A Ranking of the Scooby-Doo Specials
At long last, after ranking the movies and series, I've ranked all the Scooby specials! I don't feel any of them are super strong and the rankings were pretty easy to do unlike the series and movies, but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy my rankings.
11. Ghastly Goals
This one earns its spot as dead last for not only a boring storyline, but also bad animation. As I mentioned in my recent post about my top 10 least favorite Scooby-Doo episodes, the plot felt very underdeveloped and it felt like they were really stretching the mystery. The animation also felt a bit lazy to me, as many of the crowd shots were just a blur of color, and the backgrounds were sometimes sloppily drawn during close-ups.
10. LEGO Scooby-Doo: Knight Time Terror
This one was very middle-of-the-road for me. It's definitely a quality increase from Ghastly Goals, but the plot itself felt a bit underdeveloped and rushed. I liked Haunted Hollywood much better. There's honestly nothing more I really have to say about this one because it's just that mediocre haha.
9. Mecha Mutt Menace
There was a bit of a noticeable quality drop from some of the earlier 2012 DTV specials and these 2013 ones, but this one isn't bad like Ghastly Goals by any means. I thought the Mecha Mutt was a decent villain and the plot of the gang being at the Space Station was neat. I did not care for Daphne being jealous of Fred, however, as that plot had just been in Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright, and as a result, it felt like overkill here. I liked the special overall though.
8. Spooky Scarecrow
I liked this special well enough, but it's probably my least favorite Halloween episode of the selection we have so far. The plot about the witch casting a spell on a scarecrow to make it come to life was cool, but I kind of wish we would have gotten the witch as a villain as well of the scarecrow. This episode felt like it needed a little something extra, because I feel like this same plot has been done much better in "The Frickert Fracas," "A Scooby-Doo Halloween" and "Eating Crow."
7. Beach Beastie
I know that some people feel this is the best of the DTV specials, and while I do agree it's quite good, I would say I like Spooky Games and Haunted Holidays a bit better. I really like how unique Aquazilla is as a villain, and I thought his shapeshifting abilities were used in a very cool way here. I liked the plot of the gang going to Fred's uncle's resort, and the fact that his uncle was voiced by Adam West! The plot of Scooby having a crush on a little dog was also cute. I also thought it was neat how they carried over plot points from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, like Fred's house and trap obsession.
6. Behind the Scenes Shorts
I've always thought these were really cute. This was a neat idea on Cartoon Network's part to make these goofy little interviews. I've always been amused at the part in the sixth interview about Fred singing showboat to calm the gang lol.
5. Night of the Living Doo
I've always found this one to be a bit weird, but in a good way. This was a cool parody of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, even though the culprit and monsters were very strange. It felt sort of like The Scooby-Doo Project in terms of its rough reused animation, but I think it worked very well for what it was.
4. Scooby-Doo! Spooky Games
I really enjoyed this special! I liked the plot of the gang being invited to an Olympics-like game and having to solve the mystery of the giant statue Fortius coming to life. This was definitely among the more interesting and better quality DTV specials in my opinion.
3. Scooby-Doo! Haunted Holidays
I still watch this special every Christmas, and I think it's my favorite of the DTV specials. This special also feels a bit darker than the others with the gang being locked in the creepy toy factory during the snowstorm. The Sinister Snowman was a super creepy villain, and it was neat how he could shapeshift. I also like how it's hinted the Santa Claus that showed up at the end may have been the real Santa. That was really cute.
2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You Now?
I did a full-length review of this here, but I thought the humor in the special was really good. Even though the animation was a bit strange mixed with live-action and I don't typically like that sort of thing, it worked well here. Even if there wasn't really any new information for a Scooby super fan like myself, the interviews with the writers and producers were really fun. The only thing I didn't really like about this special was the unnecessary Scrappy bashing, which felt out of place and very mean-spirited.
1. The Scooby-Doo Project
I think there are one or two people on here that have had this in their top 10 Scooby episodes ever. While I won't go quite that far, I did really like this special and think it's the best the franchise has to offer. It was super clever of them to make a parody of The Blair Witch Project, and I thought making it kind of a satire of the franchise worked really well. The humor was super clever here. Like Where Are You Now, even though the animation was a bit weird mixed with live-action elements, I thought it worked really well. It was quite intense that the special ended with the gang missing.
That about does it for my special rankings! I'll be posting my ranking of every Scooby-Doo movies next month, but in the meantime, but if you happen to feel inspired to share yours in the comments, I'd love to see them!
I'm still working on my special rankings since I'm trying to rewatch all of them before I rank them, but my goal is to have them finished in December. In the meantime, I thought I’d do a little bonus post about the crossovers Scooby-Doo has had with other series that are not official parts of the franchise. I’m only including the major crossovers, and not every single episode or film Scooby’s ever made a cameo in. I don't have a lot to say for the first few, because they're very short and kind of forgettable, but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy my rankings!
9. Cartoon Feud
This is fine, and it was a cute idea to have Scooby be on a Family Feud type game show against another cartoon. However, there’s nothing really special about this and I don’t really care for Teen Titans Go, so I can’t really ever see myself watching this again.
8. Monster Party
Let me just say that I am absolutely amazed that the girl ghouls appeared in a piece of media 30 years after Ghoul School aired. I never thought that would happen in a million years, so I was shocked when this came out. It was even more surprising that there was no real announcement of this. To my recollection, this just came out of nowhere and the announcement of it was the release itself. Content-wise, this is again cute, but nothing I’d return to.
7. The Wizard of Ooze
I enjoy this enough for what it is, but the plot of this felt lacking as a crossover. I didn’t really feel they did a good job crossing the two shows over with one another, it just felt like a Dynomutt episode that Scooby happened to make a cameo in. Swamp Rat and Mudmouth weren’t that great of villains in my opinion. As someone who has also seen all 20 episodes of the Dynomutt series, I also feel this is one of the weaker episodes of the show.
6. What Now, Lowbrow?
Same issue as the last one, and the only thing really bringing it above “The Wizard of Ooze” is the fact that I like the villains and plot a bit better.
5. Everybody Hyde!
This is my favorite of the Dynomutt crossovers. In my opinion, this is the only of the three crossovers that actually felt like a true crossover between the two shows, as the other two felt like the gang was an afterthought. It was neat that the gang was also trailing Mr. Hyde and thought he was a ghost, and that the mystery brought the two groups together. Mr. Hyde was also a very creepy antagonist, and he’s one of my favorite Dynomutt villains of that show.
4. Shaggy Busted
This Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode is so goofy and ridiculous that I can't help but love it. Shaggy being arrested by a policeman for disorderly conduct was really funny. The Grass Monster was also a hilarious villain choice lol.
3. Bravo Dooby Doo
I thought this was a really cute crossover between Johnny Bravo and Scooby. To be honest, it felt like more of Scooby episode than a Johnny Bravo episode, which was fun. This episode perfectly combined the witty humor of Johnny Bravo and the mystery solving tone of Scooby-Doo. The Ghostly Gardener was a great villain, and the goofiness with the culprit wearing multiple masks was really fun. I also like how Speed Buggy appeared at the end.
2. Bat-Mite Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases
There’s a theme with my top 3 crossovers, and it’s that they all captured the essence of Scooby-Doo. In my opinion, that’s what a crossover should be: capturing the essence of the other property, rather than just randomly having someone from the other franchise make a cameo like some of the ones lower on my list felt like. I love how this episode almost exactly matched the tone of the two classic Batman and Scooby-Doo crossovers from The New Scooby-Doo Movies. The Joker and the Penguin were great villains once again. Even the Footlight Phantom felt like it had a classic New Scooby-Doo Movies like vibe to him. I tend to feel humor in shorter episodes isn’t quite as funny because the plot is being rushed along, but this episode also had some great humor, particularly Batman’s random safety tips that happened mid-episode lol.
There was pretty much no competition for this one, given this pretty much blows the other seven out of the water. I really liked how they took such a classic Scooby-Doo episode and gave it a darker Supernatural twist. I know some fans were bothered by the fact that it was far more adult than the average Scooby episode, and I can absolutely understand that criticism, but I personally didn’t mind it since it was just a one-off that did not affect the rest of the franchise. The gang was absolutely adorable and this episode genuinely made me feel sad that they were traumatized like that with real horror elements.
I'm sure my rankings aren't too surprising, since in my opinion, the crossovers with other shows are pretty hit or miss quality-wise. If you have a different opinion, though, I'd love to see your rankings in the comments!
For the 53rd anniversary, I wrote up a post re-ranking each of the Scooby series from my original rankings in 2019. A few people mentioned that they would like to see a post of my movie and special rankings. I decided to split up the movies and specials, so my plan is to do the specials next month, but in the meantime, here is my rankings of every Scooby-Doo movies! Since there are 48 of them, this post took forever to write, so I hope you enjoy my rankings!
48. LEGO Scooby-Doo: Blowout Beach Bash
I'll be honest, I was never a fan of this and as I posted recently, it's one of my least favorite pieces of Scooby-Doo media of all time. I enjoyed the first LEGO movie (Haunted Hollywood) quite a bit, but the mystery for this one felt really thin. While I didn't love Music of the Vampire's music, it was at least passable, whereas the songs here were actually annoying. In particular, the "Blowout Beach Bingo Bash" song at the beginning was the worst offender.
