to accentuate the interplay of dark and light.
Here's one thing that hasn't changed a bit: the creatures are still people in costume. They are still motivated by less-than-noble impulses, like greed, power, and revenge. In short, there is nothing supernatural here! The show has the ability to teach the scientific method: observe, hypothesize, test, discuss. It's great to have the inquisitiveness and empiricism of the original series back.
In addition, the kids hang out at K-Ghoul, the town's radio station, with a hip disco-era throwback named Angel. Angel helps with research, and has a hidden agenda. Meanwhile, the mysterious "Mr. E." (say that out loud really fast) sends them clues and hints about a larger mystery, a mystery embedded within the mysteries the kids solve each episode.
I love hearing Velma say "Jinkies!" and Shaggy exclaim "Zoinks!" The only thing I really don't like about the show is the soundtrack. It sounds really canned. The theme song, if you can call it that, falls sadly short of the original song, one that parents, kids, and even grandparents still sing together. And the music during the individual episodes hints around at the old horror-style weird organ music, but it just doesn't work. This is the same problem the old series also failed to solve, and that reached its nadir in What's New, Scooby Doo?
But what a tiny flaw in a show that is otherwise an absolute delight from beginning to end. It's truly all-ages. It teaches awesome values about friendship, loyalty, and understanding. It truly believes that these things are more important than money. It shows how clear thinking and courage are enough to reveal the non-scary thing lurking behind your deepest fears. It shows that by working together, you can overcome any obstacle. It proves that supernatural phenomena have natural causes. It demonstrates that you don't have to be the victim of people who would exploit your fears for their personal gain. It hits all the right notes at a critical moment in American culture. I love this show!
Set your DVR! Cartoon Network will rebroadcast the first eight episodes on Saturday, September 4. Here's your chance to experience one of the best series reboots you'll ever have the pleasure to watch.
Rating: 10 /10
Last Updated: Jan 1, 2015 - 15:08 Join the discussion:
Comment ScriptJoin the discussion:
I've always just been a casual scooby doo fan. It was never on the top of my list of fandom. But I just caught up to the first 8 eps of mystery Inc and I am in love with it! It's like the writers are giving me everything I've ever wanted to see from the scooby gang without knowing me knowing I've always wanted to see it in the first place. The entire production is top notch and I am grateful to the creators for adding such an awesome chapter to the franchise. I hope it's on the air fir many seasons.
This series will NEVER live up to the original Scooby shows. This show is by far the worst of them all, and is very inappropriate for younger viewers. I hope the show doesn't last too long or I fear it may lose some of it's biggest fans.
I;ve gotta say. the show rules. even the soundtrack. except maybe during chase scenes.. ok. I see Brittany's point too about there being some really outragious jokes. (like hints at daphnes disturbingly disfunctional mom),but they are hilarious to the older crowd and go right over the wee ones heads. Kids are retarded, fact. but they still love this show. Oh man. I love this show.
I really, really love this show.
At first, I was a bit taken aback by the new animation style and by Velma's abrasive and different attitude. But I quickly got over that-- this is really an entertaining, exciting, and funny new twist on Scooby-Doo!
I think this show is great. And I'm excited for more episodes on May 3!!!
...You're dead wrong about the theme song, both opening and closing. It's done in an excellent way by Matthew Sweet. Otherwise. excellent review of an excellent show. Second-best Scooby ever, and that's only because the first one was the original one.
I started watching this show only because I'm a mega Scooby fan. I found the plot somewhat annoying at first, but as it picked up it's "second season" [actually just a few unaired episodes from the first season] and they got deeper into the Mystery of the kids who vanished from CC twenty years ago, I got more into it. The animation is something I'll never get over. I've followed this series since I was a child and I'm used to the animation from the 70's, not this... oddly proportioned geeky animation. Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma's love triangle is quite funny, despite the fact that I never pegged Vels and Shags together.
The issue I find, however, that plays on the back of my mind constantly is after they discover what happened to the kids twenty years ago, what else can they do with that "lead"? I have a feeling that this series will be ending quite soon- my only hope is that Warner Brothers will have a new series for Scooby and fast.
I'm a huge fan of the Scooby Doo gang and it's a pleasure to see them back to their roots. They are a group of friends rather than the globe trotting adventurers they were in What's New Scooby Doo. I also feel the dark and spooky atmosphere is more true to the original Where Are You series. The monsters and mysteries are supposed to be scary. The thing that makes it a comedy is the loveble clumsy dog. I also feel the the opening song could have been better. This is the first series to have an opening song with no lyrics. Even What's new Scooby Doo had a catchy tune. The last few episodes of season one got a little too soap operaish, but it still follows the basic formula. Scooby Doo done good.