Fun Fact of the Week #442
In the 2002 console game Night of 100 Frights, the creators of the game messed up on a detail of the most classic villains in Scooby history. The Monster Gallery credits the Giggling Green Ghost to be from "A Bicycle Built for Boo," despite that it is obviously from "A Night of Fright Is No Delight."
Weekly Poll #167
It's time to determine what the best settings in the franchise are with another poll series! Since many episodes have the gang going to multiple places, I decided to have the options be episodes rather than settings to keep it at a manageable amount of options. I debated about having it be one season per poll, but since there are 15 series, I think it makes more sense to just go by series rather than having this poll series go on for a full year lol.
Last week's poll was a fun one to see the results from! 23 people said they watched Scooby daily, 17 people watch several times a week, 13 people watch weekly, 11 people watch monthly, 7 people watch every couple of months, 6 people watch biweekly, and 6 people watch yearly. Thankfully, nobody voted never haha.
It appears there has been a leak as some images from Mystery Pups have appeared on the Internet and are now all over social media. The leak is an image of the gang's designs. I personally think they look quite good! Thanks to Scoobyverse, Scooby_News16 and JustMeJordanW for sharing this info!
As I mentioned in the previous top 10 settings article, I didn't think "Worst Settings" would make a good companion article for this, since I can't think of any instances where I disliked an episode based on the setting alone. So instead of that, I used an idea suggested by Matt, a regular commenter on the blog, and decided to pick out 10 episodes where I feel the setting is great, but isn't talked about very often. It was genuinely pretty tough to try to condense my list into just 10, but it was a fun challenge nonetheless. I don't have an order for these, as I don't really have a sense for which of these settings are more underrated than another. I feel all of these are underrated.
Theater of Doom
I mentioned this one in the comments but it was not mentioned in the actual post. I honestly think the episode in general is very underrated. I love how atmospheric the episode is in the sense all 22 minutes either takes place on the tiny stage, or in the creepy backstage-like basement. Having such a focus location greatly enhanced the plot and the creepiness of the mystery, and I don't think this episode gets enough recognition for that.
In general, I think The New Scooby-Doo Movies is underrated for its settings as a whole, but this is one of the episodes that really stands out to me for its setting. It's not talked about much as a haunted house episode, but the creepy house on the hill makes a great haunted house. I also particularly like the inclusion of the paintings. The fact that several of the paintings and statues (like the bird with the piggy bank, for example) can suddenly move and grab you at any time makes the setting even more spooky and disturbing.
Scooby-Doo, Where's the Crew?
I don't hear this one talked about very much, but the ship's setting is so dark and terrifying. I would argue that this episode is as dark as any of the season 2 episodes. The gang being trapped on a ship lost at sea with three ghouls is really creepy, since there's literally no way they can escape. The atmosphere of the whole episode feels really dark in a way that not a lot of Scooby episodes do.
Scooby's Peep Hole Pandemonium
For an episode that has a very odd title, it has a really good setting; arguably the best of any of the 7 or 11-minute shorts. In comparison to the other series, it's not among the all-time best settings in the franchise, but I like how reminiscent this feels of a classic Scooby-Doo haunted house. The way this episode is able to do that despite the very different tone of the series from the 1960s and 1970s is definitely notable, and deserves more recognition than it gets.
The Hand of Horror
On that same subject, "The Hand of Horror" is another underrated setting. The Von Gizmo Estate presents another example of a setting feeling very atmospheric and being developed very well despite the short runtime.
The Weird Winds of Winona
This is another underrated The New Scooby-Doo Movies setting. The fact that this town is completely abandoned makes it feel foreboding, both at the farmer's house and the town hall. Admittedly, the short bit we get in the caves at the end of the episode isn't anything special, since this series seems to overuse caves a bit in my opinion, but the other two settings aren't talked about enough IMO.
Night on Haunted Mountain
I don't really know if "underrated" is the right word to describe this setting, but I never really hear anyone talk about this setting. The gang venturing up the mountain feels quite ominous, and the old ship remains have a very creepy vibe to them. I especially like the bit at the end with the El Aguirre's ghost showing up. I honestly wish he would have gotten his own episode, because his design is so amazing!