47. Scooby-Doo! Curse of the 13th Ghost
Blowout Beach Bash was the only film that I dislike to the point of there being pretty much nothing I enjoyed about it. With this film, I want to start by giving the possibly unpopular opinion that this would have been decent if it were just a normal DTV. Ironically, that's also kind of the problem. Given Scooby fans waited 34 years to get the conclusion of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, this was a pretty big letdown. I don't blame Tim Sheridan at all for this. After listening to his interview with A Podcast Named Scooby-Doo, it's clear he did the best he could with what he had. It was the Warner Brothers mandates of "no real ghosts" and "no Scrappy-Doo" that were the issues. These are both core elements of the series, so essentially, WB set the film up so it could never stay true to the original series. I really respect that Tim Sheridan kind of made the film open ended so people could come to their own conclusions, and I think that was the only way he could have gotten around the mandates to make the film at least somewhat true to the original. However, the issue is that Velma is so in-your-face about it all being fake that it really clouds the ending so that the rest of the gang's perspective doesn't really show.
I think this would have been a decent film if it were just a normal DTV, but it feels disrespectful to the original material to have this as the ending to 13 Ghosts. The tone was nothing like the original series, there were several huge continuity errors, and many of the core characters of the series (Scrappy, Weerd and Bogel) do not show up.
46. Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island
This film has pretty much the same explanation as the last one. I do feel it's a little better because none of the original Zombie Island characters were actually excluded, but it still pales in comparison to the original Zombie Island, and the same problem with Velma being intense and in-your-face about the zombies all being fake remains.
45. Arabian Nights
It's probably an unpopular opinion to place this film as high as I did, even though it's near the bottom already. To be honest, I appreciate this film for what it was. The only real issue with it is that it's marketed a Scooby film when Scooby-Doo appears in only 20% of the film. Honestly though, given the title card does not say 'Scooby-Doo,' I think it's possible they just marketed the DVD as Scooby-Doo for more sales, when it was not made with the intention of being a Scooby movie. Otherwise, both the Yogi and Magilla stories are interesting and enjoyable. I suppose it really depends on if you like the original Yogi Bear and Magilla Gorilla cartoons, but I do feel that a lot of people's opinion of these films is unfortunately clouded by the lack of Scooby. At least in my opinion, it's not a badly written film if you give it the chance.
44. Scooby-Doo and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery
I'm gonna be honest with you all, I did not rewatch all of these films for these rankings. I rewatched certain ones, but my schedule has been increasingly busy lately, so rewatching nearly 50 full-length films wasn't an option without making you all wait until next year for these rankings haha. That being said, there are a few films (like this one) that I've only seen a couple times that I don't remember quite as well, so I may forget some details.
This film was one that I somewhat enjoyed at first, but it is very weird haha. I personally enjoyed "A Scooby-Doo Halloween" with KISS much more. I like the bizarre, fantastical plot of Goblin King much more, but this one didn't do much for me. That isn't to say it's bad though, I just liked most of the other films better and it's not one I'd want to return to often, hence it's ranking.
43. Scooby-Doo! Music of the Vampire
I liked the plot of this, but the musical didn't quite work into the plot as well as it could have, in my opinion. I personally liked "The High School Wolfman's Musical Lament!" from Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? much more, because it fit better with Christian Slater being a guest star. The gang randomly breaking out into song in this film didn't feel quite as natural.
42. Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster
While you'll soon see that I found Mystery Begins to be an excellent prequel, this one didn't work as well for me. I liked all of the actors and actresses as much as I did in Mystery Begins, but I didn't enjoy all the romantic stuff. They borrowed the Shaggy/Velma romance element from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, and it didn't work well here either. At the very least, their relationship wasn't toxic like it was in SDMI, but it felt like it completely overtook the mystery which was not particularly enjoyable. I also first watched this film when Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated was first airing, and since this movie premiered right in the middle of the Velma/Shaggy/Scooby drama in SDMI, it felt like way too much romantic stuff.
This is one that I'm a bit conflicted on. I like the self-parody element of some aspects in the film, but other elements were really annoying and/or bad. As I mentioned this June when I did the voice talent rankings, Fred is characterized as a narcissist here. I think there is a way they could have made it funny, but to me, it felt like he was actually an unlikeable jerk. I would also say that Scrappy being the villain soured me on this film, mainly because it led to 20 years and counting of "Scrappy sucks!" jokes. In terms of the other actors/actresses they picked, while I did like all of them, Matthew Lillard was the only one that really stood out as screaming "this is Shaggy." Daphne and Velma were decent, but neither of them felt like a perfect fit for the roles, even if I did think they did a good job. On the other hand, the plot of the gang breaking up and finding each other again to solve a mystery on an island with demon rituals being performed was interesting.
40. Scooby-Doo Adventures: The Mystery Map
Although it is low on my rankings, I will say that I think this movie gets more hate than it deserves. The most typical complaint I've heard from people is that puppets freak them out. I've never been frightened by puppets, so maybe that's factoring into it, but I like how they tried to reboot A Pup Named Scooby-Doo here. The plot itself is very simple and a bit boring, but I didn't dislike it. Its biggest crime, IMO, is being forgettable.
39. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
I really liked the element of having the gang's old foes come back to haunt them. It was very neat to see the monsters in live-action form. My criticism about Fred from the first movie still stands, Velma and Daphne's actresses feel decent but not perfect fits, and the parody aspect of this is hit or miss for me depending on the scene. This isn't a least favorite, but I wouldn't say I love it either.
38. Big Top, Scooby-Doo!
This is another one of those more forgettable films, IMO. Tbh, I don't know if I've even seen this film since it first came out. I liked the werewolves as villains and the gang becoming part of the circus was fun. I honestly don't remember much else about this film, which I guess further accentuates how forgettable this was to me. I would have been interested in seeing the original DTV for this, which was a combo of Music of the Vampire and this film titled Circus of Vampires.
37. Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Speed Demon
In 2012, I remember being shocked when they announced WWE was teaming up with Scooby-Doo for a crossover. It seemed like such an odd choice, especially since we'd never had a crossover movie at that point unless you count Arabian Nights (which isn't really a crossover, I'd argue, since each show was separate). I liked WrestleMania Mystery far more than I thought I would, and I enjoyed this one too, but the first one was a bit better to me. The idea of wrestlers racing each other was certainly a creative idea, I'll give them that haha.
36. LEGO Scooby-Doo! Haunted Hollywood
This LEGO crossover is much better than Blowout Beach Bash and represents how to do a differently animated film properly. It was neat to see classic villains like the Mummy, the Headless Horseman and the Zombie in LEGO animation. They worked these classic villains into the plot very well as being roles of a classic horror actor. I also liked the tongue-in-cheek inclusion of the gang being LEGOs, where they could detach their legs and arms and such. That was a clever way to promote the Scooby LEGO sets that didn't feel intrusive or like the LEGO executives were shouting "hey, buy our product!" at you haha.
35. Scooby-Doo and the Samurai Sword
I feel bad putting this so low since it was Casey Kasem's last time ever voicing Shaggy. However, in an otherwise super solid era of DTVs, this one was a bit more forgettable. The Black Samurai was definitely a cool villain and without ruining anything, I liked the twist at the end. However, the film being so focused on Shaggy and Scooby at the end brought it down a bit, because Goblin King and Chill Out had already just done that, so it would have been nice to have the focus be more on the whole gang.
34. Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
I enjoyed this movie and the villain being a parody of the movie Alien was super neat. We had some good side characters in this one, particularly U-Boat. I didn’t necessarily feel that this was that memorable of a movie, and it’s not one I’ve returned to after the first watch, hence its placement here.
33. Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur
I thought this was a really cute movie. The velociraptors and Phantosaur were great villains. Velma’s crush on Windser was an example of romance done well in Scooby, in my opinion. It was a side plot that didn’t take over the mystery, and tbh, it felt like a breath of fresh air as compared to Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where Velma’s relationship with Shaggy was in-your-face. There are so many good Scooby movies that it’s a little hard to rank them, because I don’t want to put any too low, but I like other movies better than this one. This one wasn’t super memorable in any way, I guess except for it creating that Shaggy meme lol.
32. Scooby-Doo! The Sword and the Scoob
I liked this film quite a bit. After Velma began obnoxiously declaring everything was fake in the 2019 sequels, I was admittedly worried about what would happen with this film since there was time travel involved. However, I thought they handled it really well. I liked the little twist at the end regarding Merlin too, although my one complaint is that I thought they made Merlin a little too ridiculous, particularly how he wore jewelry that said “posh king.” I thought the villain was excellent and it was cool to dive a little more into Shaggy’s ancestry.
31. Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery
I was pretty surprised when they first announced Scooby would be crossing over with the WWE in 2012 (keep in mind, we’d had no crossover films at that point). I have to say, I liked this much better than I thought I would. The wrestlers all fit decently well with the mystery and it didn’t feel forced like I thought it would. The villain was neat as well, and made sense with the plot. I liked this moreso than the second one, although I like the celebrity chef, Bill Nye, Batman and Courage crossovers better than this one.
