2019 has been a big year for Scooby! With it being the 50th anniversary of the franchise, we got tons of new Scooby-Doo content, from a couple of new revival films to a brand new series. In this post, I'm going to break down the 10 biggest things (in my opinion) to happen this year in the Scooby-Doo franchise. If it's your first time reading one of these posts (I do one every year!), I only count pieces of media which were actually released, not announcements for media (for example, I wouldn't count the Scoob! trailer as something for this year, since the film isn't released until next May). Without further ado, let's reveal the 10 biggest things of the year!
10. Scooby-Doo! 50 Cartoon Collection
While I'm usually pretty optimistic about things, this set really disappointed me and I thought it was a huge missed opportunity on the part of WB. Given WB's track record for mixing old already-released episodes with new content, I was sure we would be getting some old episodes on this set. I was thinking maybe they could do a mix of fan-selected favorites and new episodes, with around 25 old fan favorites and 25 never-before-released episodes. Instead, we ended up getting very random episodes without really any explanation for why they were on there. Nearly 60% of the set was made up of episodes from Where Are You, What's New, and SDMI. Moreover, we only got 3 new episodes on the set, two of which were Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! episodes. Those who know me know I don't mind Get A Clue, but in this case, I feel like it was a bad decision to release 2 new Get A Clue episodes on that set. The majority of Scooby fans dislike that show, so it doesn't make sense to just dump them on a set and leave many fans with just one new episode that they'll like, "The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller." If they're going to release Get A Clue, I feel like it should be on a separate set with just Get A Clue episodes instead of burning them off and forcing people to buy expensive DVDs with 47 repeats on it. They also released the set without any episode list, so people have no idea of which episodes are on what disc.
I am placing this one at #10 just because we did get "The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller," "Chefs of Steel," and "Almost Ghosts." However, I feel like the decisions made with this set were all around perplexing, and it was a very big wasted opportunity on WB's part for what could have been a really cool DVD set.
9. 6 New Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Issues
I can't really judge this one based on content, as I haven't been keeping up with the Where Are You issues lately due to the overuse of stock art poses. However, it's interestingly become the only comic left now this year, after the cancellations of Scooby Apocalypse in April and Scooby-Doo! Team Up in September (more on this later). Six new issues were released this year (#97-102) and we also finally got the 100th milestone issue of the comic. Notably, with these cancellations, this November was the first month ever since 1995 that a new Scooby-Doo comic was not released.
8. Scooby-Doo! Curse of the 13th Ghost
For the 50th anniversary, we got a brand new film which finally finished The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo series, which ended on a cliffhanger in 1985. However, many fans were left very unsatisfied by this film, due to numerous blatant continuity errors all throughout the film among the semi-false advertising that the mystery would finally be solved, which it really wasn't. I won't ruin the film since I know there are still people out there who haven't seen it, but the blatant continuity errors and poor ending wrecked the film for me.
This was explained by Tim Sheridan, the writer of the film, that they wanted to make the film a part of a "rebooted Where Are You exclusive universe." I've really bounced back and forth on whether I like this, but as I've thought about it more, I can't say I'm really on board with it. I totally understand that people love the original, but at the same time, the franchise has changed a lot since then. Not everything they've done has been good, but I feel like it discounts all the progress the franchise has made to just look at everything through a Where Are You lens. This is purely my opinion, and I'm genuinely happy for you if you enjoyed the film. Personally, I just don't feel looking at every single Scooby production every made through a Where Are You lens is an appropriate way to handle the franchise.
7. Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island
I found this movie to be a bit more enjoyable than 13th Ghost, but it still was nowhere near the tone of the original Zombie Island film. There were still a few continuity errors from the original film, but much less than in Curse of the 13th Ghost. I also found Velma's skepticism to be very annoying and borderline in denial, which was frustrating because I felt they made her character too extreme in this film and the last. However, what made this one better than the previous film for me was that I felt it would have been pretty good as just a normal DTV, if one wasn't comparing it to the tone of Zombie Island. It's nowhere near perfect and still a bit disappointing the writers chose to view it from that Where Are You lens, but it was at least not painful to watch like the previous one was.
6. Funko Pops
We got a lot of cool merchandise for the 50th anniversary, but I have to say my opinion is that the Funko Pops are the coolest! We've gotten the gang in previous years, but this year we've gotten many of the villains as well including the Witch Doctor, Captain Cutler, Ghost Clown, Space Kook and Green Ghost! We've also gotten a Scrappy-Doo Funko, which completely sold out within the day on the Funko website!