The Ghostly Creep from the Deep
This is the second-to-last New Scooby-Doo Movies that will appear here. I really like the setting of the old inn here. The fact that it is abandoned and in the middle of a swamp obviously enhances the setting quite a bit, but I also like the level of detail put into the outside of the inn. The inn looks very run-down and like it hasn't been used in years, which bumps this up a couple levels further in its spooky factor.
The Frickert Fracas
This episode is underrated in general, but I feel like a large part of that is the setting. Maude Frickert's farm has a very dark, spooky feel to it, and it's very challenging to do that with a simplistic setting like a farm IMO. The fact that most of the episode takes place at night adds to the creepiness of it, since the gang is walking around in the dark in a cornfield, where anything could jump out at them at any time. The farm itself is done in a very atmospheric way that really pulls you in, unlike "The Ghost of the Red Baron" a few episodes later, which kinda falls flat in comparison. This episode did an amazing job of using the farm to its full potential.
The Beast Is Awake in Bottomless Lake
I notice that the settings I like best create a dark and foreboding atmosphere, and this is one where I feel it's done really well. Similarly to "The Weird Winds of Winona," the town being basically abandoned and the whole thing taking place at night creates an atmosphere with a creepy vibe. Moreover, the Beast appearing seemingly everywhere amps up the terror even further, which I love. Also, this doesn't factor into my feelings on the setting, but it never fails to amuse me that Canada puts up a cheap wooden sign that says "Welcome to Canada" at the border. No other tourist information or a fancy sign at all, just a little wooden sign haha.
It was tough to condense my list into ten settings, but I hope you enjoyed reading this list! If you have any settings that you feel are underrated, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Fun Fact of the Week #441
The Hodag from "The Hodag of Horror" in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is a mythical cryptid that dates back to the Paul Bunyan stories. The first instance of a Hodag sighting was in 1893. Land surveyer Eugene Shepard from Rhineland, Wisconsin, made the report in the daily newspaper. He reported that he and a group of friends had to use dynamite to lure the hodag out. The photograph of the Hodag from Eugene Shepard was shared in the newspaper.
Shepard reported catching another Hodag in 1896 using chloroform and displayed it at the Oneida County Fair. Thousands of people came to see the Hodag. At the Fair, Shepard informed visitors that the Hodag's food source was all white bulldogs.
A group of Smithsonian Institute scientists announced they would be coming to Wisconsin to inspect the creature. Eugene Shepard then revealed that it was all a hoax he'd made up. The creature was merely a stuffed trophy animal that Shepard had rigged up with wires so it would look like it was moving.
Despite the fact that it was a hoax, the Hodag became the official symbol of Rhinelander, Wisconsin due to the mass fame the publicity had brought the town. In addition, Rhinelander High School's mascot is the Hodag. To commemorate the hoax, a local artist named Tracy Goberville created a replica of Eugene's fake Hodag. Moreover, the Rhinelander Ice Arena features two hodags; one full creature and a trophy head that blows smoke out of its nostrils.
Thank you to Drakosleuth for suggesting this fun fact idea for me to research!
Weekly Poll #166
I thought it might be fun to do a completely different type of poll this week. Despite that you think it would be talked about a lot, I've only had this conversation a handful of times with people in the fandom, so I thought it would be fun (and maybe even facilitate some interesting conversations) to see how often people on this blog watch Scooby!
Here are the results from our Valentine's Day poll on romantic pairings last week! Thank goodness the options that nobody should have voted for got 0 votes haha.
Amber/Scooby and Crystal/Shaggy - 33
Fred and Daphne - 29
Velma and Marcie - 11
Fred and Daphne (SDMI) - 10
Shaggy and Googie - 8
Shaggy and Daphne - 8
Shaggy and Velma (SDMI) - 3
Velma and Coco Diablo - 2
Shaggy and Gigi (Velma) - 2
Daphne and Velma (Velma) - 1
Fred and Daphne (Velma) - 1
Fred and Velma (Velma) - 0
Shaggy and Velma (Velma) - 0
May 2023 Comic Solicitations
Seems like GamesRadar+ is a bit behind on posting the May 2023 DC comic solicitations at the time of posting this but thankfully, AIPTComics has them posted. Interestingly to note, the other versions of Fred, Velma and Daphne have their races changed similarly to the recent series Velma.