30. Scooby-Doo! FrankenCreepy
We’re getting into the top 30, and since there are so many great Scooby movies, it’s getting harder and harder to pick which film should go out next. I quite liked FrankenCreepy, but it’s not one I’ve returned to as often, so that’s going to be my choice for the #30 spot. It was really interesting to explore Velma’s ancestry, and I liked how they incorporated four of the gang’s most classic foes into the mystery. I thought this was an example of referencing classic villains in a way that’s done well, and not just forced in for the sake of having them there like some of the later DTVs would go on to do. The one thing I didn’t like about this film were the transitions. They were over-the-top from the start, and began to wear on me as they continued to be done throughout the film. They didn’t significantly impact the quality of the film, but I would have preferred more subtle transitions instead of ones that were like someone practically screaming “alright, onto the next scene everybody!” in your face lol.
29. Scooby-Doo and the Gourmet Ghost
I thought this was one of the better crossovers that we got in the era of constant crossover films, that *fingers crossed* is hopefully over for now at this point lol. I enjoyed the celebrity chefs and thought they fit really well into this plot, unlike KISS and the second WWE movie. The villain was also super cool. It was odd they made Fred's uncle Bobby Flay, but I thought Bobby and Giada made good guest stars. I will say though that I have never watched their cooking shows, and I've heard from other people that they were off-model from that. I don't feel anything else about this movie was particularly super memorable, but I do remember walking away from watching this film feeling like they executed this crossover quite well.
28. Scooby-Doo! Stage Fright
I want to start out by saying I think the twist in this film was amazingly executed, and I really liked the setting of the theater. The Phantom was also a very cool villain. However, what brought this movie down a bit for me was the Fred and Daphne romance stuff. I don't tend to mind some level of romantic stuff if it's executed well, like Velma and Windser in Legend of the Phantosaur, Fred and Daphne in SDMI, or Velma and Coco in Trick or Treat. I think this had the potential to be executed well. However, creatively speaking, I think it was a very odd choice to frame it as if Daphne came to the sudden realization that she was in love with Fred. Fred and Daphne being a couple has been done so many times throughout the franchise, so it was very weird to have the writers make it seem like it was this revolutionary concept that had never been explored in the history of the franchise. Particularly coming off of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, I feel like it would have been better to just have had Daphne and Fred already be a couple, rather than making fans go through Daphne's hopeless pining for Fred that had already been explored so many times. Don't get me wrong, I don't think this made the film bad in any way. However, I feel the romantic subplot here was focused on too much and detracted from the main plot a bit, which is why this is a little lower than it could have been.
27. Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave and the Bold
I had the disadvantage of not watching the Batman: The Brave and the Bold series when going into this movie, but I imagine it was amazing for fans of this series to have what was essentially a reboot of the series with this crossover. The fact that this movie explored Batman's one unsolved case was a really neat plot. The Crimson Cloak was such a creepy villain. They did a great job of picking a villain that fit well with both franchises. I also thought it was really neat how so many of the old Batman villains showed up in the movie. Overall, I would say this is one of the more memorable crossovers, but it's just slightly beat out by Courage and Bill Nye for me.
26. Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!
I could see people being a little surprised that I have this ranked so high, but I have a bit of soft spot for this film. While I do wish Fred, Daphne and Velma would have had more of a role in this film, I really liked seeing Shaggy and Scooby venture of on their own. I liked the Abominable Snowman as a villain, and the setting of the Himalayas had an excellent atmosphere. It was cool Del showed up again, too!
25. Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy
We're at the top 25 of my favorite Scooby-Doo films, and I feel like we're really getting into the good stuff now. It was so cool they brought Tim Conway back in this film to voice Fred's father. I really enjoyed meeting Fred's parents. The gang solving all the mysteries on that mystery cruise so quickly was hilarious haha. The pirates were really amazing villains, and the fact that there were so many of them significantly rose the stakes. A classic for sure!
24. Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon
Althoguh I wouldn't really consider this a crossover film since Blue Falcon and Dynomutt were basically just characters in a movie, I do really like this movie. It was neat how they explored Dynomutt lore and incorporated Mr. Hyde from the first Scooby/Dynomutt crossover into this. The plot of the gang being at a Comic Con was very engaging, and I really enjoyed this film overall.
23. Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
Although I know this film didn't work for a lot of people because of the car chase being nearly the entire movie, I actually really liked this one. It captured the Halloween vibe well, and the Jackal-Lanterns genuinely felt super creepy. Although it was a bit random, I thought Bill Nye fit very well with the plot here. I didn't like his Guess Who episode very much because I felt his performance was a bit flat, but I really enjoyed his performance here.
22. Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo and Courage the Cowardly Dog
This is my favorite Scooby-Doo crossover film. After a bit of a sketchy history the preceding few years about incorporating real monsters, this film did a great job striking a good balance between real and fake. They really combined the best of both worlds with this film, and as somebody who hadn't watched the show as a kid, they did a good job providing background information on Courage without feeling like it was too much. I liked the dark, creepy tone of the film and the mystery was great. The clown randomly showing up throughout the movie was also funny lol. The only thing about the movie I didn't like was the fart joke, and that was so brief it didn't really bother me at all. The cicadas were amazing villains, even as somebody who isn't a fan of bug/animal villains usually. What my favorite part of the film was, though, was the exploration of what it meant to be courageous. That theme fit so well with both of the franchises, and they did a great job incorporating it into the plot without making it seem like some cringey lesson for kids. I was super impressed with this crossover, and it's my favorite of any of the crossover films. I know this was originally going to be one of the Guess Who episodes, but I'm so glad that they made this into a movie.
21. Scooby-Doo! Shaggy's Showdown
Besides the 2010 films, this is my favorite of the animated 2010s era DTVs. I really like films that explore the gang's ancestry, and I thought this film did a really good job with that concept. I thought the Ghost of Dapper Jack had a super creepy design, especially due to his skeletal features. The ending (which I won't ruin) reminds me quite a bit of the ending of Boo Brothers, which is neat. I found all of the minor characters in this film to be well-developed, which made for an engaging plot.
20. Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster
This is easily my favorite version of the Loch Ness Monster. As I just mentioned, I like plots where we get to know more about the gang through meeting their family (and I hadn't really thought about how heavily explored that type of plot is in these DTVs until writing up these reviews haha). It was really interesting that they explored that Daphne's danger-prone tendency is because it runs in the family. The atmosphere of being in Daphne's ancestral castle is amazing and really makes this movie for me. The film had a very cinematic feel to me, which greatly contributed to my enjoyment of this.
19. Aloha, Scooby-Doo!
I really love this film, and like the last one, a big part of that is because of the setting. The Hawaii setting is so atmospheric and the whole movie gives off a summery vibe, which is when I often watch this film. The Wiki Tiki was a super creepy and menacing villain, and the plot around the surfing contest is a lot of fun!
18. Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
A ranking of #18 seems too low for this, but I guess it just goes to show how many stone cold classics are left! Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt did an incredible job with this film, and it really captures that same dark tone that I love so much from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The Woodsman in particular is a terrifying villain that looks like he came out of a horror movie, but the Spectre of Shadow Canyon and the Fishmen were also amazing. The setting of the camp felt very spooky, even during the daytime scenes. The twist at the end with one of the campers was also quite shocking.
17. Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins
Besides Daphne & Velma, this is my favorite of the Scooby live action films. I don't necessarily feel all the actors and actresses did a perfect job with playing the roles of the gang, but they had nice chemistry with one another throughout the film. The plot of the gang meeting at school and bonding over a mystery worked really well, and it was fun to see them become closer throughout the course of the movie. Even if it's not perfect, I thought this was a really nice origin story for Scooby. I still watch this pretty much every year on the anniversary.
16. Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico
This is such a classic when it comes to Scooby movies. I love that they got the original cast back, and while I wouldn't say that this felt like a Where Are You episode, they certainly did a good job capturing the classic tone. It was fun seeing the gang go to Mexico to meet up with Fred's pen pal. Alejo and Luis fit super well with the gang and I enjoyed the large chunk of the movie that was spent exploring the city and nearby area.
15. Scooby-Doo in Where's My Mummy?
Similar to Loch Ness Monster, this film has a very cinematic feel to it. I absolutely love the twist at the end regarding the culprit. The hordes of mummies marauding in the tomb gave this film a dark tone, although even the scenes where the gang is outside the tomb are fun little adventures. I thought Cleopatra's ghost was an amazing villain. While I wouldn't usually like this type of character, I even thought Amelia and the other tomb raiders were good characters and that was an interesting plot point to explore. This movie kind of stands out as notable in the sense that Velma wasn't in most of it, and I found it interesting to see the gang's dynamic when it was just Shaggy, Scooby, Daphne and Fred.
14. Trick or Treat, Scooby-Doo!
There are going to be a few moments coming soon where a good chunk of readers probably are going to exclaim "how did this get so high?", and this is one of them lol. It may just be recency bias, but Trick or Treat really worked for me as a DTV. While I wouldn't want Coco creating all the monster costumes the gang has ever faced to become canon, this worked very well for me as a one-off. I've seen some people complain about the last 20 minutes of this divulging into randomness, but that was my favorite part lol. That's right up my alley in terms of humor, so that was great to see and I'd honestly love if it happened again in future films. I just wrote up a whole review on it about a month ago where you can read my full thoughts, but yeah, this one really clicked for me more than I thought I would. This is my favorite regular DTV in the last 12 years.
