There is a new Scooby Doo show out and maybe its just where I hang out, but what little buzz I have heard about it is negative. Still I thought I needed to give it a try so last night I caught up with the first 4 episodes and was surprised by it.
I grew up a huge Scooby Doo fan watching all the series and movies growing up. I half jokingly like to claim Ghoul School made me a trans woman (don’t let your kids watch Ghoul School). I got tired of some of the newer series which seemed dumbed down but could have just been I was older,and almost missed out on Mystery Incorporated. Perhaps the greatest Scooby Doo series of them all with its humor, interesting overarching plot, and Velma having a girlfriend (Which seemed more explicit then Korrasami but didn’t get confirmed by creators). So my view is a bit tinted by being a fan but I am not generally one to love just anything the series produces
Be Cool, Scooby Doo is a return to the familiar more formulaic plot of old. Some sort of mystery pops up and the gang solves it.
The biggest criticism I have heard of the show is the art style which has been described as looking like a Family Guy parody. I went back and looked at the Family Guy parody art and it looked a lot different but I can see where people are coming from. At least this series doesn’t have the worst part of what a Family Guy parody would entail, Seth McFarland. The art may be jarring at first but I found it quickly forgotten as the episodes go on. It is a more comedic oriented art style I think which fits the show.
The show is a bit more light hearted and humorous then previous series which have always been silly. Musical chase montages are back along with absurd along with the wacky hijinks that always ensued during them. The series embraces the absurd, and things can happen during the episode that fall under Rule of Comedy more then Rule of Logic. Like getting stuck in a vending machine.
I think they have a good blend of humor that can be smart at times and appeal to both kids and adults and I have always thought the best cartoon series were ones that didn’t condescend down to kids and could appeal to anyone and that Be Cool Scooby Doo managed that.
One of the greatest things about Mystery Incorporated was its plot and continuity and unfortunately it doesn’t look like Be Cool, Scooby Doo is going to go that route. It will be like the original where each is a pretty self contained episode about a mystery. Though episode 3 did had a call back to Fred’s crippling fear of widths from the first episode so that gives me some hope they won’t be completely changeable to whatever the plot and joke demands.
The gang is all back and for the most part is the same. As its a funnier take the gang gets flanderized a bit into their roles in the group but I don’t think much more so then in every other series. Shaggy and Scooby are still cowardly big eaters, Velma is still the nerd, Fred is the leader and obsessed with his Mystery Machine (which now can do whatever the plot demands with its technology). The biggest change though is Daphne.
Daphne has always been the weakest for characterization out of the group I think. Really the two things most people could tell you about her is she is always the damsel in distress and she is rich (that last may vary some with each series). Be Cool Scooby Doo gives us Cloud cuckoolander Daphne. Each episode has given us her doing something weird. The first episode gave us her obsession with hand puppets, which also gave us the most tragic scene in a Scooby series to date. The second she narrated the entire episode. The third she was toned down except a running gag she and dolphins apparently had some issue with each other as we kept seeing dolphins giving her a death glare.
(Can’t really blame Daphne for that Fred when you didn’t use the parking brake on a steep hill)
The fourth episode she wasn’t weird she had the perfectly reasonable desire to have a beard. Daphne beard may have been my favorite thing in a Scooby Doo series ever. Screw the gender norms Daphne!
Another minor change is apparently Velma occasionally likes to spout slang? I thought it odd but kind of endearing and it worked the two times it happened.
For the most part the cast is voiced by all the usuals. Frank Welker, Grey Delisle, and Matthew Lillard return. Velma has a new voice actress in the form of Kate Micucci who is possibly best known from Garfunkel and Oats. Apparently some people don’t like her Velma but I think she was born to be Velma and works perfectly.
Okay the weakest part of the show so far has been the mysteries. The first two episodes there were only 3 other characters besides the Scooby Gang so it wasn’t too difficult to figure out who the masked person is. Episode 3 gave us more characters but it was still pretty simple. I think the 4th episode had the best mystery so far with. Since this is a more humor based series I am not really expecting the greatest mysteries really.
They have been making callbacks to the original Scooby Doo, Where Are You? series with their villain. The ghost of Elias Kingston and Captain Cutler make their appearance though the circumstances surrounding them change.
Should You Give It a Try?
Yes, yes you should. This may be one of my favorite comedies on TV bar none. Perhaps the humor won’t be for everyone but you should definitely give it a shot before you pass it by, whether you are a long time Scooby fan or just someone wanting something funny to watch. Plus the beard! The beaaarrd!
Now if they would only bring back Red Herring.