THE BATMAN & SCOOBY-DOO MYSTERIES #8
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art and cover by ERICH OWEN
$2.99 US | 32 pages
ON SALE 5/9/23
Batman's facing his most fearsome foe: the ancient Bat Spirit! If this supernatural menace has his way, all other bats will be vanquished, leaving him to rule the world. Sounds like a job for Mystery Inc.! So why is Batman working with a new teen team?
IGN has just announced that Velma for being developed for a second season on HBO Max. No further details or date has been given at this time. Velma is the most streamed HBO Max Original Animated Series on the app; however, it is worth noting that there are only four other HBO Max Original Animated Series currently released, so this is not as big of an accomplishment as some news outlets have made it seem.
It's no secret at this point that Velma has been critically panned. Whether you love it or hate it, the majority of the fandom was not satisfied with this edgy adult reboot of the franchise. Now, Velma has wrapped up airing its first season and the fate of the show remains uncertain. Given I was one of those fans who disliked Velma, this feels like the perfect time to talk about the direction I would like the see the franchise go in the future. In the following article, I outlined three broad ideas I have for the future of the franchise, although I've included some concrete series premises amongst my discussion of these ideas. I organized it this way because I am honestly pretty open to new series ideas; honestly, it's the writing and character development that are most important to me.
1. A reboot that builds on Where Are You, but does not attempt to copy it
One of the biggest complaints about Guess Who is that the show often played it too safe. It tried to replicate the tone of Where Are You exactly, but it couldn't quite capture that original magic. While Guess Who isn't my favorite series, I do kind of appreciate what it tried to do by bringing things back to the original tone. Guess Who's biggest fault for me was trying to force that tone to the point where many episodes were a bit stale. Although they are very different series, one way to interpret some people's dissatisfaction with the franchise as of late, is that the common theme betweenVelma and Guess Who is that both of them tried too hard to force a tone that didn't work. Expanding or taking inspiration from something is different than trying to force it. As amazing as Where Are You is, I don't think anybody would want 49 straight seasons of the exact same thing, because it would get old if there was no variety after a while. I think a reboot of Where Are You could work if it were done in a way that used the original tone, but created something new in the process of doing that. I thought Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! did a great job of using the same classic formula, and by adding a more humorous twist and developing the characters in interesting ways, the writers were able to create something engaging and different. Something like this that builds on an aspect of an old series, (whether it be Where Are You or not) but doesn't attempt to directly copy it, could be a good direction to go. For example, perhaps they create settings with a similarly dark feel to Where Are You, but show the gang members each developing as characters in different ways. There needs to be a unique defining characteristic of each series, otherwise there is no point in creating a new series if you are going to try to match the tone of a previous series exactly.
2. A mature show that does not overuse adult themes
This is a broad umbrella, and I'll elaborate with some ideas for this later. One of my biggest issues with Velma is how overly try-hard the writers are about the humor. Although it is becoming more common in sitcoms for people to think of "mature" and "adult themes" as the same thing, I firmly believe that they do not have to be. I have never felt that a series needs to be super raunchy in order to for me to think of it as mature. "Adult themes" typically refers to sexual jokes, drug references, intense gore and violence, whereas mature shows can simply mean that a show is too dark for kids, or the themes might be too frightening for a younger audience.
It's always been a bit perplexing to me that WB-Discovery has never looked at the overwhelming success of Zombie Island as something that would work consistently for the franchise. In my 15 years in the fandom, I've met very few fans who have a single bad thing to say about Zombie Island, and it's critically acclaimed even by folks who do not frequently watch the franchise. They could make another show with the mature tone of the Zombie Island era movies, and I think everybody would love it. Even if they made something dark not quite to that level of glory - take the Mystery Incorporated YouTube series from last year for example - I would love to see a show like that. There are clearly plenty of adult fans who still watch the franchise, and WB-Discovery knows this, otherwise they wouldn't keep referencing old stuff from the 1970s and 1980s that no young fans would recognize.