13. Scooby Goes Hollywood
This might be another surprise for people, as I don't think a lot of people would put this so high. A theme you'll notice as we get higher up here is that I love Scooby movies that take creative risks like this. I guess there was no creative risk yet since this was the first ever Scooby film, but I really liked how meta this special was. Watching Shaggy and Scooby's adventures chasing stardom was really entertaining, and this remains a classic for me even though it's completely unlike any of the other films. I really liked the musical numbers and in my opinion, this is a good example of how you do a Scooby-Doo musical film right, unlike Music of the Vampire which I found to be just okay.
And we have yet another example where many of you are probably saying "how is this so high in your rankings?" haha. I know this is kind of a polarizing film where people seem to either love it or hate it, but I really liked this film. The most frequent criticism I see about this film is that it's more of an adventure than a mystery, but I've honestly never really been one of those fans who is hardcore "Scooby must be mysteries and mysteries alone." This was a really fun adventure film and I liked the attempt at creating a Hanna-Barbera Cinematic Universe, even though it seems like that concept has been completely scrapped after this film. I don't really have any amazing case to make for why this is such a top tier Scooby movie; I guess I just found this to be a really fun, feel-good adventure and that's why this is so high for me.
11. Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo
I'm going to fully admit, this probably wouldn't be as high as it is if not for my high level of focus on this movie for my current fanfic. The atmosphere of Whirlen's castle is amazing, and I really liked Madelyn's character. I know many people didn't like her having a crush on Shaggy, but it honestly didn't really bother me and felt like background. I loved what unique villains this movie had. The gryphon was a super cool choice of villain that fit really well with the magic school, and I loved how the banshee was able to switch between looking like a beautiful woman and a hideous crone.
10. Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire
So we've arrived at my top 10, and we're kicking it off with Legend of the Vampire. Having the gang solve a mystery at the music festival was a really cool setting, but the stars of this film for me were the villains. The Yowie Yahoo was a more menacing, freaky vampire than we'd ever seen before in Scooby, even with Gramps the Vamp being a tough act to follow. As for the Wildwind vampires...well, it's my username, so you can imagine my opinion on them isn't exactly negative lol. I loved seeing the Hex Girls again too! The only thing I think could have been improved is that I wish the Hex Girls were more prominent in the film. As compared to Witch's Ghost, they almost feel like background characters here, which is a shame since they were so well-loved in Witch's Ghost.
9. Daphne & Velma
I guarantee you that 99% of the Scooby fandom does not share my opinion here. This movie gets way more hate than it deserves in my opinion, and it saddens me a little bit that most people don't even bother watching this film. I can totally understand that it's not for everyone and that most people aren't going to think of highly of it as I do, but I wish people would give it a chance before bashing it. This film felt honestly like what we'd get if Disney announced they were making an original movie around Scooby-Doo. I know that genre isn't for everyone, but I felt like it really worked here. Even without a monster, this was a really fun, feel-good mystery plot and it was cool to see a different take on the origin story of how Daphne and Velma met.
8. Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King
Unless you're counting the 80s movies (all of which are in the top 7), I believe this is the last controversial opinion of the bunch. Most people seem to think this movie is absolutely bonkers, and I completely agree with them...except I think it's weird in a good way. This movie is probably the wackiest Scooby film out there, but it's executed so well. What I enjoy most about the film is how it incorporates Halloween into almost every aspect of the film, while staying super lighthearted and fun. When I first saw the film, my reaction was "what the heck did I just watch?", but on subsequent watches, I really warmed up to this. This is easily the best Scooby-Doo Halloween film, and I still watch this every single year close to Halloween.
7. Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf
All of the 1980s films are absolutely top tier for me, but this one is just slightly below the other two. I love the concept of Shaggy being dragged back to Dracula's monster realm to be put in a race. The atmosphere of the castle is top notch and the racing antics are so much fun. I thought Googie fit really naturally into the film. The only thing I will say against the film is that the racing segment is just a tad bit long.
6. Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase
While it's my least favorite of the "Revival Era" DTVs, that certainly should not be taken as a diminishment of how incredible this film is. It's such a cool plot idea to have the gang be sucked into a video game based on their own mystery-solving adventures. The Phantom Virus was a very creepy and menacing villain, and the film got even better when the gang's old foes appeared in the video game. It was super amazing how the gang got to meet the past versions of themselves through the video game and solve the mystery with them.
5. Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders
I absolutely adore this movie. Shaggy and Scooby's relationship with Crystal and Amber was so sweet, which makes the ending even more heartbreaking. In my opinion, this is the best done romantic plot in the entirety of the franchise. Besides the Space Kook (because there's just no way to live up to him lol), these are also easily my favorite aliens in the entire franchise. Everything about the plot and atmosphere of this movie is amazing.
4. Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost
Besides the fact that this movie (and Zombie Island) has the best writing in the entire franchise IMO, the setting is also what makes this film so incredible. Oakhaven's small-town setting feels so quiet and peaceful, and I love how the movie progresses slowly at the beginning to allow us to get to know each of the side characters. The twist at the end is also hands-down the best twist in the entire Scooby franchise (although it does have some fierce competition from "Wrath of the Krampus). This movie also gave us the Hex Girls, who are my favorite recurring characters in the entire franchise.
3. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
If we got another film in this tone someday, I think I would be over the moon. I love the maturity of this film, both tone-wise and in terms of the characters' personalities. The Ghost of Morgan Moonscar and all the zombies are incredible villains
2. Scooby-Doo and the Boo Brothers
Some people say the Scrappy-Doo era didn't do mysteries very well, but I find the mystery in this film to be absolute perfection. I love scavenger hunts and haunted houses, and the omnipresence of all the different ghosts was amazing. I loved that element in The New Scooby-Doo Movies, so it was really cool to see it brought back here in a more developed way. The Boo Brothers being parodies of the Three Stooges never personally bothered me like it does some others. Some of the ghost designs here were incredible, particularly the ghost of Shaggy's uncle. He's such a creepy villain and remains one of my favorite ghosts in the Scooby franchise to date. Although this isn't exactly like a Scooby-Doo mystery, I'm in love with the plot of this film and how it provides a little bit of a twist on the classic Scooby-Doo formula.
1. Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
This comes as no surprise if you've been following this blog for awhile lol. This is such a creative concept for a Scooby film and I have so much nostalgia over this film. The girl ghouls are absolutely adorable and I like the plot of Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy having to save them from an evil witch and her minions. The puns are also top notch haha. This is such a unique contribution to Scooby's filmography and I really appreciate how different this film was.
Wow, this ended up being a gigantic post lol. If anyone else is up to the daunting task of ranking every single Scooby film, I'd love to see your rankings! Since we're getting new DTVs every year, I'm also thinking about keeping a running list of my rankings at the end of my reviews for all future DTVs, similar to what I did with Guess Who.
I tried to keep my reviews decently condensed so this post was a manageable length (not to mention that writing 48 paragraphs certainly took a good chunk of the day to type up lol), but if you're curious about my opinions related to anything I didn't mention, you're always welcome to ask in the comments!
My Scoobtober Marathon List
A lot of people have been sharing in the comments that they're doing Scoobtober marathons to celebrate Halloween. In addition to my yearly rewatch of all of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes, I have a decent-sized Scooby-Doo marathon that I watch every Halloween. Many of them are Halloween themed, but others are just random episodes that I really like or I feel are highlights of the franchise. Because my schedule has been somewhat busy, and I also try to watch a Treehouse of Horror every day as well, I typically watch one episode or film a day throughout the entire month of October (I usually save the films for the weekends). Sometimes I dedicate time to sit down and devote all my attention to an episode, but there are other times where I just have it on in the background if I need to get something else done. Everyone sharing their lists gave me the idea to share my own list for those that are interested!
(Note that I don't necessarily watch it in this exact order every year, but I always tend to watch the same episodes and this is my schedule for this year)
October 1 - Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
I always love starting the marathon with my favorite Scooby-Doo movie. Despite not being completely Halloween themed, there is a brief Halloween scene with the parents, so I always try to incorporate into my marathon.
October 2 - Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers
This is one I always try to watch every single year. Even though it's not specifically Halloween related, the spooky soundtrack of this one never fails to get me into the Halloween spirit.
October 3 - Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner
This is one of the most classic Scooby-Doo haunted house episodes I can think of! This is one I always try to incorporate into my marathon.
October 4 - Trick or Treat, Scooby-Doo! / Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Scarecrow
I wanted to make sure I had time scheduled to watch the movie on the day it came out! :) Also, I wanted to include Spooky Scarecrow as a Halloween special, even though I think it's kinda mid quality-wise.
October 5 - The Headless Horseman of Halloween
Our first Halloween episode of the bunch! This is one of the most classic Halloween episodes.
October 6 - That's Monstertainment
Given this is parodies one of the most famous horror movies of all time, not to mention that Zomba is one of the creepiest Scooby villains out there, this is a must watch for the Halloween season!
October 7 - To Switch a Witch
Another Halloween classic!
October 8 - Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf
Our third Superstars 10 movie to finish out the bunch. I always watch all three of the 1980s films every October.
