There are a lot of excellent Scooby-Doo seasons out there, but the one I feel is the most forgotten yet deserves the most praise is the second season of The Scooby-Doo Show. Compared to the rest of the series, the eight episodes in season 2 had a consistently noticeable darker tone to it which I feel was so well executed. There were genuinely some of the creepiest plots in the franchise in this season, which makes it all the more unfortunate that four of these episodes haven’t even made it to DVD yet. In this post, I want to give my review of the season episode-by-episode.
“The Curse of the Viking Lake,” while not the darkest episode of the season, definitely had some pretty creepy moments in it. The episode focuses on the premise of Velma’s uncle being kidnapped by Viking ghosts. As a kid, I always found the idea of Viking ghosts and their ghost ship pretty unique, and still do to this day. The mystery begins quickly in the episode, with one of the most frightening scenes happening right away…Daphne having no mouth! Haha, just kidding…though there was a very odd animation error in which the animators somehow forgot to draw Daphne’s mouth for part of a scene. The actual scene I was going to refer to was Scooby being watched by the Viking in Velma’s uncle’s cabin, but disappearing any time Scooby looked. It’s pretty creepy that the Vikings were still hanging around Velma’s uncle’s house despite the fact that they’d already kidnapped him! It’s even more creepy that the Viking is literally somehow able to open the window from the inside despite his full body being outside at the time…like how is that even possible? lol This episode also did a great job with having the entire atmosphere be very creepy despite the gang going to multiple places: Velma’s uncle’s cabin, the museum, the ghost ship, and finally the Viking cave. I always found the cave to be especially creepy, and also demonstrated how elaborate the villains’ plan was given they hung a picture of the Viking God Odin and prayed to it, despite not actually being real Vikings. There are no weak episodes in this season, which is rare, but if I had to rank them, this one would probably be on the lower end of the season rankings compared to the others.
Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats is one of the darkest episodes of the franchise, no competition. Even the settings seemed like they were drawn in a much darker, edgier way than other episodes, given the whole episode took place at night. This episode’s plot focuses on the gang visiting their friend Lisa, who is about to inherit a hotel from her uncle. However, she learns a shocking secret after a vampire appears, which is that her grandfather is the vampire and wants to kill Lisa. The vampire sneaking into Daphne and Velma’s room while they’re sleeping, and standing over Daphne hissing is perhaps one of the most terrifying moments of the episode. Notice I didn’t say most terrifying though, that scene is reserved for the vampire sitting in the creepy abandoned room calling Lisa on the phone, yet he doesn’t say anything, there’s just the sound of the bell. Something about the vampire’s pose in that scene and the fact that he says nothing is almost more terrifying than if he would have said anything! In addition, the scene where Lisa is actually turned into a vampire is pretty spooky as well. Despite that Scooby-Dum was a goofier character, I thought he fit incredibly well into this episode despite the very dark tone. This one remains one of my favorite Scooby episodes of all time just because of how creepy and dark it is.
Moving on to “Hang in There, Scooby-Doo,” we get a little reprieve from the dark tone, but not much. I think much of the episode taking place during the day made a difference here, but nonetheless, some of the settings were still pretty creepy. The episode centers around the gang entering a hang-gliding competition, but Scooby is captured by a ghostly pterodactyl and they have to search through a spooky cave to find him. Though the cave was spooky, I found the hotel scenes even creepier, particularly the part where the pterodactyl ghost is watching them from the window as well as the scene with Mr. Morguely burning the papers outside. The latter scene had a particularly spooky tone because at one point, the background music completely stops and just has the gang looking for clues in silence. There’s not really a lot to say about this episode, other than the setting of the cave (and the hotel) really made this episode for me. Otherwise, this one would kind of stand out from the rest of season 2 given the mystery itself didn’t have a very dark tone like the others.
“The Creepy Heap from the Deep” again has one of the most terrifying premises in the Scooby franchise. The gang’s beach party is interrupted by a sea monster, and they have to run up to safety at a creepy old house on a cliff. They discover a captain lives there and he tells them the sea monster they saw is a legendary creature named the Creepy Heap from the Deep, who steals souls. That in itself is an incredibly frightening plot for a series technically targeted at children. However, it gets much creepier when the gang leaves the captain alone for a moment, but return to find out the monster has stolen his spirit. As a kid, the utterly blank and ghostly look on Captain Clemens’s face when his soul is stolen freaked me out so much, in addition to the fact that he scrawled a message on the desk that at first look appears to be in his own blood. However, when it’s shown from a different angle, it looks more like it was written in the dust on the table, but still, it’s pretty creepy. Later, when Shaggy and Scooby are alone watching the captain in the house, the spiritless captain gets up and says that now that his spirit is stolen, he has to steal others’ spirits. A brief chase ensues, until Shaggy and Scooby become trapped in a room with the soulless captain trying to break down the door yelling “I must have your spirits!” I was honestly scared of the captain when I was younger because of this scene. Despite me holding this episode in high regard, I feel like the quality dips a little after the “room” Shaggy and Scooby are in is revealed to be an elevator which allows them to escape. I really wish they would have just stayed in the creepy house on the cliff the entire episode, because that was one of the spookiest haunted houses there is in Scooby-Doo IMO. The rest of the episode takes place on a submarine, but the captain somehow gets much less creepy to me. If I may make a comparison to in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated here, I found the captain’s digression to be really similar to The Freak’s. In “Pawn of Shadows,” The Freak holds a giant knife and recites creepy, threatening rhymes. However, in the next episode, “All Fear the Freak,” he speaks broken English and can barely put a sentence together, as well as no longer holding a knife. This always bothered me so much, because they his characterization perfect in “Pawn of Shadows” so I don’t know why they made him so much less scary in “All Fear the Freak.” Anyway, I feel very similar about the captain in the second half of this episode. The captain just kind of makes vague threats (“You will never leave!”) and at one point, a recycled sound effect from the zombie in “Mamba Wamba and the Voodoo Hoodoo” is used in place of his voice. That just always bummed me out because like The Freak, they had the captain’s characterization perfect in the first half of the episode, so I don’t know why they watered it down so much later. Despite my criticism here, I still hold that episode in high esteem because of how terrifying the first half of the episode is.
The very next episode, “The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller” is another one of my favorites. In the episode, Scooby-Doo goes to meet his cousins Scooby-Dum and Scooby-Dee, the latter of which is a big film star working on her latest project, a remake of the Phantom of Milo Booth. Despite the episode being on a train, I found the setting and premise to be pretty dark and creepy. The only dislike I have of this episode is the weird energy going on between Doo and Dum with Scooby-Dee. Them hitting on their own cousin might be creepier than anything in this episode lol. Otherwise, this episode was great for its level of darkness and the spooky settings like the rest of the season. This episode was very versatile in general with the settings going from the train to the cemetery, to Boothville, and then to the Boothville Carnival at the end. The Phantom of Milo Booth was as scary as some other villains in this season, but I still very much liked him as a villain.
