It's unfortunate, but 2017 was a bit of a lackluster year for Scooby compared to recent years. "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!" only aired eight new episodes this year in the US, leaving 24 episodes still unaired. We saw a decrease in DVDs this year, dropping down to an all-time recent low of only 2 new-to-DVD episodes being released in the whole year.
On the positive side of things, however internationally, many fans got to see the rest of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, and the remaining episodes were posted online for fans who weren't fortunate enough to have their episodes air in the home country. We also got some exciting announcements for new films and series, including "Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold," which will be released just a short 9 days into the next year. We also got the announcement for a new feminist-focused film, "Daphne & Velma" as well as a brand new series and an updated release date for the film formerly known as "S.C.O.O.B.".
Though it was difficult to choose large events which occurred this year (as most of what occured this year were very small, incremental events), and I had to scrape the bottom of the comic barrel (you'll notice that I divided each comic as its own event in the list), I managed to pick the 10 biggest things of 2017 that happened in the Scooby franchise. Please note, however, this should not be confused for an official top 10 list, as this list reflects my own opinions of the best events of the year. While creating this list, I tried my very best to remain completely unbiased, and hopefully this list reflects the general opinion of the fandom, rather than simply my own opinion. It also should be noted that this list only includes events which happened this year, so announcements for things which will be released in future years (i.e. Daphne & Velma) are not included in this list. So without further comments, here is the top 10 things that happened in the Scooby franchise this year!:
10. Scooby Appears in Halifax Commercial
Though the fact that this small commercial is even included in the list speaks to how light of a year it was for new Scooby content, I still thought I'd include this ad, as it was a somewhat famous commercial and aired on several major networks for many months. In January 2017, Halifax made a commercial which featured the gang solving a mystery and stumbling upon Halifax bank. The commercial, which is a mix of animation and live-action, was filmed in London in late 2016. This commercial also marked the reintroduction of two famous voice actors of the gang, Mindy Cohn as Velma, and Scott Innes as Shaggy.
9. Twelve New Scooby-Doo, Where Are You Comics
Coming in at number 9 this year (one spot up from last year's list) is the twelve new Scooby-Doo, Where Are You comics which were released this year. One new comic was released every second Wednesday of the month, and this year, issues #77-88 made their debut in comic shops. We are getting excitingly close to the 100th issue, and if this monthly trend would continue, we would get the milestone 100th comic in December of next year.
8. Creepy Carnival and Happy Spook-Day DVDs
This year was a bit different from other recent years, in the sense that over the course of the entire year, we only managed to get two previously unreleased episodes on DVD. These new-to-DVD episodes came from the "Scooby-Doo and the Creepy Carnival" and "Happy Spook-Day, Scooby-Doo" DVDs. On May 2, 2017, the Creepy Carnival DVD made its way into stores, with previously unreleased episode "The Crazy Carnival Caper" from 1983's The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show. Approximately 4 months later, on August 29, 2017, The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries' (1984) premiere episode, titled "Happy Birthday, Scooby-Doo" was released on the Happy Spook-Day DVD.
While I'm of course thankful we got even those 2 new episodes, I really wish that WB would release more season sets or 13 Spooky Tales-like DVDs. Unfortunately, as we haven't gotten any new 13 Spooky Tales sets now since May 2015, I think it's safe to say that those particular DVD sets have been discontinued. Still, I'd really like to see the return of themed DVD sets with more new episodes. Both of these new DVDs this year only featured three episodes each, but were only half the price of the 13 Spooky Tales DVDs, which included nearly 5 times the number of episodes that these two recent DVDs have had.
7. LEGO Scooby-Doo! Blowout Beach Bash
As a sequel of sorts to last year's "Haunted Hollywood" movie, a second LEGO film entitled "Blowout Beach Bash" was released on July 25, 2017. While the movie definitely had its moments, my personal feelings on it is that it was filled with too many corny and unfunny jokes, particularly the "Blowout Beach Bingo Bash" song which draws on for a painful duration of 5 minutes. I felt this movie was dragged out and easily could have been a 22-minute special, without all the extra filler of songs and bad jokes.