October 9 - Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
This is a newer addition to my marathon, and I didn't watch it last year, so this will only be the second year I've watched it. As I've said in the comments for this week's poll, I know some people don't enjoy this due to the extended car chase
October 10 - The Mystery of Haunted Island
This is not an episode I always watch every year, but I did this year. In addition to the regulars, I always include a few extra episodes I want to see or haven't watched in a while.
October 11 - Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats
While this isn't a Halloween episode, it feels like something out of a horror movie! I always like watching these darker episodes around Halloween time.
October 12 - The Vampire Strikes Back
I try to mix it up and include episodes from different series. This is another one that I don't watch every year, but I chose to watch it this year because I was in the mood for some Hex Girls content.
October 13 - A Scooby-Doo Halloween
One of my favorite Scooby Halloween episodes, and Halloween specials in general.
October 14 - Mystery of the Missing Mystery Solvers
I decided to throw in a really random one this year just for fun. It'd been a long time since I'd seen this episode!
October 15 - Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King
This never fails to get me in the Halloween mood every year. This is my favorite of the Scooby-Doo Halloween movies.
October 16 - Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
It would be a major oversight not to watch this one! This is the darkest Scooby-Doo content out there IMO.
October 17 - The Loch Ness Mess
If you know me at all, it should be no surprise that this episode is here given it's my favorite haha.
October 18 - Haunted House Hang-Up
I tend to be drawn towards watching haunted house episodes during this time.
October 19 - Ghost Who's Coming to Dinner?
Another Halloween classic. This is a really fun one.
October 20 - A Night of Fright Is No Delight
As I mentioned, I tend to be drawn towards haunted house episodes during this time, and this is one of the most classic ones I can think of.
October 21 - Night on Haunted Mountain
Another random one I don't do every year, but it'd been a while since I'd seen it so I decided to watch this. I really enjoyed it!
October 22 - Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo
I've been really enjoying this one lately with my fanfic!
October 23 - SCOOB!
I really enjoyed SCOOB! and although I don't anticipate it becoming a normal part of my marathon, it was fun to give this a rewatch.
October 24 - Halloween
This is such a great episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! In my opinion, this episode did the Baba Yaga concept just as well as SDMI.
October 25 - The Secret of Shark Island
This is one of my favorite New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes. I love the creepy atmosphere of the gang being trapped on the island in the abandoned hotel!
October 26 - Night Terrors
This Shining inspired episode felt perfect to watch around Halloween!
October 27 - Doo Not Disturb
Had to make some time for one of my favorite Be Cool episodes!
October 28 - Scoobygeist
I've always appreciated this New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show short. It was really well written and the house was genuinely creepy! This is another episode I don't watch every year.
October 29 - Wednesday Is Missing
A very rare episode, but a classic that I always enjoy watching every Halloween.
October 30 - Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost
While not a specifically Halloween related movie, this film feels like it perfectly captures the essence of fall.
October 31: A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle
I tend to watch this one every single year on Halloween. It's not only one of my favorite Halloween episodes, it's one of my favorite episodes of the entire franchise, as you recently saw in my favorite episodes/movies list.
I hope you enjoyed reading my marathon schedule! If you do a Scoobtober marathon every Halloween, I would love to see your list in the comments and compare notes! :)
Top 10 Scooby-Doo Episodes/Films
I was thinking about posting this later since I typically do one article a month, but there's enough negativity surrounding the franchise lately that I thought it might be good to focus on something more positive! :) Last week, I did an article highlighting my top 10 least favorite episodes/films in the franchise. I thought it would be a fun idea to do the opposite in this post: highlighting my top 10 favorite Scooby episodes/films in the franchise. Those that know me probably already know many of my top episodes, but I don't know if I've ever laid them all out before like this on the blog. Note that this list does include a few culprit spoilers, so if you haven't seen these episodes, you may want to watch them before reading this list.
Honorable mention: Doo Not Disturb
This episode excellently combines excellent comedy with a very sinister tone. It feels like this has a perfect balance of silliness and darkness. The plot of the gang being stuck in a hotel in the middle of a snowstorm feels quite creepy, yet the series still keeps its same goofy tone while also maintaining that darker vibe. The Ghost of Mother is an absolutely terrifying villain, and for that reason, she's one of my favorite villains of the entire franchise. I really appreciate this episode for having such a dark tone while retaining the comedy that I love so much about Be Cool.
10. Wrath of the Krampus
To be honest, I don't think this would be as high as it is without that ending. The fact that the ending reveals everything that happened in this episode is all just an elaborate plan to trick the old Mystery Incorporated is genius. The shocked look on the Old Mystery Incorporated's face at the end is so satisfying haha. This episode also gets major props from me for including such a unique villain that had never been used yet in the franchise, since we're getting to a point where it's hard to come up with a completely different villain type when we've got over 600 episodes and films. I really like everything about the episode, but yeah, that ending is what puts it on that list because it's so shockingly genius.
9. Some Fred Time
I absolutely love this Be Cool episode. I tend to gravitate towards content that has very random, authentically strange comedy, so Be Cool's absurdist humor definitely resonated with me quite a bit. That's why this episode is one of my favorites. It's such a perfect combination of great comedy (especially at the beginning of the episode) and an excellent mystery. I also really liked how we get to know Daphne a bit better through staying at her beach house. In addition to the comedy, the plot of the gang trying to conceal a mystery from Fred made it really interesting.
8. Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats
I would argue besides Zombie Island, this may be one of the darkest things in the Scooby franchise. If there was one thing season 2 did really well, it was creating plots that had a super dark tone. Certain scenes in this episode are aesthetically just so creepy, notably the vampire calling Lisa from a dark room, Shaggy, Scooby and Scooby-Dum crawling through the ventilation system, and especially Lisa turning into a vampire when Shaggy, Scooby and Dum had barricaded the room. The fact that the vampire is Lisa's uncle also makes this episode dark in a sadistic way, because this man was Lisa's guardian, and he completely betrayed her and tried to scare her just so he'd get all the hotel profits. It's a truly despicable thing to do, and I would argue this is one of the darkest episodes for that reason as well as the overall tone.
7. Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner?
To me, this feels like the most classic haunted house episode in the franchise, at least in terms of how well it captures the essence of Scooby. "A Night of Fright Is No Delight" is certainly in that range as well, and it would ranks somewhere in the early teens of my list of favorites. The length really does this episode justice in the sense that it allows for us to really explore the haunted house in depth. Don Knotts is an excellent guest star, and I love that he didn't just play himself. The fact that Don has made up this entire cast of characters that he's impersonating makes this episode so interesting and really elevates the stakes of the episode, because there's so much going on that you have no idea what kind of madness is going to happen next haha. I also really like the Ghosts of Captain Moody as villains. I have heard the complaint that them not having faces brings them down a bit for some reason, but personally I think it makes them even scarier. Again, I would argue the setting is the real star of this episode, and it may be one of my favorite Scooby settings ever. The depth in which the house is explored from top to bottom, as well as the idea that the gang is truly trapped in this house for the night with no way out makes for an incredible plot for me.
6. Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost
Although I do like Zombie Island slightly better, this film is super close quality-wise. The setting of Oakhaven is so beautifully animated and really draws you into the film. Even though the film takes a little while to get going, I feel like the longer exposition than normal was time well spent. The film does a great job building the characterization so you can really get to know each of the side characters on a deep level, rather than just having them be a random character that we meet for a second and never see again. Like with Zombie Island, the writers did a great job creating a more mature tone for this film. I loved the twist at the end where the first witch is just a publicity stunt, but then Ben Ravencroft unleashes the real ghost of his ancestor Sarah. It was definitely unexpected the first time I saw the movie as a kid! And of course, this film gets major points for introducing the best recurring characters in franchise history: The Hex Girls!
5. Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
What more do I need to say haha. Zombie Island is one of the most iconic films in franchise history for good reason. The villains are absolutely terrifying, and the more serious tone of this film allows us to see a more mature side of the gang, which is really cool. The plot is so well-written that it keeps you on the edge of the seat all throughout the film. Not only that, but the backgrounds and animation are absolutely immaculate. I would be overjoyed if we got anything that even moderately matched the tone and detail of this film. You can tell that so much love and care was put into making this film, and I think it will remain a true classic forever for that reason.
4. Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers
This is another film that feels quintessentially Scooby to me. Although there is some uncertainty about whether the ghosts and monsters are real or not, the whole movie being centered around the guys going on a scavenger hunt while dodging ghosts and ghouls feels like it perfectly captures the essence of the franchise. The score of this film in particular feels so Scooby-ish to me. It sounds both spooky yet kind of lighthearted, which captures the franchise in a nutshell. I loved all The New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes that utilized multiple monsters in the same mystery (i.e. "The Spooky Fog," "The Mystery of Haunted Island," "The Exterminator," and "The Haunted Carnival"), so naturally, I loved the use of multiple monsters here as well. All of the villains had amazing designs, and the additional runtime really helped all of the villains to get their moment. I also have always appreciated how this movie is so open-ended, where you could interpret it as all the ghosts being fake, but there's that little hint that Shaggy's uncle's ghost might have been real at the very end. That brief little bit of Uncle Beauregard appearing at the end makes you question if some of the other ghosts were real as well, because there were quite a few inconsistencies with some of the villains. For example, in the Skull Ghost's first appearance, he has glowing red eyes, his bones are clanking, and he wears a cape. However, in all future appearances, he's clearly just wearing a cheesy skeleton suit. It's unknown if the animators intended this or if it was just sloppy animation. If you think about it, throughout the movie, Uncle Beauregard also seems to have conflicting purposes. In some appearances, he seems to want to just warn Shaggy away, while in other appearances, he is actively trying to kill them. All of these little inconsistencies makes the viewer wonder when the ghosts were real, and when they were fake. I love movies that have endings that make you think even after the movie is over, and this film certainly fits the bill.