“The Spooky Case of the Grand Prix Race” is arguably the most famous Scooby-Doo episode that hasn’t yet made it to DVD. The episode focuses around the gang investigating the Grand Prix Race of 1977 after some drivers disappear. A phantom racecar driver then appears and kidnaps Shaggy, and the gang has to get him back. I really liked how experimental this episode felt. Despite that a race isn’t typically thought of as a dark place for an episode to take place, the entirety of the episode takes place at night (except the very end) which makes it kind of eerie. I also loved how they had Shaggy be the one kidnapped instead of Daphne. At this point, it was almost a given that if anyone was going to be kidnapped in the episode, it was going to be Daphne, so it was nice to see that trope switched up. I thought the Phantom Racer was a very creepy-looking villain as well, and arguably, was the most dangerous foe the gang had fought yet. Most of the villains simply tied people up, but the Phantom Racer attempted to seal Shaggy up in a brick wall forever, which is pretty dark for a Scooby episode! Though I loved the creepy atmosphere of the episode taking place at night in general, the old abandoned house the Phantom Racer brought Shaggy into was super terrifying! They never did end up explaining where that phantom bone at the end came from though haha.
“The Ozark Switch Witch” is another creepy one just because it takes place at an isolated cabin in the woods, and everyone knows that by law, isolated cabins in the woods have to be creepy haha. I loved Witch McCoy as a villain and it was a very elaborate plan on her part to replace all the Hatfields with frogs so quickly. Her lair in the woods was so spooky looking! The zombie was…meh. I don’t want to complain about him because he wasn’t bad, he just wasn’t in the episode enough. He was in one scene before they trapped him, so he felt kind of tacked on, which is unfortunate because I think he could have had a lot of potential as a villain if he were used more.
“Creepy Cruise” is the final episode in the season, and while the plot was very unorthodox, it still has its appeal just due to its dark tone, strange monster, and super elaborate plan. You have to be super dedicated to literally build a time machine (even if it didn’t work) just to swindle people out of their money lol. The creepy bug monster from 6984 was a really interesting villain! And yes, he was from 6984 even if they didn’t say it in the episode. I’ve seen so many sites that say he’s from 6977, but the professor does indeed say “five thousand and seven” (years in the future) right before the monster came out, which would make it 6984 given the episode was released in 1977. Anyways, the ship was a pretty spooky setting, however, that one scene where Shaggy and Scooby dress up to trick the monster at the costume ball is really dumb IMO and does not fit the tone of the rest of the episode at all. It’s the only scene in season 2 I don’t like. There’s just no reason for it to be in there and it feels like time filler. Fun fact though, when I watched this episode on the USA network as a kid (on some VHS tapes my parents recorded), they actually had this scene completely cut (presumably for extra commercials)! I did not know this scene existed until it was rerun on Boomerang when I was a teenager. Normally I would hate the idea of a network cutting a scene out just for extra commercial time, but in this case, I like their edited version better lol.
Despite having some of the most amazing monsters in the franchise, like the vampire, the Creepy Heap and the captain, I think it’s safe to say in analyzing the season as a whole that the dark atmosphere and creepy settings are really what make this season as good as it is. It’s really unfortunate these episodes have not been released on DVD (or across scattered DVDs for a few), because this is one of the most memorable and best Scooby seasons in the franchise IMO. The day we get a season set for these episodes will be a very happy day for myself and I’m sure many other Scooby fans!
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. :)
Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School always manages to bring back tons of good memories and nostalgia from childhood for me. The girl ghouls in the film have arguably acquired a decent-sized following in the fandom over the years, between fan art, fanfiction, and even a random appearance in the Halloween special of OK KO: Let's Be Heroes! in 2018. Since Ghoul School is my favorite Scooby movie to date, I've always wished the girl ghouls would have appeared in more than one Scooby production. While we sadly didn't get that, we did get a TV show that follows the premise of Ghoul School almost exactly. That series is Gravedale High, a TV show from 1990 (two years after Ghoul School) that ran for 13 episodes. In the show, Rick Moranis plays a human teacher named Max Schneider who is hired to work at a school full of ghouls. Sounds pretty familiar, right? Even more familiarly, the series was written by Glenn Leopold, who wrote Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School! In this article, I wanted to highlight and review Gravedale High as sort of a sequel in spirit (there's a bad ghoul pun in there somewhere haha) to Ghoul School.
While there is no danger of supernatural threat like Revolta, I still feel this series is very much like a Ghoul School spin-off show would have been. If you'll forgive the brief plug of my own work, I very much intended my own fanfic about the girl ghouls, titled Fangs for the Memories, to be a coming-of-age style show where the girls have to overcome problems of growing up. This is exactly what we get here: a slice-of-life show about the lives of several monster students. What I really like about this show is that the coming-of-age aspect of it isn't super in-your-face or like a bad after-school special. Most episodes center around a single monster student and the plot is about a problem they face as teenagers.
The characters are also super relatable, and the fact that they all (except one) get their own episode arc makes them quite easy to get to know. There are 9 students in all. The first of which is Frankentyke, who I'll get out of the way because he's the one character that annoys me. He's a very bratty Frankenstein monster, whose name similarly parodies Frankenstein in the same vein as Elsa Frankenteen. As the Wikipedia article about him says, he's the result of if you combined Frankenstein's Monster and Bart Simpson lol. Which is actually pretty accurate, as he says "man" after nearly every line he has. His brattiness and constant overuse of "man" personally annoys me, but it's not unwatchable. Unfortunately, Frankentyke does get three episodes dedicated to him: one in which he feels neglected by his big shot little brother, another where he's ashamed of his father so he creates his own dad, and lastly, one where he is hired as a jockey. The jockey episode is my least favorite of the entire series, simply because it's not very coming-of-age-ish and feels very much like filler. It's also an odd storyline, because Frankentyke is hired as a jockey after it is suddenly discovered he's good with horses, which seems implausible. To conclude my bio of Frankentyke, I'd also go so far as to say he's the most rebellious of the students. Frankentyke is voiced by Frank Welker.
Also voiced by Frank Welker is J.P. Ghastly III, a rich student that loves money and buying stocks. J.P. is kind of a goblinish student, but it's never really confirmed what type of monster he is. J.P. is the one student who does not get his own episode, oddly, so there's really little to say about him.