5. Cartoon Feud
Quite possibly my most controversial placing on this list, but I enjoyed the Teen Titans Go! crossover for what it was. What an interesting turn of events that this would end up being placed higher than the 13th Ghost and Return to Zombie Island films. I felt this stayed more true to the original than either of them did, and there was some very clever meta-humor in this episode about how Teen Titans Go! was constantly on the air, taking up the space of classic cartoons, as well as the joke about Fred not wanting to be voiced by a guy named Frank. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm going to go binge the whole Teen Titans Go! series or anything, or even watch another episode, but it was an enjoyable 10 minutes of entertainment.
4. Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?
We also got a new series this year! Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? is a sort of reboot of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, where the gang teams up with various celebrities to solve mysteries. I found the episodes to be sort of hit-or-miss. I loved the Sherlock Holmes, Wonder Woman, Penn and Teller, Urkel, Weird Al, and Batman ones, but others like The Funky Phantom, Jim Gaffigan and Kenan Thompson were not very enjoyable. Overall, I feel like they were trying too hard to make it seem exactly like the original show, which isn't a bit thing, but they tried so hard that many other elements of the show were not done as well as they should have been, and in some cases, it felt forced. We got 13 episodes this year, and the show was ordered for 52 episodes, so I imagine we'll be seeing some of those next year!
3. Scooby Apocalypse
Scooby Apocalypse was one of the best Scooby comics of recent years in my opinion, and we got four new issues this year before it was cancelled in April. I really enjoyed the maturity of this series, and the writing was superb all the way through. I was a bit sad when they chose to cancel it after only 36 issues, but the four issues we did get this year were excellent, which is why this one is #3 on my list!
2. Scooby-Doo! Team Up #50
Similar to Scooby Apocalypse, Scooby-Doo! Team Up was also cancelled after releasing 6 issues this year, #45-50. Honestly, I felt that issue 50 was the type of thing we should have gotten for the 50th anniversary, which is why this is charting higher than Guess Who? and the two reboot films. In this issue, we get to see all the versions of the gang from every incarnation in the past 50 years interact with each other, which was a lot of fun! The only reason why this isn't #1 is because I didn't feel the plot went deep enough in terms of the gangs interacting with each other. Many of the lines were things like just all the versions of Shaggy saying "Zoinks!" together, which didn't go as deep as I feel it should have. It would have been cool for the differences between the versions of the gang to be explored (i.e. What's New Fred acting dimwitted, and the BCSD/Where Are You Fred being irritated by that version of himself). Nonetheless, I also thought it was cool how they brought other recurring characters back and the explanation for the mystery (I won't ruin it by giving spoilers, but those who read it know what I mean!)
1. The New Scooby-Doo Movies Almost Complete Collection DVD and Blu-Ray Set
Having been 14 years since the first "Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies" set was released, most fans had discounted the 9 missing episodes from that set would ever be released, due to the copyright issues with some guest stars. However, for the 50th anniversary, WB was able to get permission from 8 of the 9 celebrities to release the remainder of the episodes in two different sets, one which had all 23 episodes and another that just had the missing 8, which were Phyllis Diller, Sandy Duncan, Sonny and Cher, Davy Jones, Jerry Reed, Josie and the Pussycats, Jeannie and Babu, and Tim Conway. I thought it was really cool that WB released them in 2 different sets to save the fans who already had the original set money. With so much rereleasing of old episodes along with new episodes on the same set, it was heartwarming to see them think of collectors for once. We still don't have the Addams Family episode released, presumably due to ongoing copyright issues with the creators of the Addams Family. However, they were able to release the 70s Addams Family series from Hanna-Barbera on DVD, but not the 90s series. The 90s series featured John Astin as Gomez, but the 70s series did not. Since the missing episode, "Wednesday is Missing," also featured Astin, I'm believing that he is for some reason preventing the episode from being released for some reason. I'm hoping someday they will be finally able to release that episode, but for now, I was really satisfied and surprised in a good way with this DVD set.
Notably missing from this list is the Complete Where Are You Blu-Ray set, which didn't do anything for me personally not having a Blu-Ray player, and the fact that they've already released the complete series of Where Are You about a zillion different times now. I must say, the design is cool though!
Well, that's my list, folks, but I'd love to see other people's lists as well! Does anybody feel something should have been included that wasn't? Let me know in the comments. In addition, I hope you all have a wonderful start to 2020!
~ WildwindVampire ~