3. A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle
This episode is my favorite episode of the Scrappy era. The autumn wind blowing at the beginning of the episode pulls you into the setting immediately and gives the episode a Halloween feel from the start. The thing I like most about this episode is how it's a twist on the classic Scooby formula. Instead of the gang trying to solve a mystery involving a ghoul or ghost, the ghouls are the one asking the gang to capture the ghost. It's a really fun idea for the writers to have explored, and I have to say it's pulled off excellently. The Halloween party in the first part of the episode really sets the Halloween mood, and I love that they included Fred and Velma in this episode. The one element I would say could have been done better is that the writers did not really do a good job with characterization. Some of the monsters, like the sea monster and mummy, are really flat as characters and don't have any personality. The sea monster, mummy and invisible man are just dropped completely by the end of the episode, where they disappear and then never show up again without explanation. I love the episode so much that it's something I'm easily able to look past, but it could have been executed better. I've heard some people say that if the franchise would have had more of a creative vision, this episode would have been a good first introduction to real monsters for the gang. I totally agree with this, and I think it would have been cool if they would have explored the gang's disbelief to monsters being real.
2. Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
As far as I'm concerned, the three Superstar 10 movies are some of the best Scooby films to date. Ghoul School has always been my favorite Scooby-Doo film since I was a kid, because of how unique the plot is. Despite the very different plot of Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy working as teachers, this deviation from the typical Scooby storyline feels like a natural direction for the franchise to explore. Throughout the movie, we see Shaggy and Scooby develop as characters a bit as they have to overcome their fear of monsters to teach the girl ghouls. The antics at the beginning of the movie with the girl ghouls are so heartwarming, and despite that it takes a while for the plot to really get going, it sort of feels like you as an audience member get to warm up to the girl ghouls with Shaggy and Scooby, which is a neat plot element. As a lover of puns, I also have to say I greatly appreciate all the bad puns in this film haha. The second half is just as good, but in a different way. The guys having to battle Revolta causes the movie to take a darker tone, but there's so much going on as the guys navigate her castle that it leaves you on the edge of your seat the entire time. I love how this movie tried something so different in a way that felt very natural and fitting to the characters. You'll probably notice a theme between my #2 and #3, that theme being that I really appreciate episodes that experiment with different elements of the classic formula in a way that still stays true to the core of the franchise. Both Ghoul School and Halloween Hassle did this excellently, in my opinion.
1. The Loch Ness Mess
For those that know me, this comes as no surprise. This episode has everything I could want in a Scooby episode, honestly. The New England setting is absolutely immaculate and the animation is gorgeous. The episode captures the essence of the Scooby franchise so well, with a creepy haunted house plot, three excellent ghosts, and a fun side plot of the sea serpent in the lake. That covered bridge scene and the part with the Lantern Ghost vanishing are two of the most iconic scenes of this series IMO. One of my favorite things about this episode is that it is so atmospheric. The countryside setting, as well as Uncle Nat's house and the lake, just feel so iconicly Scooby to me and really pulls you into the mystery. The Globetrotters also make such great guest stars that they feel like a part of the gang, particularly Meadowlark and Curly.
I hope you enjoyed reading through these rankings of my favorite episodes! If you feel inspired, feel free to do a ranking of your favorite episodes in the comments, and I'm looking forward to seeing them!
I decided to do a bit of a different kind of post, and break down my top 10 least favorite Scooby-Doo episodes of all time. I didn't necessarily have a list in mind when I first came up with the idea for this post...I just had a mental list of episodes I felt were bad, so it was a fun exercise trying to condense my list into 10 episodes. That being said, you may be surprised to know Curse of the 13th Ghost, Return to Zombie Island and Arabian Nights are not on this list. The two 2019 sequels were poor in the sense of having numerous glaring continuity errors, and the fact that they were made as sequels to two of the most acclaimed pieces of Scooby-Doo media of all time. However, on their own, I didn't find the plot of either film to be particularly egregious or irredeemable. The problem for me was more that they didn't respect the tone or content of the original, but I think they could have been good if they were standalone DTVs unconnected to the originals. With Arabian Nights, my major gripe with it is that it's advertised as a Scooby film, but Scooby's only in 13 minutes of it. On its own, I've grown to think of it as a decent enough Hanna-Barbera crossover. I have no facts to base this on, but given the title card just says "Arabian Nights," it makes me wonder if "Scooby-Doo" was later slapped onto the title to sell more VHS tapes/DVDs, and it wasn't intended as a Scooby product at all when it originally aired. This top 10 list for me is reserved for the episodes/films that are irredeemably bad. Granted, these are only my own opinions, and I know some people may very well love these episodes, so I don't want to frame this post as if I'm hating on these episodes/films or saying that they're so bad that there's no way other people could possibly like them.
Honorable Mention: Ghastly Goals
Compared to the other five specials, this one had a significant drop in quality. Although the villain was cool-looking, the mystery to me felt quite underdeveloped, and the plot felt thin. The animation quality was also really poor. If you look closely, some of the shots of the crowd are just a complete blur. There are definitely worse plots in some of the direct-to-video Scrappy shorts, which you'll see later in this list, but I really did not care for the plot or mystery in this episode and found it boring.
10. Jeepers, It's the Jaguaro!
I don't think this is too unpopular of an opinion, but I never really cared for this episode. It's not completely irredeemable like the rest of this list, hence it's #10 placement, but there was certainly a lot of stuff that wasn't enjoyable about it. I really liked the Jaguaro's design. It genuinely looks quite frightening. However, the roar is a bit...interesting haha. It definitely sounds like it must be a mix between a sabertooth tiger and a bear, because it sounds very weird lol. I didn't dislike the roar, but it's certainly weird. In a season that was otherwise decent and enjoyable for its globetrotting antics, I found the mystery to be a lot weaker in this episode. The plot feels a lot thinner and meandering, and like it lacks focus. A lot of it is just Shaggy and Scooby's antics in the jungle, which while okay, isn't something I necessarily found all that interesting. The Jaguaro doesn't really feel like he has much presence as a villain, which is something The Scooby-Doo Show is usually quite strong at. What bothers me the most about this episode is the other villains. I don't know what the writers were thinking here, but the representation of indigenous people is perhaps the worst it's ever been in this episode. They're portrayed as people who just randomly capture and kill others for fun. There are certainly tribes that did used to practice headhunting, but it feels like it's represented here as if all indigenous people are savage killers, which is extremely unfortunate, and it's a bit uncomfortable to watch such poor representation.
9. Scooby of the Jungle
While I do like most of The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show episodes much better than The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show, this one was a dud for me. The plot was pretty boring and strange, and the villain, Randar, was quite lackluster. The episode feels a bit rushed as well in the sense of certain details related to the animation. Oddly, some of the lions and zebras appear the same size as the elephants, which makes no sense (not to mention that lions and zebras don't live in the jungle, but whatever haha). Another scene makes this rise above the rest, and it's kind of uncomfortable to talk about, but when Randar captures Daphne, somehow she is suddenly wearing a Tarzan outfit, despite not being in one before. For my own comfort, I choose to believe maybe there was a scene in between that got edited out and they forgot to explain the outfit, but it's still weird and uncomfortable to watch.
8. A Mystery Solving Gang Divided
I really wanted to like this one because I loved The Funky Phantom when I was younger, but I didn't like this at all and it gets to the point of unwatchable for me. They completely take the Funky Phantom gang out of character, making them all arrogant jerks. I wouldn't have minded if they changed their characters a little, but it felt like they made them into completely different characters. The fact that most of the episode was just the gangs arguing detracted from the mystery and wasted the potential they could have had with the villains. I thought the villains of this episode (and Abraham Lincoln's ghost) were pretty cool, so it's a shame we only get to see them once before the trap is set.
Certain aspects of the plot also seemed rushed and awkward as a result. Augie believing in Abraham Lincoln's ghost without any question seemed odd, since the whole series is about them catching fake ghosts, so it seemed like they rushed that part of the plot rather than developing it (which was a shame, because they certainly could have cut some of the arguing to make room for that). There were also some weird lines that felt awkward and forced, such as Lincoln saying "You must take responsibility for tomorrow!" It didn't fit with anything that was going on in the episode, and it feels like the writers forced it in as a positive message for the kids, but it didn't work. That being said, I don't mean to imply what I listed in this paragraph were the main problems with the episode (I would actually consider them to be quite trivial issues). I'm more trying to get at the fact that the constant arguing took away from the plot, because it dominated the episode so much that other aspects felt awkward due to being underdeveloped.