Sid is an invisible man voiced by Maurice LaMarche, who's perhaps most famous in the Scooby fandom for voicing Vincent Van Ghoul in SDMI and Curse of the 13th Ghost. Sid loves doing impersonations and very much embodies the class clown trope. Sid's episode arc involves him getting sick and going to the hospital, which causes the ghouls to have to venture out into the human world.
Let me start before introducing Cleo that her full name would have likely never been used in today's day and age, due to it potentially being somewhat offensive. Cleo's full name is Cleofatra, and she's a nerdy mummy. She loves soap operas, and in her episode, she becomes pen pals with the star of a monster soap opera, who falls in love with her. However, she has self-esteem issues, which prove problematic in this same episode because she sends a picture of her beautiful best friend, and it ends up being a lesson of sorts about pretending to be someone you're not (in this case, literally).
Gil Waterman is a California surfer dude sea monster (he even has a surfer accent). He and Frankentyke are best friends. He loves surfing, and in the episode that focuses the most on him, he is discovered by a surfer named Kahuna Bob and drops out of school. This causes Kahuna Bob to have to join the monster class, to convince Gil to come back...which kind of makes no sense as we never see Kahuna Bob in the class ever again.
Blanche is a zombie with a Southern Belle's voice, who likes to shop at the mall. I'm guessing what the writers were going for here was to riff on the phrase "mall zombie," which isn't really a saying anymore (which is basically like a material girl/shopaholic, if you haven't heard of the saying, I guess the closest thing to that now would be the phrase "basic bitch" lol?) Can't say I really loved her character either, but I didn't hate her like I do Frankentyke. She's just very whiney and comes off as completely helpless.
Reggie Moonshroud is a nerdy werewolf. He's shown to be really bad at practical skills in the series finale, which centers around Reggie's fear of learning to drive. While he eventually gets the hang of it, he causes a minor car accident, and the woman in the car he hit (literally the definition of a Karen, if that term would have existed in the 90s lol) pretends to be brutally injured and sues him.
At last, we get to my favorite character, Vinnie Stoker (his last name being borrowed from the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker). Vinnie is a Fonz-like vampire, who always acts very cool, and constantly begins each sentence with "Ay, yo!" You're probably wondering why I'm okay with this and not Frankentyke saying "man" at the end of every sentence...I'm not really sure myself haha. I guess I find Vinnie being a parody of the Fonz kind of endearing lol. He generally is the laziest of the students, and always shows up late to class. In his episode arc, he suddenly gains a fear of flying.
Duzer, short for Medusa, is the final student. She's very much a stuck-up Valley girl. Her catchphrase is "get a life!" and she has a crush on Vinnie. I really like Duzer as well, and I'd say she's my second favorite character after Vinnie. She gets two different episodes centered around her: the first being when she borrows money from the class to buy a dress but it gets destroyed, and she has to find a job to pay her friends back. The second episode is about Duzer taking over the school newspaper, and uses it to publish fake news.
Max Schenider is the teacher of the delinquent class of monsters, made up of the nine students above. He's very level-headed and down-to-Earth, and manages to earn the monsters' respect despite their reluctance to trust him at the beginning of the series. Even though we don't get to see Max's first day teaching the class, the students really do get a lot nicer as the series goes on, which is cool to see them all develop as characters. He's quite shocked and a bit afraid of the monsters' strange habits at first, similar to Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy in Ghoul School, but Max does eventually start warming up.
Besides our main characters, we get a few other students throughout: Suey, a pig, Rover, a dog who speaks like Scooby does, and a human fly named Busby. We also get Headmistress Crone, who's the very strict owner of Gravedale High. Coach Cadaver, a hotheaded sleazy coach, also shows up in several episodes of the series. I actually didn't know this until just now when I looked it up, but he's voiced by Jonathan Winters! Come to think of it, the coach sounds incredibly similar to when Jonathan Winters was pretending to be a general in the barn during "The Frickert Fracas." We also get a chef named Sal, a bad-breathed 5000 year old mummy named Mr. Tuttner (voiced by Tim Curry) and Boneyard, an undertaker-like character who is a driver. I guess there's also Clawford, the pet cat, and a mouse named Bella that he always chases, but any scene with Clawford and Bella just seems like filler to me.
Overall, I think this series is a great coming-of-age show that deals with issues of growing up such as being yourself, being responsible, letting fame go to your head, fear, jealousy, and much more. Listing out all those lessons probably makes it sound more boring than it is, but seriously, it's a great show that knows how to have fun and be witty/silly along the way.
I wish I could share a place to watch this, but there really isn't any. This show has been kind of forgotten about and has never gotten any releases on DVD and digital. I wanted to review it on here just because it's so much what I've always imagined Ghoul School would be like if it was a series. Hopefully you enjoyed this review and maybe it even provided a blast from the past if you've seen this series before. For those who haven't seen it and want to, I guess the best I can offer is that there are certainly less than legal ways to watch it online, which is all I'll say haha.
I'm not sure how common of knowledge this is to Scooby fans, since it's rarely talked about, but one thing that has always bothered me a ton is that there's quite a bit of debate around the order of many episodes of Scooby-Doo. Certain DVDs and other sources list episodes in one order, yet other sources claim a slightly different order. In this post, I will highlight all the inconsistencies in episode order within the Scooby-Doo franchise.
Perhaps the most controversial of the episodes with uncertain order. Many people believe "A Clue for Scooby-Doo is the second episode of the series, due to the different title card like the first episode had. However, "Hassle in the Castle" is listed as the second episode on several DVD sets. While it is likely "A Clue for Scooby-Doo" was indeed produced first, if I had to guess, "Hassle in the Castle" most likely aired second while "A Clue for Scooby-Doo" aired third, which would explain the confusion. Shows often don't air in the order they are produced in if the show doesn't have any overarching plotline from episode to episode. I want to make clear that "Hassle" being second and "Clue" being third is just my own theory. I have no official confirmation to back this up.
"Spooky Space Kook" and "Go Away Ghost Ship" are two more episodes with uncertain order. Some people believe "Go Away Ghost Ship" aired fourteenth, while others believe "Spooky Space Kook" was the fourteenth. There's also no consistency from the DVD sets either...some sets list "Space Kook" as fourteenth while others list "Ghost Ship" as fourteenth. Personally, I believe "Space Kook" is fourteenth and "Ghost Ship" is fifteenth, just because it's listed that way on the original Where Are You DVD set.
The twentieth and twenty-first episode are also highly debated in the Scooby franchise. Some say "Jeepers It's the Creeper" is episode 20, others believe "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright" is episode 20. Again, I go with the original DVD set, which lists "Creeper" as episode 20 and "Frozen Fright" as episode 21.
The New Scooby-Doo Movies is all in the correct order. There's nothing really debated with that series, so let's move on to The Scooby-Doo Show.
