Over the years, many Scooby fans have become frustrated with the fact that there are still so many unreleased episodes. As of writing this article, if you include each short individually and some of the more off-brand specials (i.e. Night of the Living Doo, The Scooby-Doo Project, etc.) there are 167 unreleased episodes in the franchise. For such a popular franchise such as Scooby, that's pretty shocking.
To briefly go over what exactly it is we're still missing, we are missing the Addams Family episode from The New Scooby-Doo Movies. This one makes a lot of sense, because there are some suspected rights issues with Charles Addams or some aspect of The Addams Family show. Moving into the "how has this not been released?" territory, we're still missing four episodes of The Scooby-Doo Show from season 2: "The Curse of the Viking Lake," "The Creepy Heap from the Deep, "The Spooky Case of the Grand Prix Race" (I can't believe this one hasn't been released yet, given there's even an action figure of the Phantom Racer), and "Creepy Cruise." We're also missing the entirety of Laff-a-Lympics season 2 (which is 8 episodes), 46 seven-minute Scrappy-Doo shorts and 24 11-minute Scrappy and Daphne shorts (this is going by US DVD releases). 3 seven-minute Scrappy shorts and 2 Scrappy and Daphne episodes have been released only on rare VHS tapes, but never on DVD. 14 Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! episodes remain unreleased. The entirety of Be Cool Season 2 has not been released, with the exception of "Halloween" (to make up 26 missing episodes from that series, including the two shorts as their own episodes). No episodes from season 2 of Guess Who have been released (currently, 15 have aired in English). We're also missing ten specials (7 have been released on VHS) and 18 LEGO and Playmobil shorts.
My opinion of why these episodes have not been released is because Warner Brothers very much focuses all their efforts on releasing episodes from a marketing standpoint rather than a collector-focused standpoint. They want to sell as many DVDs as possible, while arguably also making as much profit off of already-released content they can. Arguably, I think the other aspect of this is that WB Marketing knows that they can release anything with Scooby's name on it, and there will be a group of more casual fans who will likely buy it. WB could make "Scooby-Doo Makes Some Stew!" and you'd totally have people buying it simply because Scooby's name is on it. I absolutely do not mean for this to come off as a scathing diss of Warner Brothers' marketing strategies, and honestly, I think it's a very good thing that Warner Brothers can do this, because it means Scooby-Doo is so popular that it's become a household name. You can casually reference Scooby-Doo in conversation to someone on the street, and they would almost positively at least have some knowledge of what you're talking about. Nearly everyone knows about Scooby, and that's created some brand loyalty where WB feels that they can keep releasing new DTV films and compilation sets for us fans.
The bummer side of this, though, is that this means much of their marketing strategies are very conservative in terms of releasing new content. Besides The Scooby-Doo Show season 2, which I have no idea why those four episodes haven't been released, all of the remaining episodes are from sort of controversial series. Many people, from a general audience perspective (meaning both Scooby fans and people and/or children who casually watch Scooby), did not like Get A Clue or the Scrappy-Doo shorts, so WB is afraid to release them out of fear it won't be a great seller. The same with Be Cool. Unfortunately, as most of us know, the animation got a lot of hate, so much so that apparently according to head writer Jon Colton Barry, he was getting death threats (yes, actual death threats, some apparently very elaborate and oddly specific) mailed to his house from angry people saying that he "ruined their childhood." While WB is probably less worried about getting death threats, it goes to show how hated the animation was and that they don't want to take too much of a risk releasing a bunch of Be Cool sets beyond the first season. I think Laff-a-Lympics is just odd and un-Scooby-ish enough that WB doesn't seem to want to take that extra step of releasing the second season.
While it's very cool that WB is able to come up with all these compilation sets that they feel would appeal to the target audience (which is most prominently children), in turn, it means that they don't think of releasing stuff from a collector lens. Personally, I desperately want them to release more season and series sets so we can have all the episodes. I miss those late 2000s-ish days where we were getting a new series set every year (sometimes multiple). We have seen inklings of WB taking a collector approach, like releasing some of the off Scrappy-Doo episodes on those 13 Spooky Tales sets from 2012-2015, or including those two unreleased Get A Clue episodes on the 50 Cartoon Collection set from 2019, but for the most part they really have avoided structuring their releases in a way that would allow collectors to get all the episodes. I really go back and forth on if I like the 13 Spooky Tales method, and I'll absolutely take that if that's what WB is willing to give us, but at the same time, I think a lot of us can agree that we don't want to have to purchase a huge set just to get one or two Scrappy shorts. It's unnecessary costly and it can waste shelf space. If you're like me, I have all my Scooby DVDs in order of series on a shelf, and it feels kind of sloppy sticking a billion 13 Spooky Tales or compilation DVDs in between series sets (which I realize likely sounds super nerdy lol). I will say I feel like it is kind of a waste for them not to release unreleased episodes whenever they can though, especially on the DTV releases. Like, with The Sword and the Scoob, did they really need to release "Hassle in the Castle" for the zillionth time? They missed a gigantic opportunity with "Wizards and Warlocks" or "Renn Scare" here. DTV sets are a great way to burn off some of these missing episodes if they're not willing to do season sets, because collectors will be buying these movies anyway.
Now one option that some obscure Hanna-Barbera series have done is to release these "unwanted" episodes through Warner Archive, which is a manufacture-on-demand DVD service that is available only online and are generally only purchased by collectors. My theory though on why this hasn't happened is that WB wants to have their cake and eat it too. I think they're generally conflicted on what to do with these remaining missing episodes. Manufacture-on-demand sets generally aren't very expensive, which means the manufacturers don't get much profit from it either (at least not as much as a DVD you'd buy from the store). I don't think WB wants to give these episodes up quite yet, in case they ever decide the time is right to release them. Scooby is a quite profitable franchise for them, so they don't want to just throw away the episodes completely, but at the same time, they're a bit skittish to release it out of fear of it not selling well.
I really hope someday they do release these episodes, preferably in season set form, but I guess all we can do is wait and see. I hope this article didn't come off as a cold diss of WB or that I'm saying Warner Brothers is screwing us all. Generally speaking, WB is doing an excellent job of keeping the franchise alive. Sometimes, not all their decisions make sense (i.e. recent lack of promotion for Scooby series, lengthy gaps with lack of marketing between new episodes, etc.), but in the end they're doing decent IMO. I really do wish they'd take a collector-oriented lens or challenge themselves to find creative ways to please the adult Scooby fans as well as kids. I'm definitely critical of WB's method of re-releasing the same episodes over and over again, but that's just because I love Scooby so much and always want the best for the franchise. Recent years haven't been the best for releasing missing episodes, but hey, we got Guess Who season 1 earlier this year, so fingers crossed we'll get some other fun new content this year. :)
~ WildwindVampire ~