6. Scooby-Doo! Team Up Releases 14 New Issues
After becoming a monthly comic late last year, Scooby-Doo! Team Up continued to release new issues every month, totaling 12. As an added bonus, collector's editions of issues 13-18 and 19-24 were each released as volumes 3 and 4, respectively. This year's team-ups included Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, Quick Draw McGraw, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern & Green Arrow, Hong Kong Phooey & Spot, Plastic Man & Woozy Winks, Jonah Hex, Top Cat, Challengers of the Unknown, The Atom, Atom Ant, and The Legion of Super Heroes. The comic series is now up to issue 33.
5. Boomerang Streaming Service Launches
On April 11, 2017, the Boomerang Streaming Service launched and offered subscribers access to hundreds of cartoons at a time with a monthly or annual subscription fee. Among these cartoons include Scooby-Doo, Where Are You, The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, What's New, Scooby-Doo? and several of the DTV films and specials. The service also is now the exclusive home of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, which now has stopped airing on the Cartoon Network and Boomerang television network.
This is a wonderful opportunity for fans to watch episodes of Scooby-Doo and various other cartoons. However, as I believe I've mentioned previously, in my opinion it is a bit frustrating and unethical on WB's part to air only part of a season of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo, and then purposefully banish unaired episodes to the streaming service. This essentially forces everyone to pay for content which was previously able to be watched for free on their network, simply because CN is too lazy to find a proper time to air the show. Of course, this is only my opinion and my criticisms here should not impact anyone's view of the streaming service. I'm glad that some people seem to enjoy the streaming service and still can benefit from subscribing to it, whether it's a platform for them to watch new episodes or rewatch old favorites.
4. Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown
On February 14, 2017, the film Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown was released on DVD. Personally, I really loved this film and thought it was one of the best DTVs we've had in years. The plot seemed to be very in-depth and appropriate for its length (whereas some other recent films seemed to slightly drag on or try to do too much with too little time) and the characters were all very interesting and well-developed. I didn't even mind the Justin Bieber-inspired Buddy G, whose name was also a parody of another pop star, Becky G. I hope that we get to see more movies as good as this one in the coming year!
3. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo: 21 New Episodes
This year, the following episodes premiered in the US: "Eating Crow," "I Scooby Dooby Do," "El Bandito," "Into the Mouth of Madcap," "The Norse Case Scenario," "The People vs. Fred Jones," "Some Fred Time," "There Wolf," "Renn Scare," "How to Train Your Coward," "Worst in Show," "Mysteries on the Disorient Express," "Halloween," "The Curse of Kaniaku," "Vote Velma," "Scroogey Doo," "In Space," "Doo Not Disturb," "Silver Scream," "Fright of Hand," and "Greece is the Word."The final six season one episodes aired in a 1:00am middle-of-the-night slot on June 20, presumably to simply air the episodes as quickly as possible without interfering with their other programming. It should be noted however, that "Eating Crow" technically premiered last year on iTunes and Amazon on March 20, 2016, before it was taken off both services within a few days of being posted. However, the posting of the episode was almost positively a mistake on CN's part, who likely forgot to communicate with the streaming services that the episode had been removed from the schedule. This has also happened previously with CN, which includes "Mystery Solvers State Club Finals" and "The Night the Clown Cried," both of which were not supposed to air for months, but were accidentally posted by CN online early. The holiday specials "Halloween" and "Scroogey Doo," premiered on the Boomerang streaming service a month before their respective holidays. Just before the year ended, on December 21, 2017, Boomerang put eight season 2 episodes on the service (episodes 27-32, 34 and 35). The next day, on Friday (December 22) morning, five more episodes were posted on the streaming service (episodes 37-41). It is currently unknown when the missing 11 episodes will be added to the streaming service.
2. Scooby Apocalypse
In January 2016, fans were shocked when they heard the "Scooby Apocalypse" was coming. Now, the series has become a hit for teens and adult fans fans alike, and has released 12 new issues this year, in addition to two collector's volumes which encompassed issues 1-6 (volume 1) and 7-12 (volume 2). The series is now up to issue 20 as of December 13, when the last issue came out in comic book shops. I haven't had time to catch up on all the issues yet (insert big sigh here), though I am currently up to issue 12 and am really enjoying the series so far! It is definitely a different direction for Scooby going in a more violent, adult-oriented plotline, but regardless I'm glad I decided to read it, and it's nice to see Daphne toning down slightly from the first issue I read, where it was basically a fight-fest that included Daphne punching practically everyone. However, I've heard that the series seems to be headed towards a finale, though I'm really hoping that it's simply the end of this particular storyline and not the entire series!
1. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Finishes Internationally
Here it is! The biggest event for Scooby in 2017 is Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! finishing internationally and being released online. This year, fans were treated to all of season 2, with the final unreleased episode airing on November 13, 2017, thus finishing the series. Despite the numerous criticisms of both the art and humor, I'll really miss this series. In my opinion, this was easily the funniest, most character-driven series in the franchise, and really gave us a great look at the gang's internal friendship and bond, whereas in other series we don't get to see that as much. The series' style of humor really synced up nicely with my own, providing a mix of both slapstick-y, laugh-out-loud humor and more absurd, abstract humor. I love the fact that the series includes all different types of humor to appeal to all ages. I think the abstractness of the humor didn't appeal to many people who disliked the show, but I really enjoyed how absurd and ridiculous the show got sometimes. All the characters were very three-dimensional and each had their own, unique personalities, to the point where many people could tell if the characters were written even slightly off from how they usually acted. Most prevalently, Daphne was given a very eccentric and nonconformist personality, which I must say really worked for me. So often in TV, we see these one-dimensional or boring characters which are completely predictable, and I really enjoyed the unpredictability of Daphne's behavior. Though that may be influenced by the fact that I have a slightly quirky personality myself in real-life. :)
That about wraps up this year's list, though to end this year's list on a much more positive note, I'd like to briefly highlight 5 things which I would like to see occur next year in the Scooby franchise.
1. The Remainder of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Airing in the US
While I love the show and hate to see it end, I would really like season 2 to get a proper US airing at some point in the next year. Unfortunately, it's not possible to have them "aired" on television, but I really hope that the series will find get a chance to wrap up in this next year, with the remaining 11 episodes premiering on the streaming service. There's really no point in drawing things out any longer, and since every episode has now aired in numerous countries, it seems only fair for US fans to get the rest of the episodes as well.
2. At Least 3 New DTV Movies
These past few years, we've only seen generally about two DTVs per year, and in last year's post, I linked to the TCM (Official Turner Classic Movies), which claimed (and actually still claims at the time of this post) we should have gotten 3 movies this year. I'm presuming the third unreleased movie is the Batman one, which was probably made last year and was simply postponed into January. According to the same TCM site, we should have 3-4 movies this year including the "Daphne and Velma" one (more on that later). Hopefully this will come to pass!
3. Continuation of the Comic Releases
In 2017, the record for the amount of Scooby comics in a single year was broken, with a grand total of 40 brand new comics being released this year. I would love to see this trend continue, especially as I am just getting caught up with reading the comics and have been enjoying them. I'm really hoping that Scooby Apocalypse continues, as like I mentioned above, it appears to be coming to a conclusion. It would be nice to see something special done for 100th Scooby-Doo, Where Are You comic in December as well!
4. More DVD Releases with Unreleased Episodes
As I mentioned previously, the DVDs have been at an all-time low recently. It would be great to see the return of the season sets, or some more themed set DVDs (though including more episodes than just 3) with unreleased episodes on them. I'm very glad to see that Be Cool, Scooby-Doo Season 1, Part 2 will be released right away in January, so here's hoping that we see some other season sets released this year (The Scooby-Doo Show Season 2 would be a nice one to have finally released!)
5. Daphne & Velma
I hesitate to put this one in the list, as it is a more controversial film in a sense. I'm sure that a few of you have cringed when I've used the phrase "feminist-focused" to describe the movie, so I should probably explain to you all why I'm excited about the new film.
Unfortunately, it seems when people think of the word "feminist" these days, a lot of people's minds turn to super preachy, men-hating women going on obnoxious protests. This is not the vision I have at all for the film, and I too would hate it if it was just 75 minutes of hyper-feminist political statements and bra-burning. My hopes for this film are that it presents Daphne and Velma in more of a main role, and to expand upon their characters further, and most prominently, to get a different take on the premise we're used to, and maybe see those two characters in a different way than we previously had. People are probably still going to hate on the movie a lot in these next few months before it comes out, judging the movie on one word, "feminist-focused," but I really hope that people decide to give a chance in the end.
Thank you all so much for reading this post, and please let me know in the comments if you all have any thoughts you want to share of what should happen in 2018. Hope you all have a wonderful new year! :)
~ WildwindVampire ~