"The Creepy Heap from the Deep" is a very odd one, because it's not two episodes switched around. "The Creepy Heap from the Deep" is said to be either episode 20 or 24. It's a very random misconception which I'm not sure how it came about, as it's not on any idea. I guess personally, more places seem to say it's episode 20 than 24, so that's my belief. Amazon and Boomerang list it as episode 20, so I trust that. iTunes lists it as episode 24...kind of...they list the airdate as being after "Creepy Cruise," but it and "Creepy Cruise" are switched around creating more confusion. I choose to trust the other two sources, as iTunes's order seems really confused, given they list "Creepy Heap from the Deep" as airing on October 29, 1977 and "Creepy Cruise" as airing October 22, but have those episodes switched around. (I have no idea if I'm making any sense, so if you're confused about the iTunes explanation, look at the page and you'll see what I mean). iTunes also completely spoils "The Curse of the Viking Lake" and has an incorrect description for "Hang in There, Scooby-Doo" about the gang meeting dinosaurs and cavemen.
Skipping over the 1979 Scrappy series which has no issues, we now get to The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour, The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour, and The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show. You may as well just give up trying to decipher the order of this, because every site lists every short in in a different order. For consistency, I go with Amazon and Boomerang's order for everything except episodes 1-21. For those episodes, I go by The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour Volume 1 DVD. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries is pretty much fine, with the exception of the shorts "The Dooby Dooby Doo Ado" and "Showboat Scooby" being switched around. I personally choose to go by Amazon and Boomerang's order, which has "Dooby" first and "Showboat" next.
There isn't really too much "debate" among the fandom with this series, more of just an interesting note to point out. For some reason, Boomerang lists these episodes in kind of an odd order on their streaming service, and I also remember they always aired them in this order on the television network as well in reruns. Just quick skimming through this because their order is so convoluted, they first aired episodes 1 and 2, then jumped to episodes 5 and 6, went back to episode 4, then jumped to 8, went back to 7, jumped to 10, went back to 9, went way back to 3, then finally aired the final three in order, episodes 11, 12, and 13. I just thought that was interesting enough to note here.
Now we're getting back into some understandable simple episode switches! "The Schnook Who Took My Comic Book" and "Wanted Cheddar Alive" are the first ones which are commonly debated from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Some people believe "Schnook" is episode 3, others think "Cheddar" is episode 3. The Volume 1 DVD and the Season 1 DVD disagree on this matter. I'm going by the season sets again for this one, which says "Cheddar" is episode 3 and "Schnook" is episode 4.
Another day, another uncertain order. "Snow Place Like Home" and "Now Museum, Now You Don't" are both believed to be episode 7, depending on who you ask. Volume 2 lists them one way, and the Complete Season 1 DVD set lists them another. Personally, I go with the season set again here, which lists "Snow" as episode 7 and "Museum" as episode 8.
There are a lot of uncertainties in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, but there's luckily no confusion within season 2, so we jump right to season 3. "Wrestle Maniacs" is listed as episode 24 on the volume 6 DVD, while "Horror of the Haunted Hairpiece" is listed episode 24 on the season set. Again, I go with the season set on this one.
The end of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is especially befuddling. "The Were-Doo of Doo Manor" is listed as the 26th episode on the season set (albeit incorrectly as "The Weredog of Doo Manor," while volume 7 lists it as episode 27. I've even seen some sites list it as the series finale, episode 30. This creates more confusion with "Mayhem of the Moving Mollusk," which is episode 26 on the volume 7 set, but the series finale on the season set. To make things more confusing, the three shorts ("Catcher on the Sly," "The Ghost of Mrs. Shusham," and "The Wrath of Waitro") also get wrapped up in this confusion, with volume 7 listing those three episodes as the last of the series. At risk of sounding inconsistent, those three shorts being the last of the series make sense to me, so I choose to go with the volume order on this one: "Mollusk" 26th, "Were-Doo" 27th, and the shorts as 28th, 29th, and 30th.
In What's New, Scooby-Doo?, the only confusion is between episode 2, thought to be both "Space Ape at the Cape" and "3-D Struction" depending on who you ask. Neither the season set nor volume sets, nor any official source that I know of, list "3-D Struction" as episode 2, so "Space Ape at the Cape" is episode 2 in my mind, whereas "3-D Struction" is episode 3. C'mon, it even has 3 in the title lol!
Nothing is switched around in Get A Clue or SDMI. Be Cool doesn't have any ordering issues per se, but in worry of this becoming an issue down the line all the aforementioned episodes have, the two shorts "Pizza O'Possum's" and "The Curse of Half-Beard's Booty" technically did air last in pretty much all countries. Despite this, the two-part "Professor Huh?" is the clear finale that wraps up the series, whereas the two shorts do not do this at all. What specifically happened here is that these two shorts were made as a "test run" for a third season that didn't end up being made. The head writer, Jon Colton Barry, was not involved in the writing of these shorts. In fact, he's publicly said both of these shorts are too off-model, completely disowning "Pizza O'Possum's" for the poor representation of video game addiction in the episode. I think, despite the fact that we know the order it aired in, these shorts can get an exception as they should have clearly been placed 50th, since it has been confirmed by the head writer that "Professor Huh?" was the intended finale.
Let's give a warm welcome to our latest addition to the "confused order" club, which is "Space Station Scooby"! With the reveal of the back cover of the season 1 DVD, "Space Station Scooby" was listed as episode 14, despite being listed on all streaming services as episode 26 and airing as episode 26. Would "The High School Wolfman's Musical Lament!" have been a better finale, like it's listed on the set? Yeah, IMO it would have, given the references to past villains. But with this one, it's not really a "clear" finale. It's an ideal one, but it doesn't need to be last, so I'd say the airing order stands here. I can totally see the order of this one becoming another one where people get confused down the line due to the inconsistency, so that's why I'm adding it to this post here and now, on the day it was announced so there can be no confusion lol.
Hope you enjoyed this fun little post! This makes me wish there was some sort of official guide that could clear up all these ordering issues, but sadly, there is not. There is the two-part Scooby-Doo Character Reference Guide written by Joe Locicero, published in 1995, that lists orders for all these episodes. However, they also put some episodes that no one was confused on the order in a different order than is thought by the general fandom, so I wouldn't really count this as an official, all-knowing source since it confuses things even further that no one had been confused about before. Maybe someday we'll get some official confirmation of the order, but I'd say as the years go on, that chance gets less likely. I think studio records will continue to get confused (as we see now with the Guess Who season 1 DVD), and it will get harder and harder to figure out the orders. I'd say our only chance is if someone has images of old TV Guides that list episode names for each of these weeks we're confused about, but that's a bit slim. Fingers crossed that maybe we'll find information to make all this confusion will become confusing as the years go on!
