When I started last year's year-in-review post by saying "it's been an unexpectedly light year" for Scooby, I had no idea what we'd be going into this year lol. After a huge renaissance of Scooby content since Zombie Island, this year was arguably one of the strangest years in the past few decades. Besides the normal comics, picture books and assorted merchandise, the only official Scooby content we got was Velma, which was hated by most of the fandom, and Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too!, which was shockingly leaked online in full six months before its release.
Because I usually rank the top 10 things from each year, I considered not even doing a post this year given there was only two things worth ranking. However, I really like the tradition of these year-in-review posts, so I decided to do one even though the ranking is going to be obvious. Unlike previous years, I'm not going to rank the comics, picture books or merch. I haven't kept up on the comics or read the picture books, and while some of the merch definitely looks cool, I don't really have a strong enough opinion on any of it to rank it.
I really wanted to like this series and I went into it with an open mind, but ultimately, the series ended up being the worst show in the franchise IMO. The core of my issues with the show were the poor character development, poor writing, and overfocus on social commentaries.
The characters were written in a way that was very unlikeable, especially Velma. She was written in a way that was very mean and self-centered, and treated those around her like garbage. I felt the last two episodes illustrated this best, as without ruining anything, there's a moment where Norville ends the friendship with Velma. Honestly, I was actually happy that Norville ended the friendship with Velma, because they'd made her such an unlikeable jerk that I felt Norville deserved a way better friend than her. There is another moment in the finale where she finally listens to all Norville's voicemails she had been ignoring for years, which the show tries to present as a sweet moment. By that point, her character had been assassinated so badly that her not behaving terribly for once was not at all compelling. Daphne was also very mean and self-centered throughout the whole show. I will admit that Fred grew on me over the course of the show, but more in a "so stupid it's funny" way (the scene with Fred running through a cave collapsing due to sound, shouting "help, help!" at the top of his lungs, stands out most when thinking of his character lol). Norville was the only likeable character in the bunch.
The show did an equally poor job with writing in general. Lots of corners were cut and several plot points were rushed, and the writers seemed weirdly fixated on forcing their social commentaries in, regardless of whether they actually fit into the plot or not. A great example of this was in "Fog Fest," where there was a great atmosphere for the gang to run into the murderer. Instead, the stuff with the murderer was pushed to the last four minutes of the episods, and the rest of the episode was for some reason made into a social commentary about Velma experiencing male privilege when she dresses up as a guy. The pacing of the overarching plot was really off, where they'd do episode-long social commentaries and then cram an important part of the overarching plot into the last few minutes of an episode.
Perhaps the worst part is that the social commentaries weren't even funny most of the time, and came off as one-liners some angry person would post on Twitter. At best, most of the social commentaries oversimplified characters into two-dimensional stereotypes, and at worst, they were painfully try-hard attempts to be edgy and shocking. By the end of the show, the edgy stuff didn't even really shock me anymore, because it quickly became clear the writers were just trying to troll and offend the audience. I found it obnoxious how hard the show was trying to cement their "edgy" image. I have no problem with them wanting to make the show edgy, but it goes to the old saying of "show, don't tell." If the writers wanted to make an edgy show full of social commentaries, it should have been better incorporated into the plot, instead of being so try-hard and forced in every other minute.
Season 2 is now in production and is supposedly coming out next year. I'm not even sure if I plan to watch, as I don't really want to give the show further attention. Honestly, I think a big part of the reason it got renewed is because it was getting so many hate-watches, so I'd rather not support it in hopes it doesn't get a season 3. It's possible I may check it out way down the line, which is unusual for me because I usually watch Scooby content the instant it comes out, but after how awful the first season was, I don't really have a strong desire to watch it right away.
1. Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too!
There was pretty much no competition this year to get the #1 spot, as there was no way I was ranking Velma any higher than last place lol. I really enjoyed this film! I'm not super into the DC fandom and haven't really watched any DC content other than the theatrical movies (although I still have to catch up and watch Blue Beetle), but I thought they did a great job of making this film appealing even to those without a lot of familiarity with the DC universe. I've talked in previous year-in-review posts that I'm ready for them to take a break from the crossovers, especially after most movies have been crossovers and we just finished a whole series of crossovers. However, I really liked how they switched it up with this film, where they had the gang go into the guest stars' universe, rather than vice versa like it usually is. I thought Krypto's friendship with Scooby was adorable, and he fit right in with the gang without overshadowing them. I also liked how they toned down the references a bit here. They felt a lot more subtle and not like we were being hit over the head with them. The villain was also a really interesting and creative idea, and I also thought the Hall of Justice was a great setting with an excellent atmosphere. This was overall a really good film and I'm so glad it wasn't scrapped like a lot of us were worried about. As an aside, I also think it was cool they put out so much merchandise for the film! I imagine it was probably to make up for the losses they were worried about from people seeing the leak, but it was cool to see so much merch and promotion for a Scooby film.