7. The Ransom of Scooby Chief
This very much feels like a backdoor pilot for the Scrappy shorts that were to come for the next three years. While the plot was at least somewhat more structured than those shorts were, I personally found the episode to be quite boring. Carl and Tony weren't very good villains to me, and I found them more annoying than evil. I'm sure it maybe had something to do with Marla Frumkin suddenly leaving, but it was also weird how Velma has no lines in this episode. I didn't particularly enjoy Duke and Annie's characters either.
6. LEGO Scooby-Doo: Blowout Beach Bash
This is another one that suffers from quite a weak mystery and plot, IMO. It seems this movie is a bit divisive among the fandom, because I've seen some people say they prefer this to Haunted Hollywood. Haunted Hollywood was miles better than this for me, and I thought the LEGO theme fit much better there. Some of the LEGO stuff felt a bit forced here, and the mystery didn't feel all that engaging to me here. However, what made this worse than Ghastly Goals was the songs. Some of the songs were incredibly obnoxious to me, especially the first one. The song could have been tolerable, but the song structure being them saying a short phrase followed by "blowout beach bingo bash!", and then another short phrase followed by "blowout beach bingo bash!" (and the cycle repeats) was really annoying, especially given they sing it for five minutes straight. The annoying songs and the boring plot made this one a skip for me, and I actually haven't watched it since it first was released in 2017.
5. South Seas Scare
I just mentioned that I don't really like these Scrappy shorts due to the way they're written, but this is another one I don't find enjoyable. My main issue with this one is regarding the ending. The writing already falls into the "random chaos" category, and at the end, Scrappy just randomly picks up the Lava Monster and throws him into a volcano, which makes zero sense. If Scrappy could have just randomly picked up the monster at any time, why didn't he just do it at the beginning of the episode so the entire situation could have been avoided? To me, that felt like lazy writing because they couldn't think of a good ending. I actually thought the Lava Monster was one of the coolest villains in the series, so it's a shame they used him in an episode with an ending that's so lazy IMO. The rest of the episode is about the same quality as the rest of the Scrappy shorts, but the cop-out ending is what made this one rise above the rest as being one of the worst episodes.
4. Scooby's Swiss Miss
I don't tend to care for these Scrappy-Doo shorts very much, because they all tend to be random comedy romps that lack structure. However, there are a few that stand out as particularly bad. This one is a very weird one to watch, because it centers around Scooby being chased around a ski lodge in the Swiss Alps by a bulldog, because the bulldog thinks Scooby is flirting with his poodle girlfriend (which he's not). However, the poodle girlfriend continues to make passes at Scooby, which causes even more jealousy from the bulldog. It's very Tom and Jerry-ish with the bulldog trying to find different ways to hurt Scooby, and I don't really care for Tom and Jerry. The ending is also a bit unnerving, for lack of a better word. The bulldog ends up getting injured due to his antics, and winds up in a cast and crutches. The end of the short has the bulldog getting married to the poodle, with the poodle giving up Scooby and embracing the injured bulldog as her husband, saying "well, at least he can't run away!" Basically, the poodle is saying that she will literally do anything to be in a relationship, even if it means emotionally abusing her partner by forcing him to stay when he's immobile. The ending leaves me feeling really uncomfortable and if you haven't seen this, I don't recommend watching it.
3. Picnic Poopers
The plot of this short is extremely uninteresting to me to the point of being substanceless. The plot revolves around a teenager and his bulldog pulling rude pranks on Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy in the park, hoping that he'll ruin the town picnic games. The plot itself isn't what I would look for in a Scooby episode, but what makes this one so terrible is that the characters and the plot in general is just really obnoxious. It's very dull watching these two bullies playing pranks on the guys to keep them from winning. Maybe it's entertaining for those who like Tom and Jerry, but this is so boring to me. What makes it even worse is that they had just done this same plot two episodes ago with "Muscle Trouble," and it wasn't great there either. This plot doesn't really have anything going for it, and the fact that it's a completely unoriginal rehash of what they just did two episodes ago makes this one easily earn its title as worst in the franchise for me (both figuratively and literally, since the title is also extremely awful lol).
We also get this strange scene with someone holding up a sign that says "hooray for guys" with no context whatsoever lol. Was he rooting for Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy, the bullies, or just the male gender in general? We'll never know lol.
2. Hoedown Showdown
This is another antics-heavy Scrappy short. I really dislike this episode's jokes about Southern people being dimwitted hillbillies. I could ignore it if it were just a few jokes, but the fact that the entire episode is just gag after gag about the same stereotypes makes this episode annoying to watch. If there's anybody out here that likes the episode, you could make the argument that Boo Brothers has the same jokes about Southern stereotypes with Billy Bob. In that film, the jokes were kept at a minimum and it was just one character who happened to be very stereotypical in his behavior. However, with this episode, they basically write the entire plot as one big joke around how stupid these "hillbillies" next door are, and it makes this episode drudgery to get through. It gets even worse when we discover the reason for this feud between Shaggy's family and the McGurk family is because one of them, Bubba, doesn't like taking baths, but Shaggy's cousin wants him to take one because he smells. You can't make this stuff up lol. I can think of about a million things I'd rather watch than the McGurk Brothers screwing around for seven minutes straight, so this one's a big no from me.
1. Scooby Dooby Guru
We've made it to the worst Scooby-Doo episode ever in my opinion. I had previously considered it to be "A Mystery Solving Gang Divided!," but when thinking about this list, I realized I kind of thought of the Scrappy shorts as more of a single entity of content I didn't enjoy, and hadn't really deeply thought about ones that I found specifically bad. I rewatched a couple of the ones that I remembered I didn't care for for this list, and wow, a few of them were far worse than I remember. There have been episodes that have elements of poor representation before, such as "Jeepers, It's the Jaguaro" as I mentioned earlier in the post, but this is the only episode I feel where the plot itself is so horribly stereotypical that the whole episode is just flat-out racist. The plot revolves around the guys visiting the Taj Mahal in India. While there, they accidentally knock over a priceless statue. The guard, who is Indian, goes into a blind rage and begins chasing them. What's especially bad about this episode is that the writers rely on some of the most ridiculously incorrect stereotypes of Indian people you could possibly imagine. After the guys knock over the statue, the plot revolves around the guard randomly jumping on an elephant, and rides it chasing the gang around the city. The guard's voice is also an awful impression of how someone from India would sound. I could go on about all the bad stereotypes in this episode, but my point is that even the slightest bit of research would have told them these stereotypes were grossly incorrect. People in India aren't just jumping on random elephants on the street and using them to chase people around town. Besides the bad stereotypes, Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy are unlikeable jerks in this episode. They accidentally knock over the priceless statue in the Taj Mahal, and instead of offering to pay for it or even apologizing, they just run away. A lot of people have called things like Curse of the 13th Ghost and Return to Zombie Island a "disgrace to the franchise," but this episode is the real disgrace IMO. It's just embarrassingly bad in every way, both in the sense of being racist, as well as Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy being jerks and taking no responsibility for this awful thing they did.
That about does it for my worst list, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! If anyone else would like to share their worst lists in the comments, I'd love to see them!
Scooby-Doo has had a wide variety of theme songs over the years. In the following post, I'm going to share my personal rankings of the theme songs from least favorite to favorite, as well as an explanation of why I ranked it there. I will forewarn you that I have an extremely unpopular opinion, so you can look forward to that haha.
16. Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?
I don't think I've talked about it much on here, but I really do not like the Guess Who theme song. It feels like a cheesy cover of the original Where Are You theme to me. The guy's voice sounds like he's kinda trying to sound like the original theme song, but it doesn't sound good at all. To be honest, I didn't even listen to theme song for more than a few Guess Who episodes, it's just so terrible to me I couldn't justify wasting time listening to it. The theme sequence itself isn't really that good either. It seems very generic to me. I realize my opinion on this is probably stronger than most people's will be, but yeah, the guy's voice just sounds obnoxious and this song comes off like a bad parody of the original.
15. The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour
Honestly, this theme song takes generic to a new level. I'm sure it took them a grueling two minutes in the writers room to write this song, given the only lyrics are "Scooby! Scoobity-Doo! Scooby! Scoobity-Doo!" lol. The theme sequence itself is fine, but it only makes it fall further into the category of being generic. There isn't really much going on here besides Shaggy and Scooby running into a mad doctor, Scrappy, Yabba and Dusty running around, and then some random shenanigans with some puppies from The Puppy's New Adventures. Although I do have a lot of criticisms of these theme songs from the 80s, I do want to assure you this whole post isn't just me complaining. I like all of the theme songs beyond some of these generic 80s ones.
14. The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show
Our next theme song has the exact same lyrics of "Scooby! Scoobity-Doo!" lol so essentially I'll just be discussing the theme sequence. I like the monster building in the intro, but otherwise, it's mainly just recycled monsters from Where Are You chasing Shaggy and Scooby. I guess at that time, it was probably kind of cool to have them reference those old villains, because they hadn't been seen in a while, but I didn't find this particularly notable at all.