Scooby aside, I think most of us can agree this has been a pretty crappy year with the pandemic. With the pandemic, my typical year-end list isn't going to be as long as it usually is, since not as much content could be put out. This year, let's break down the top 7 things have happened within the Scooby-Doo franchise.
7. Playmobil Scooby-Doo
This year, Playmobil released 9 new Scooby-Doo sets and bunch of figures, including figures of all the gang and 12 villain figures. While I haven't personally purchased these, I'm really glad that they've been so popular!
6. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Comics
While I haven't really been keeping up-to-date with these as much due to the overuse of stock art, there were five new issues of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? comics released this year (#103-#107). This is considerably less than normal, due to the pandemic delaying several of the comics.
5. Funko Pops
A bunch of new Funko Pop! figures were released this year as collectibles, including ones from the movie SCOOB! I really like these; they're so cute!
4. Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! was released on DVD at Wal-Mart on September 15, and everywhere else (including digital platforms) on October 6. Despite this being yet another crossover film, I thought this was one of the best DTVs we've gotten in years. It had a very unique vibe to it and truly felt like a Halloween movie. As I said in my review of the film, it felt like SDMI and Be Cool Scooby-Doo had a baby and this was the result. It truly took the best elements of both series and combined them into one great movie.
3. Scooby-Doo & Guess Who: 28 New Episodes
Compared to other years where we haven't gotten much Scooby content at all, we were pretty blessed when it came to new episodes of Guess Who this year. 28 new episodes of Guess Who aired in 2020. The second half of season 1 aired between February and May in most countries, and we finally got it in the US on July 2, 2020. On October 1, Boomerang surprised us all for Scoobtober and posted the first 13 episodes of season 2. On November 13, to honor Alex Trebek after his sudden death, Boomerang posted a fourteenth season 2 episode, "Total Jeopardy!" featuring Trebek as a guest star. Finally, the UK and Poland also aired "Lost Soles of Jungle River!" featuring Jason Sudeikis, which many of us have gotten to see.
2. Daphne & Velma Novels
I know these novels get a lot of hate from fans because Scooby can't talk in them, or people think it's somehow connected to the Daphne & Velma movie (which it's not), but these novels have been amazing in my opinion. We got the first two of them this year (one on March 3 and the other on July 7), with a third already announced for release next year. These novels follow Daphne and Velma trying to solve mysteries in the town of Crystal Cove, and feature tons of fun references to prior Scooby content. These novels have a more mature tone than the series, and are marketed towards young adults rather than the typical G-rated audience of the franchise. If you enjoy reading, I highly recommend these books and I feel like it's exactly what those of us who have wanted a more mature take on Scooby have been looking for. I can't wait for #3 next year!
Sadly, this movie got a lot of hate. Fans were pretty devastated when it was announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the theatrical release of the film on May 15 was cancelled. However, the film was not held back, and was turned into a direct-to-video film so it could still release as planned on May 15. I loved SCOOB! personally and found it to be a very sweet, entertaining origin story for the gang. Though it didn't really have the gang chasing monsters, I liked the direction they took it in. I thought all the voice actors did a very good job as well. This was a very feel-good movie, and it was fun to finally watch what we had been hearing about since August 2013!
Looking ahead to 2021, I'm hoping it will be a better year in general as we all are, but I'm hoping it will be especially good for Scooby-Doo content. Here are a couple things I'm looking forward to in the upcoming year:
1. Scooby-Doo DTVs: Sword and the Scoob & Courage the Cowardly Dog Crossover
I can't wait to see these two DTVs, especially the rumored Courage crossover! I know a lot of people are worried about it staying true to the tone of Courage, so I hope they've learned their lesson from Return to Zombie Island and Curse of the 13th Ghost. The Sword and the Scoob seems like it will be a lot of fun as well, especially since we'll get to learn a bit more about Shaggy's relatives.
2. Scooby-Doo and the Lost City of Gold
While this play was supposed to happen this year, very few shows were able to happen due to COVID-19. I feel bad for the actors as I'm sure they all worked super hard on this, so I'm really hoping they'll be able to make up the majority of those shows that were cancelled!
3. The Final 11 Guess Who Episodes
It's hard to believe we're already down to the final 11 episodes of Guess Who. I'm really excited to see the rest of these and I hope they're as good as many of the recent episodes have been! So far, we know 7 of the 11 guest stars - Dynomutt & Blue Falcon, Lucy Liu, Sean Astin, Jessica Biel, KISS, Cher and the voice actors themselves. We also know a football episode will happen sometime in these 11 episodes.
I hope everyone has a wonderful start to 2021, and let's all hope it's a better year than 2020 has been!
When it comes to Scooby, there's a lot of great scores (otherwise known as background music for those not familiar with the term) within the various series and films over the years. To me, there have always been five that have stand out and I'd like to break them down in this article.
The score for Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is top notch, in my opinion. It creates such a creepy vibe for the episodes, and supplements the mysteries by setting the mood. I personally love the reveal music when the gang is breaking down the villains' plans each episode. Clearly, WB liked it too, as they continued using it in several DTVs to explain the villain's plan, even as recently as 2017's LEGO Scooby-Doo: Blowout Beach Bash, four years after the finale of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island's score has always stood out to me as very cinematic. It feels super mature and like it could be included in a regular non-Scooby live-action film, and really sets that creepy mood. Though Zombie Island stands out as the best of the four films of that era to me, there's no denying that Witch's Ghost, Alien Invaders and Cyber Chase also have amazing scores and would have been next on the list if it would have continued beyond the top 5.
For me, a good score is always able to set the mood by supplementing whatever's going on in the scene. You may be saying to yourself, "well duh, when doesn't that happen?" In discussing my third favorite Scooby score, I'll share an example of where I feel a good score just didn't work.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?'s score is such a classic that I can't imagine anyone not liking it. It sets a creepy, yet sometimes upbeat mood that fits perfectly with the tone of the episode and adds to it. While all the different background music in Where Are You seems very tailored to fit the scene, I feel like The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo's use of the Where Are You score highlights just how well the score fit in the original series. 13 Ghosts did have its own score, but they also incorporated some of the Where Are You score within some of the episodes. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I feel like the Where Are You score just didn't fit in 13 Ghosts and shouldn't have been included. 13 Ghosts should have stayed with the darker score, because the more whimsical upbeatness of some of the Where Are You background music doesn't fit with Scooby trying to escape Maldor the Malevolent's castle or the gang running away from Zomba. I feel like this demonstrates how much Where Are You's score was created to match the scenes in the show, because it being repurposed in a different show has always felt off to me.