To conclude the year in review articles, I usually talk about what I'd like to see for the franchise moving forward. Of the two hopes for the franchise I mentioned in last year's article, we did get Krypto Too like I'd hoped. I also said I was hoping there wasn't too much backlash to Velma, but honestly, I think the backlash it got was justified given what a shoddy show it was lol.
This was such a weird year for Scooby content that I honestly have no idea what to expect next year. At this point, I'm just hoping we get a DTV. I don't think we'll get any other series besides Velma, since Mystery Pups was supposed to be the show for next year, and it was sadly cancelled by WB. We were also supposed to get another Scooby film, Haunted High Rise, either this year or next year, but this also suffered the same fate of Holiday Haunt and got written off by WB for taxes.
While we may not be getting another series next year, I have been thinking a lot recently about what I'd like to come next in the franchise. In thinking about this, my mind turns to an interview about Return to Zombie Island that a few regular commenters on the blog and I were discussing. In the interview, it was heavily implied that Return to Zombie Island was made with the intent of disowning the original Zombie Island. The reason given for this was essentially that it went against what the co-producer of the film believes to be the message of Scooby-Doo, which is that there's nothing to be afraid of, and monsters being people in masks symbolize that things aren't as scary as they may seem. I definitely think this is a cool takeaway from the franchise, but I don't believe it's all that the franchise is or ever can be. With how safe Guess Who and the recent DTVs have played it, I would really like to see something that is more experimental. By "experimental," I don't mean it has to be anything super risky like Get a Clue, but even something like What's New, which had an updated feel for the 21st century, or SDMI or Be Cool that honed in more on the tone and comedy would be fun. The writers have really seemed to hone in on trying to make the franchise exactly like the classic series, but their main way of executing this seems to be keeping the character development limited like it was in the 60s/70s, and in turn, they haven't really paid as much attention to the tone and atmosphere. All that said, I think my biggest wish for the franchise is that the next new series does something different and experiments with different elements of the franchise.
I hope you enjoyed reading this year-in-review post! Next year will be interesting for Scooby, since the only thing we know for sure is coming is Velma season 2, and it remains uncertain whether we'll get another film or series. It will be an interesting road forward with WB cutting back content, but I am hopeful for a great year for Scooby!
Despite never being given a name in "A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts," many fans refer to the gypsy in the episode as Carlotta. She's even referred to as such in "The Creeping Creatures" from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. However, Carlotta wasn't a fan-made or retconned name; it actually came one of the official Gold Key comics released in February 1972. #10 of the Scooby-Doo...Where Are You comics, "The Ghosts of Grimstone Manor," featured an adaption of the classic "A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts" plot. In the comic, the gypsy is given the name of Carlotta, even though she was not named in the episode. A model sheet recently listed on eBay also alludes to the fact that the name Carlotta may have been on an early draft of a script for the episode.
Here are the results from last week's poll! Happy to see my fave win! :)
What is your favorite sea monster episode?
The Loch Ness Mess - 9
The Creepy Heap from the Deep - 7
Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster - 7
She Sees Sea Monsters by the Sea Shore - 6
The Secret of Shark Island - 5
Scooby-Doo, Where's the Crew? - 3
The Beast Is Awake in Bottomless Lake - 3
Some Fred Time - 3
The Siren's Song - 2
Cher, Scooby and the Sargasso Sea! - 2
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare - 2
Scooby-Doo and the Beach Beastie - 2
A Highland Fling with a Monstrous Thing - 1
Twenty Thousand Screams Under the Sea - 1
Soggy Bog Scooby - 1
No Sharking Zone - 1
A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle - 1
Reef Grief - 1
Peebles' Pet Shop of Terrible Terrors! - 1
0 votes: There's a Demon Shark in the Foggy Dark, Movie Monster Menace, Scoo-Be or Not Scoo-Be, Ship of Ghouls, Uncle Scooby and Antarctica, and All Paws on Deck
Last month, we had a cryptic announcement that a "special episode" of Velma is coming from the LinkedIn page of a storyboard artist. Not many details were provided at the time, but now, a listing revealing more information about the special has popped up on the Entertainment Identifier Registry. According to EIDR, we will be getting a Velma Halloween special. The listing was entered into the database on October 25, 2023. The special will air sometime in 2024, presumably around October for Halloween.