Some specific, concrete ideas that would fit that tone could be a series like Wednesday. Wednesday and Velma are night and days in terms of quality. Wednesday manages to be a great mature reboot of the series that doesn't need to rely on sexual jokes, intense violence, and inappropriate humor as a crutch for bad writing. Simply having the gang solve the mystery of a serial killer in a Halloween costume of some sort could make a really good plot, especially if it was similar in tone to Zombie Island or even Mystery Incorporated (minus the romantic drama). Perhaps you could have it set at a boarding school, much like Wednesday, and have the gang meet each other through solving the mystery together. I would love to see a mature Scooby-Doo show in the vein of Wednesday.
I also think this would be a great opportunity to create a universe where there is some shared lore from previous Scooby series. For example, recurring characters could show up, or aspects of the main characters from a certain iteration could be developed further. Another thing that I've talked about before on here that I disliked with Guess Who is the overuse of references, where they almost felt gimmicky. The best Easter Eggs for me are the ones that are tied tightly into the plot, rather than just "hey, there's a picture of Redbeard over there!" A mature reboot presents a great opportunity to create franchise lore based upon previous series and characterizations, rather than random references that aren't connected to anything.
3. Spinoff with Side Characters
WB could also do a spin-off of some of the beloved side characters of the franchise. I've mentioned on here that I've written a Ghoul School coming-of-age fanfic for the girls in high school, and a Hex Girls fanfic about how they got started as a band. I think both of these things would make amazing TV shows as long as they stayed at least somewhat true to the original tone (looking at you, Return to Zombie Island). The Hex Girls show is long overdue in my opinion; I think everyone would like that as long as they kept the girls in-character from their previous appearances. Showing how they became a band seems like the most logical series to do, but you could do a number of different plots with the girls, such as getting them involved in some sort of supernatural mystery; the girls going up against a witch as they're exploring Wicca further; or they could even do a high school coming-of-age plot where the girls run into a mystery at their school.
One could even argue that a spin-off featuring a gang member that actually keeps them true to their character would make an enjoyable show. I wrote another fanfic about Velma teaching at her sister Madelyn's school, Whirlen Merlin's, which is the vein of what I'm talking about here. I would like to see a show that actually develops the characters in a natural way that is consistent with what has been established over the past 50 years. Velma missed that mark by making the characters completely different than anything we'd seen before, and Guess Who also missed that mark by making the characters too stale. Especially at the beginning of the show, some of Fred, Daphne, and Velma's lines arguably could have been interchangeable and we probably wouldn't have even noticed.
Another idea in that similar vein is a spinoff involving Scooby, or one of the gang's relatives. I'd especially love to see a show of Scooby solving mysteries with Scooby-Dum; I feel like that would be really wholesome and hilarious.
The ideas are pretty endless for a new Scooby-Doo series, but these are ultimately the elements I most want to see in the next Scooby-Doo series after Mystery Pups. WB has had a history of kind of knee-jerk reactions to previous shows after the fact, and some of them have worked, and some of them haven't. The Be Cool writers have come out and said that WB told them they wanted a funny show after the dark, frightening tone of SDMI, but then they felt Be Cool didn't play it safe enough, so they created Guess Who. The preschool tone of Mystery Pups seems like a direct response to Velma being an adult show. I am pretty open-minded to new ideas; I think the most important aspects are good characterization, compelling mysteries, and an attempt to explore some new aspect of the franchise's formula that has not already been explored.
Fun Fact of the Week #440
Thanks to James for suggesting this week's fun fact, which is a bit of a sequel to a previous fun fact. Fun Fact #336 from February 22, 2021 mentioned Look-In magazine, which is a magazine series that ran Scooby-Doo comics from 1990 through 1994. However, James discovered that apparently there were some Scooby-Doo picture strips run by this magazine three years prior to this in 1987 including Velma and Fred, unlike the later 1990 iteration. Even more interesting, one of the issues includes a Scooby-Dum story! You can look at some of the art on Bill Titcombe's website here.
~ WildwindVampire ~