In comparison, I do like the updated version of the Where Are You music worked in the two 2003 DTVs (Legend of the Vampire and Monster of Mexico) where the old cast returned to voice their characters. It was updated in a way that was tasteful and consistent with the original, but it also felt like was updated enough where it didn't feel like they were trying to force the Where Are You tone on those films.
Ghoul School has a wonderful score that is super fitting for the atmosphere of Grimwood's. It's always been one of my favorites because of it being spooky, but kind of a playful spooky, which works so well with the plot point of Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy discovering that despite that the students are all ghouls, they're still friendly and not a threat that needs running away from.
My favorite Scooby-Doo score is hands down Boo Brothers, no competition. It creates such a fun spooky environment for the film to take place in, but also isn't afraid to get really dark when something frightening happens. This type of fluid score is exactly what I want in Scooby-Doo background music, and is arguably part of what makes this film so amazing (in my opinion). I wish they'd publicly release the full scores for this one (and maybe Ghoul School) on a CD or digitally, because it's so amazing that I'd honestly listen to it on its own!
I wrote about this article topic for a reason. I've got a little surprise for you all...I've been working these past few weeks on a "Music of Scooby-Doo" page that provides a listing of all the soundtracks, as well as a reference list of all the songs that have appeared in Scooby episodes and films. I thought this reference list would be helpful for if people are watching Scooby episodes/films and want to know the name of a certain song that appears. There were quite a few songs not credited, however (especially the chase songs for Pup and Be Cool), and I didn't want to guess on the names and get it wrong, so those are not included in the list. You can check out the new page here.
Amazingly, Guess Who has nearly come to a close and we're just waiting for the final 13 episodes (or 12 if you're lucky enough to have seen the Jason Sudeikis episode in the UK) at this point. Besides the obvious of wanting to see cool guest stars and spooky mysteries, I wanted to dive deeper and write this month's short editorial article on a few specific things I'd like to see in the final few Guess Who episodes.
One thing that has been somewhat inconsistent, but getting better, in the Guess Who episodes is the over-focus on the guest star. Sometimes, it feels like the writers focus so much on making the episode about the guest star that the actual mystery is neglected, and one's enjoyment of the episode is almost entirely dependent on their like or dislike of the guest star. Personally, this is why I did not enjoy the Ricky Gervais episode, among some others where the guest star was overbearingly present in the episode. They've been doing better with it in the second half of season 1 and season 2, but certain episodes were still "meh" to me because of not enough mystery development.
Looking at the other side of it, I think the guest star should at least have a decent amount of presence in the episode, so they can contribute something. The Joey Chestnut episode felt like he was a side character because he was written so blandly, for example. I hope in the second half of season 2, that there is a consistent better balance of guest star presence, so they at least have a role to play but not so much of a role that it takes away time from the mystery or other members of the gang.
Overall though, I think the episodes are really improving from where we were at the beginning of season 1. We got some great episodes in the first half of season 2, especially Kristen Schaal and Morgan Freeman in which I felt the guest stars fit in perfectly with the plots of the episode. Which brings me to my last point: the guest star should actually seem interested in their role. In some episodes, the line delivery of guest stars seems very bland and forced, with episodes like Kacey Musgraves, Bill Nye & Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Jim Gaffigan being the ones coming to mind. It makes the episode less fun IMO if the guest star is just going through the motions or just there for the sake of claiming they have a guest star on the show.
I can't wait for the second half of season 2, and I'm hoping we get it soon!
While I don't think it's a super unpopular opinion, I argue the 1980s Scooby-Doo movies are pretty underrated. These three films, Boo Brothers, Ghoul School and Reluctant Werewolf, are generally pretty well-liked among most Scooby fans, but I definitely have gotten some surprised remarks from some fans for calling these three among the best of the best that Scooby films have to offer. Something about these three films has remained pretty much unparalleled (except the 1998-2001 films) throughout the entire franchise. In this article, I will share my opinion as to why these films remain at the top of my favorites list despite several new Scooby films coming out each year.
In general, I think Scrappy is more toned down in these films, which puts them as a lot of people's favorite Scrappy material in the franchise. Specifically with Boo Brothers, it brought the franchise back to the mystery-solving roots that it had been lacking with previous 80s content featuring just Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy. One could also argue that the large amount of villains in Boo Brothers makes it not focused enough, but honestly, I feel the numerous villains makes it better. I look at it as "you can't begin to imagine the horrors around this house" kind of way. We also really have no idea which of the ghouls are real, and which are fake, even at the end of the film, and this provides room for some deeper thinking/analysis when trying to determine which of the ghosts' appearances were real and which were fake. I still believe that the Skull Ghost was real that first appearance he showed up, and that many of Uncle Beauregard's appearances were his real ghost.
One thing I really appreciate about Boo Brothers is its soundtrack. Even if you hate the movie, I feel you have to admit that this movie has top-notch background music all throughout. Lastly, I think the plot point of the scavenger hunt also provides almost a mystery-within-a-mystery, because we don't really realize that the ghosts have something to do with the scavenger hunt (and they may not have, if they were real some of the time) until towards the end of the film.
Moving on to Ghoul School, which is my favorite Scooby film to date. Hands down. Nothing compares to it. I think the amazing thing about Ghoul School is how well they integrate new characters into the plot and make us warm up to them quickly. All 5 ghouls, in my opinion, are very sweet, likable characters who many of us find adorable (especially Tanis). Though the first half of the film mainly focuses on the girl ghouls, the second half causes a questioning of everything Shaggy and Scooby have ever believed: that not all monsters are bad when Revolta and the Grim Creeper ends up capturing the girls for her evil plans, and they realize that the girl ghouls actually are the "good guys." It's a really neat plot point IMO, that I explore a bit in my fanfic Fangs for the Memories (shameless plug alert), that not all monsters are necessarily bad. In my opinion, this would have been even cooler if this was the first time Shaggy and Scooby met real monsters, as it would have caused a crisis of beliefs of sorts for them realizing that some real monsters are good. All in all, this film just has a really fun, spooky vibe to it with very relatable new characters in an intriguing situation.
Reluctant Werewolf seems to get the least attention of these three. I'll admit, Dracula turning Shaggy into a werewolf to participate in a car race is a very wacky plot, but once it gets going, I find myself really enjoying this one almost as much as the others. It's a very fun, different comedy romp that isn't afraid to be a bit dark and spooky at times (particularly in the scenes with Dracula's castle, and the escape at the end). I'd say this one is probably the least memorable of the three, and Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost for sure overtake it. As for whether Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost overtake Boo Brothers and Ghoul School, I would say no. They don't overtake them, they're just like 0.0000001% below Boo Brothers and Ghoul School personally for me.