It is unclear if the Halloween special is a part of season 2, or if it's a separate episode that isn't a part of any season. According to character designer Dinah Kalaha's resumé, character designing for season 2 began in November 2022 and just wrapped up in October 2023. This confirms that a season 2 was planned before the show had aired.
Many fans were surprised that Abe Lincoln was credited as the guest star in "A Mystery Solving Gang Divided," rather than The Funky Phantom Crew, who had significantly more presence in the episode than Abe did. Character designer Tracy Mark Lee revealed on his Instagram page that The Funky Phantom Crew were originally supposed to be the main guest stars in the episode, but they were told by WB that Abraham Lincoln needed to get the guest star credit. According to Tracy, this change was made so that the Funky Phantom Crew showing up would be more of a surprise reveal.
Here are the results for last week's poll:
What is your favorite episode taking place on a movie set?
Sandy Duncan's Jekyll and Hydes - 14
Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright - 10
Never Ape an Ape Man - 6
Scooby Goes Hollywood - 5
The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller - 4
Happy Birthday, Scooby-Doo! - 4
Lights! Camera! Mayhem! - 4
That's Monstertainment - 3
The Vampire Strikes Back - 3
Total Jeopardy! - 3
The Exterminator - 2
Poodle Justice - 2
Silver Scream - 2
Scooby-Doo and the Gourmet Ghost - 2
Movie Monster Menace - 1
The Fall Dog - 1
For Letter or Worse - 1
Lights...Camera...Monster - 1
The Movieland Monsters! - 1
Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island - 1
0 votes: Stuntman Scooby, Scoobsie, A Scary Duel with a Cartoon Ghoul, Horror Scope Scoob, Chefs of Steel, LEGO Scooby-Doo! Haunted Hollywood, The Dreaded Remake of Jekyll and Hyde!
The trap in "Silver Scream" (from Be Cool, Scooby-Doo) is a recreation of a scene from Buster Keaton's 1928 silent film, Steamboat Bill Jr.
The studio's name, Fletcher Studios, may also be a reference to the Flynn-Fletchers, which is the last name of the family in another of head writer Jon Colton Barry's shows, Phineas and Ferb. Another reference to the show would later be included in the next episode, "Fright of Hand," where "big laundry" is included on Daphne's to-do list (which is an in-joke from Phineas and Ferb).
I interpreted the definition of "movie set" loosely, and included sets of TV shows as well here. "That's Monstertainment!" and "The Movieland Monsters!" are also included, since the gang were physically in movies in those two episodes.
I'm a bit surprised on our winner for last week's scarecrow poll! I would have expected to to be "The Frickert Fracas," but our winner was actually Spooky Scarecrow, with Frickert Fracas coming in second!
Spooky Scarecrow - 18
The Frickert Fracas - 15
Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo - 14
A Scooby-Doo Halloween - 12
Eating Crow - 12
Courtesy of GamesRadar+, we have the solicitations for the two Scooby-Doo comics coming out in February 2024!
SCOOBY-DOO WHERE ARE YOU #126
Written by DEREK FRIDOLFS
Art by VALERIO CHIOLA
Cover by DEREK FRIDOLFS
$2.99 US | 32 pages
ON SALE 2/6/24
It’s a girls’ night out for Daphne and Velma, with Scooby tagging along, and they’re excited to attend a book club event for the release of Twice Bitten, the latest supernatural teen romance novel. But when the book’s dreamy star materializes off the page into reality looking to take a bite of some hearts, it’s up to the girls to solve this case before the event is ruined.
BATMAN AND SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERIES #2
Written by J. TORRES
Art and cover by SCOTT JERALDS
$2.99 US | 32 pages
ON SALE 2/6/24
Come to Slaughter Swamp and get a selfie with Solomon Grundy! For the adventure tourism crowd, that’s a potent lure, and there’s a real estate developer who has big plans…and a lot of swamp to profit from! Will Batman and the gang from Mystery Inc. figure out what’s going on in time to save some Gothamites from a zombie disaster?
In "The Sword, The Fox and the Scooby-Doo!" from Guess Who, Mark Hamill's backstory in the episode about going to high school in Japan was not made up for the episode. Hamill graduated from Nile C. Kinnick High School in Japan in 1969, which he attended because his father was stationed in the Army.
Similarly, the plot of Steve Buscemi being a firefighter in "Fear of the Fire Beast!" is also based on his real life. Buscemi was a firefighter in New York for four years from 1980-1984.