The new Velma show recently came out on HBO Max, and the internet had opinions. Long story short, the show suck, everyone hates it for a variety of reasons, and the show got a little bump on its premiere that it has quickly lost due to, again, the abysmal quality of the actual writing, dialogue, plot, characterization, and pretty much every element except for the animation and music. Yeah, the show is utterly terrible with seemingly no real appeal to any audience.
You would think it would have been a no brainer. A different take on the beloved property that added depth and dimension to the core characters, gave more life to the hometown, had clever, humor that ranged from meta to intellectual to a bit darker macabre, done with a decent budget that allowed for quality animation, a good cast, and a decent writers room: it should have been a sure fire hit. Well, the thing is, it’s already been done about a decade ago with Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated tells the story of the gang already doing their mystery solving thing. It bypasses the origin story of the group coming together, and instead focuses on some great mystery at the heart of their hometown that goes back through the ages and has even impacted the very lives of our meddling kids and the cast of oddball characters of Crystal Cove. This iteration makes a literal mythos of the mystery solving squad making them part of a long, prophetic line of heroes and saviors.
There is also an obvious love for not only the Scooby Doo cartoon and history, but the entire genre of animated crime solving teams throughout the decades. There is one particular meta episode that is just pitch perfect and fully demonstrates the talents of the animators, writers, and whole production crew while being funny in and out of context. Beyond being a bit navel gazing (in a positive way), the series shows an appreciation and love for other popular programs, actors, and genres, the Horror genre taking on particular significance and strength in the allusion and references made. More impressive, SDMI manages to do the impossible with this kind of series: create something new while showing love and appreciation to the original that is enjoyable and entertaining for both children and adults.
And above all else, this animated series feels and seems like it is made by people that genuinely love and care for these characters and stories unlike the more recent adaptation. So, in this new year, DON’T hate watch or give attention to media made to be divisive or shitty. Instead, give your eyes and time to media made with and from love and ones you enjoy.