A common theme within these three films is that they are a bit scarier in tone, and the stakes are far more real because the gang is literally dealing with real ghosts and monsters. Boo Brothers in particular has a very scary, dark tone to it I think, especially since most of the film is the gang walking around outside in the middle of the night, but Ghoul School kind of gets dark too in the second half with Revolta. Reluctant Werewolf is more silly, but the scenes within Dracula's Castle (especially when they wake up from their trance, the part where they're going through the secret passage, and their escape from Dracula at the end) are pretty spooky in tone.
It would be amiss not to say that some of this is personal nostalgia. These three were the first ever Scooby movies I saw as a kid, so I have very fond memories of watching these when I was little. I think Reluctant Werewolf is especially nostalgia-driven for me, as it's definitely a bit more of a zany plot than the other two.
In this age of sequels coming out like Curse of the 13th Ghost and Return to Zombie Island, would I like to see sequels to these? If they could stay true to the source material, sure. I don't think Boo Brothers particularly needs a sequel since most of it's wrapped up (and I think it arguably makes it spookier to not know whether the ghosts were real in certain instances or not), but I'd be down for one if they could come up with a compelling, non-forced plot and kept it true to the original. In terms of Ghoul School, I think a sequel where Revolta returned, since we don't really know what happened to her, could be fun. Reluctant Werewolf is an absolute yes for a sequel, because it ends on a cliffhanger where Dracula and the Hunch Bunch appear at Shaggy's window saying that they're back. Again though, all of these would need to stay true to the source material. I don't want anything like Return to Zombie Island or Curse of the 13th Ghost done with these three movies, as IMO these two direct sequels have done enough damage already.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that it maybe took you on a trip down memory lane! I try to watch these three every Halloween, even though they're not specifically Halloween themed (2 of them at least, I guess Ghoul School has a Halloween scene), so I thought this would be a fun one to do given the time period. I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this, so if you have any, feel free to share in the comments!
There are a lot of different ideas of what constitutes a "good" Scooby-Doo series out there. Many fans love Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! for its wit and strong three-dimensional characters, while somewhat disliking the latest series, Guess Who, for playing it too safe and nostalgic. Some fans love Guess Who for going back to the classic formula, and hate Be Cool for the animation style. Other fans love them both.
This discrepancy seems to be a common thread for any Scooby series - some fans love certain series, while others hate the very same series. This seems to be a struggle for WB as well, as they are clearly trying out different things to attempt to please the fans.
So how can WB please the vast majority of fans? What is the perfect recipe for a successful Scooby-Doo series?
So these are my proposed ingredients for a good Scooby series, that weren't already obvious like "cool villains!", "all five characters," and "spooky chases!". Of course, you can never please every single person, because there's always going to be that one person who hates something. I argue, however, that these are the core ingredients for making a good Scooby series beloved by all, and this is the direction WB should be going with the franchise. This is purely my opinion, however, and should not be interpreted as reflecting the wishes of every person in the general fandom.
Do you agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Let me know in the comments!
Last October, I wrote an article titled "The Forgotten Scooby Clone Show," which highlighted how The Flintstones actually attempted to mirror Scooby's formula in the 1979 series The New Fred and Barney Show. At the end of this article, I briefly mentioned how The Flintstone Comedy Show had a segment that included Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm solving mysteries, but how I hadn't seen it yet. Now, I have a subscription to the Boomerang app, and with some extra time during the pandemic, I've finally gotten to check these out! This is the subject of "part 2" of this article.
Before I dive into talking about Pebbles, Dino, and Bamm-Bamm, the name of this mystery solving segment, I want to give some background on The Flintstone Comedy Show which might intrigue Scooby fans. Scooby was actually not the only show to go through the "Richie Rich Hour" phase. The same year as Scooby, in 1980, The Flintstones franchise experimented with changing their format into 7-minute shorts. The Flintstone Comedy Show, in fact, had several similarities to The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour. In addition to running two seasons, each "hour" was divided into 6 seven-minute segments to make up a full episode. However, while Scooby-Doo and Richie Rich remained completely separate of each other during this hour, never crossing over besides one brief mention of Scooby-Doo in a Richie Rich episode, The Flintstone Comedy Show remained true to the original format for three of the six segments. The other three segments were various spin-offs of The Flintstones show, including Dino and Cavemouse (a Tom and Jerry type romp where Dino chases after an annoying mouse), Captain Caveman in which Wilma and Betty work at a news outlet, solving crimes with Captain Caveman. Captain Caveman was disguised for most of the time as an intern named "Chester," but whenever crime struck, he would change into his Captain Caveman persona (a la Superman). The third of these "spin-off" segments was Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm. As a side note to anyone wondering, the three more original segments were, Bedrock Cops, where Fred and Barney were cops in Bedrock, The Frankenstones, in which a weird new Addams-esc family moves next door to The Flintstones, and finally The Flintstone Family Adventures, which is basically an exact replica of the original series made into shorter segments.
But on to the subject of this article, Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm. This had a very Where Are You-like format, where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm (along with their pet Dino) are doing teenager-like things around town, but run into a new mystery each episode involving a monster in a mask. There are numerous similarities to Scooby-Doo, and it's obvious to even someone who's not a big Scooby fan that they copied the formula exactly. Each episode consists of them finding clues, then capturing the monster (usually inadvertently, no traps were set). Bamm-Bamm and Dino are very much played up to be the Shaggy and Scooby of the group, both terrified of monsters, while Pebbles is the one with an affinity for mystery like Velma, and solving the cases with the reluctant help of Dino and Bamm-Bamm. There are even door gags throughout, and Dino regularly mimics the monster much like Scooby, contorting his body to look like the creature he just saw, to show Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm.
So, is this a good "Scooby clone" series for Scooby fans to watch then? It's just like Where Are You, right? No, I would actually recommend you don't watch most of these episodes. These suffered from the same issues the Richie Rich Hour did, sadly. The plots were generally a bit rushed, with just enough time for them to find a single clue and "suddenly" figure it all out instantly, which was a bit of a letdown. The pacing is really off because there was no time to develop a proper storyline. Many of the villains in the first season talked non-stop with annoying ad libs, whereas it could have been better if they were just quiet or made a spooky noise or something. I think it works when villains talk, but not when they talk constantly. The main issue is that there's no time to develop a proper plot in those 7 minutes, so everything ends up rushed. While every episode did feature a person in a mask (thankfully, it wasn't just aimlessly running around from normal people sometimes like the Richie Rich Hour was), the majority of episodes did not introduce the culprit in advance, so it's just some random person you'd never met before. In the few episodes that did introduce the culprit before they were unmasked, there would usually only be one person they met, so it was painfully obvious it was them. One episode did feature two people, but one of them decided to go into the haunted mines (the location of the episode) with Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino, and then the other person that didn't go into the mines let out of an obnoxious "Hmmm!", and we get a ten-second shot zooming in on them looking suspicious of the person who went into the mines with them...so it's obvious lol.
The show wasn't all bad, however. Atmospherically, it's very much like Where Are You. The villains also have cool designs in most cases. The bads do greatly outweigh the goods, which makes this something that's not really worth watching. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that much of the dialogue in certain episodes is really stilted and poorly written, which is another big downside. If I had to sum up the issue with this series, they had good ideas but they were in most cases, poorly executed.
In case you do want to check out this series though, I want to give a rundown on my picks for the best episodes you should watch, and the worst episodes that you should absolutely avoid. Let's get the worst out of the way first!
There are three episodes that are specifically really dumb. The first of these is "Double Trouble with Long John Silverrock." It's really a shame, because this one had the potential to be one of the best episodes in the series. I personally love haunted house aesthetics, and the plot revolves around Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm going into a house haunted by the ghost of Long John Silverrock. What ruins this episode though is that the person voicing the ghost is awful to the point of sounding apathetic about the role, and speaks the entirety of his lines in a monotone voice, wrecking any possible spook factor there might have been.
The second-worst episode goes to "The Legend of Haunted Forest," again due to a horrible villain, but also a terribly written plot. This episode has Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino visiting a forest which is haunted by the ghost of Paul Bunstone (a parody of the lumberjack Paul Bunyan), who chases them shouting "Timber!" which is all he says. It's so dumb. In addition, after the three leave for the night and come back in the morning, the huge forest is somehow all cut down in one night from "loggers," and they just randomly dump the logs in the river. That seemed like a stupid and unrealistic plot point, and combined with the ghost's catchphrase, it made the episode almost painful to watch.
The #1 worst episode is "In Tune With Terror," no competition. I've never taken any sort of hallucinatory substance before, but I imagine watching "In Tune With Terror" is probably what it would feel like. The ending just made no sense whatsoever. It featured a Phantom of the Opera type character, but somehow, at the end, his music is somehow able to magically make anything he wants to happen. This leads to a battle-of-the-bands type thing, where random instruments that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm pick up also gain magical powers. We get at least a full minute of lightning bolts of music competing against each other, until the phantom is just randomly defeated because his instrument can't take anymore. It's later explained that the phantom's musical instruments gained power via a short cord plugged into the wall, made to give the illusion of looking like magic. However, this episode takes place in a cave that was at least 50 feet down, so the explanation makes no sense. We also get no explanation for how Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's instruments suddenly also gained magical powers. This episode seriously made me question why I decided to watch these lol. To show you how ridiculous it is, here's a GIF of the ending.
One honorable mention for one of the worst episodes is "The Show Must Go On," in which they somehow managed to cram two minutes of filler. The villain itself, an ape, was sort of random for a theater setting. It felt like they just didn't know how to end it right, so they tacked on two minutes of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm performing onto the end. If you have put 2 minutes of filler onto an episode that's already 7 minutes, that's how you know you have a bad episode.
Now to the good episodes that I would highly recommend you watch! In the first part of this article, I mentioned that I had seen the first two of the episodes when I was a kid, due to having them on a rare Flintstones Comedy Show VHS I had. Sadly, those two episodes are both in my top 3 (out of 18 total episodes in the series). The quality kinda dropped off a cliff after those first two, with the exception of one season 2 episode that was really good.
Let's start with "Monster Madness," one I'd seen as a kid. Honestly, the plot on this one is kind of weak, I will admit. What I really liked about this episode is that it took place in a haunted castle led by Dracula, which had pretty much every Universal monster you can imagine. If not for that, it's a very rushed plot that has no time to really develop. Dracula's pet wolf had a really neat design though!
Before I get to my all-time favorite, the very first episode, I want to talk about that odd season 2 episode that was really good. It was also the only episode that did not feature anyone in a mask. The plot focuses on Dino getting lost in the woods, and finding a creepy lair of giant spiders. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, desparate to find their lost pet, run into a spooky-looking house owned by a woman only known as "The Spider Lady." Her design is pretty good, but the creepiest part is how she speaks every single "s" as a hissing noise, regardless of where it is in the word. It creates a really creepy aesthetic and does something different that I loved.
Hands-down the BEST episode of the series, and I would say a must-watch if you can, is "Ghost Sitters." The episode takes place in a super creepy skull-shaped house, where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are babysitting a bratty young boy. The boy suddenly disappears, and the ghost of Big Bronto Billy (a cowboy who is rumored to haunted the place) tries to scare them away. This episode perfectly captures the creepy atmosphere and doesn't rush the story along like most others do. The Ghost of Bronto Billy genuinely has a really spooky design, especially when they show him to be creeping towards them as a shadow. This is what this series should have been, and what I was hoping it would be when I saw it as a kid (I did rewatch this and "Monster Madness" FYI, so it's not just my nostalgia or poor memory talking).
Honorable mentions include "Dino and the Zombies," which has a good story and creepy cemetery aesthetic, however it's really not clear if they're wearing costumes or not, or just really ugly people who they mistook for zombies. They are shown in jail at the end, but are all still wearing their "disguises," so I'm not sure if it was just laziness on Hanna-Barbera's part or if they were just creepy looking people.
A second honorable mention is "A Night of Fright," which again gets that haunted house aesthetic down and reminds me of those New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes where there wasn't one centralized villain, but rather a lot of different spooks and scares. The reason this didn't make it into my favorites is because the explanation at the end as to why the culprits did what they did is "They were trying to scare everyone away from their house!" Nope, I didn't leave anything out. That's what it was explained as. Scaring someone away from your own property isn't exactly illegal, and it's not really clear what they did wrong, but the cop throws them in jail for some reason anyway. I just thought it was a really dumb explanation, in addition to some of the "ghosts" just being random animals rather than actual spirits, which would have been better.
That about does it for this article! From a completist standpoint, I'm glad I got the chance to see these episodes finally, since they were technical "Scooby clones." However, beyond the 3 episodes I listed as favorites (maybe the two honorable mentions too...they were fun, but then again, there are also better things you could watch), I would not recommend watching this series, and the honorable mentions demonstrate this perfectly. Even in some of the good episodes, corners were definitely cut and certain elements feel rushed and/or poorly put together. It's clear The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour's issue with good story development was not centralized to that specific series, but rather, a probable overall issue with Hanna-Barbera rushing to make content during this era.
Since I imagine it would interest some people, I'm going tack on screencaps of the rest of the ghouls and monsters in this series, starting with the Skull House (which isn't a villain, but it's cool!) and the ghost of Bronto Billy, whom is my favorite villain,.