13. The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show
We have a slight step up from "Scooby! Scoobity Doo!", since the lyrics to this are "Scooby! Scrappy Dappy Doo! Scooby! Scrappy Dappy Doo!" lol. The theme song doesn't really leave much to analyze, but what I do like about this theme sequence is that it sort of gives background (kind of?) as to how Scrappy came to stay with Scooby. I will say though, it's really sad somebody just shoved him with a box with eyeholes and threw him on a train. Poor Scrappy lol.
12. The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show
There's not really anything to analyze with this theme song, because it's just an instrumental for the Scooby part of it. In terms of the sequence itself, it feels very haphazardly thrown together without much thought. It's a bunch of random stuff happening without any vocals accompanying it, although to be fair, I guess it gives you a sense for the series a little bit, since that the show is mostly just Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy running from monsters. I do like the Richie Rich part, and this is ultimately why it got placed above the other Scrappy shows. It feels like a nice introduction to the show and the main character, rather than just a bunch of random chaos like we get with the Scooby part of the intro. The lyrics still leave something to be desired, however, as lines like "Richin' it up in the Rich Hall of Fame!" isn't exactly Taylor Swift level of songwriting lol. Actually, I don't even think there was a Rich Hall of Fame in that show; they apparently just made it up for the song lol.
11. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!
Now we're getting to a theme song I actually like haha. If you've made it this far, thank you for listening to my criticisms. It's just an instrumental, but I think this is a case where it works well. It sort of showcases all the characters through their brief appearances: Velma's using a magnifying glass, Shaggy and Scooby are running from the monster, Fred's acting as the leader driving the Mystery Machine, and you even see Daphne showing off her quirkier personality trying to trick that spider. It's not my favorite theme song since there are other far more nostalgic ones, but it's short, it's effective and it's to the point.
So there are two different versions of this theme song...one for Laff-a-Lympics and another for the package show Scooby's All Star Laff-a-Lympics, but I'm going to rank the original. I really liked how the theme song gives you a brief explanation for how the games work. It's done in a very simple way where it's just the announcer telling you, but I think it works well. I think it may have come off cringey if it was some person singing the rules to the Laff-a-Lympics, so this worked well for what it was. If I were ranking the Scooby's All Star Laff-a-Lympics theme, it would have been much lower, probably between The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show. The other intro felt more cobbled together and didn't really explain the competition as well, because too much time was spent introducing Scooby and Captain Caveman (I believe they were spotlighted because their shows aired alongside Laff-a-Lympics). The ending also comes off as very lazy, given it's a crowd saying "Ready set let's go" and Scooby just responds "Yeah!" lol. It makes me laugh to think what could have been going on in the writers room that day.
Writer #1: Oh no! It's five minutes to 5 and I need to get home to my family, but we need to finish this theme song! How should we have Scooby conclude this?
Writer #2: Eh, just have him say "yeah" and call it a day.
9. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
This is a much simpler theme song given it's just another instrumental like Be Cool, Scooby-Doo, but it's definitely effective in showcasing each member of the gang and their personality. Honestly that one sentence is all I have to say about it, which is why this was placed squarely in the middle.
8. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
This is where it gets a bit hard to rank the rest of them, because they're all good in their own way. I would rank A Pup Named Scooby-Doo next. It's a cute little catchy theme song that's perfect for the kiddy series, and I like the different scenes shown in the intro. The guy who's singing has a very unique voice.
7. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
I hate ranking this one so low, because as I said, all of the remaining theme songs are so good. I like Vincent Price's monologue at the beginning, though I feel after the beginning the song runs out of steam where it's just instrumental again. I do really like the scenes shown in the intro, though. Zomba running after Shaggy and Scooby looks super creepy! I wish that ghost with multiple eyes and mouths would have been one of the 13 ghosts; it's genuinely one of the creepiest villains of anything in the show. It would have been nice if that ghoul could have gotten a full episode rather than just a brief cameo in the intro. Like with the first Scrappy series, I like how this intro tells a story of how the Demon Chest was opened and gives an overview of the series. That's what I feel was missing from some of the generic 80s themes where it's a bunch of random stuff; it doesn't feel all that representative of the show or the characters.
6. Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue
And here's where you all are probably saying "how did this get so high?!?" I know 95% of people find the theme song intolerable because of the guy's obnoxious voice, but I never really minded this one. In fact, I'd even say I enjoy it. It has an in-your-face feel to it, but it works kind of well with the ridiculousness of the show. It's also pretty catchy and the theme sequence is visually interesting to look at with all the different versions of the characters popping up on screen. I don't know, I guess this song has just always been sort of a guilty pleasure of mine haha.
5. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries
I've always had a soft spot for this one and consider it to be the best theme song of that 80s era by far. I love how groovy and funky it sounds. It really encapsulates that 80s era, and the song itself flows really smoothly with the scenes in the intro. I really like the incorporation of the monsters doing the Thriller, but since "Thriller" had just come out, I do wonder if it felt cringey to fans at the time. I mean, it'd essentially be the equivalent of having Scooby do the Whip/Nae Nae dance in a theme song lol. Which would actually work if the lyrics were changed to "watch me Scoob, now watch me Shaggy" haha. That being said, I definitely do not want anything like that to ever happen, because a theme song like that would surely beat Guess Who for the worst theme sequence of all time lol.
4. The New Scooby-Doo Movies
Remember when I said it was getting hard to choose at this point a few rankings ago? Here's where it gets really hard to choose. I ultimately went with The New Scooby-Doo Movies because I like the other three better, but at this point, all of the theme songs remaining are iconic. The song itself is super catchy, and the theme sequence flows really well. I've always found it interesting how in the edited version for the DVDs, they not only edit out The Addams Family, they edit out all the guest stars, even ones that they had the rights for. Another thing that fascinates me is that instead of replacing The Addams Family part with the Haunted Horseman, in the end credits for both of the Batman episodes, they replace it with the gunslinger instead. I've always found that very strange and I wonder why those two episodes specifically were different.
3. The Scooby-Doo Show
This is such a catchy song and is honestly pretty much everything I could want in a theme song. At this point, it just comes down to personal preference for the other two. I love that they included Scooby-Dum in the intro. That huge ghost wizard was super-creepy looking and I wish they had included him in the series! Speaking of which, I also find it interesting they included an early design of Mamba Wamba at the end of the intro. Strange they wouldn't have just changed it when they updated the design.
2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
This is the classic theme song and it was so hard not to put it first, but me not placing it there certainly doesn't mean I don't love it. This is such a catchy, memorable theme song, and the scenes they picked out for the theme sequence were excellent. Although each of the seasons have a different artist singing the theme song, I like both for different reasons. Larry Marks's version is just the classic in my mind, and I like how unique George A. Robertson's voice sounds as well.
1. What's New, Scooby-Doo?
Simple Plan absolutely killed it here. Their vocals sound incredible here, and it was such a cool idea to make a rock version of the theme song. The theme sequence itself flows from scene to scene so nicely, and it didn't even need to use any scene that happened in the show. That huge purple monster is genuinely something out of a nightmare, and I think it would have been cool if the robot were the villain in an episode too. I would say that about the other dinosaur creature, but it feels like we kind of got a version of that in "3-D Struction." I like that an instrumental version of theme song is used for the credits, it works really well IMO.
Those are my rankings for the Scooby-Doo theme songs, but I'd love to see yours as well if you want to share them in the comments! I hope you enjoyed reading this post!
It's hard to believe that Scooby-Doo has been around for 53 years today! To celebrate, I'd like to look back on a post I did three years ago on this day, ranking each of the series in order. Back then, only a few episodes of Guess Who have aired, and my opinions have changed a bit, so I thought it would be fun to revisit this list and update it a bit.
16. The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show
This is still my least favorite series of the franchise. I much prefer the mystery element of Scooby, so given these episodes are all just comedy romps, this series has never really appealed to me. The 7-minute runtime doesn't allow time for any meaningful plot to develop, and the writing often felt rushed.
15. The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour
This ranking hasn't changed either. Not really much to add here, since it's pretty much the same issue I had with the last one, but this is slightly above The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show since there's sometimes a recurring plot of them being on cases for Shaggy's Uncle Fearless, which saves the adventures from being completely pointless. The Yabba-Doo shorts are fine, but they run into the same issue of not enough time and mostly just a comedy romp.
14. Scooby's All Star Laff-a-Lympics
I think it was a really cool idea to have the Hanna-Barbera characters compete against one another in a "Battle of the Network Stars" type competition. All of the different event ideas were cool, and it was fun seeing what the characters would do in different scenarios. However, the plot does get kind of "comedy romp"ish, which as I said, isn't quite what I'm looking for in Scooby even if it is entertaining. The repetitive plot does get a bit tiring after a while, in the sense that it's always just the Rottens cheating and the other two teams having to find a way around whatever obstacle the Rottens have put in their way. It's something that I enjoy watching from time to time, but it isn't something I'd rewatch regularly.
13. Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!
Unpopular opinion: Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! gets way too much hate. While it's not a traditional Scooby series by any stretch of the imagination, it's a lot of fun for what it is. The theme song never particularly annoyed me like it does for other people, and while Shaggy's voice is a bit jarring at first, you quickly get used to it. The humor is pretty fun at times, the characters are really interesting and well-developed, and the situations they find themselves in are ridiculous, but it's fun. This is one of those series that you kind of have to go into with the expectation it's not going to be like other Scooby series, but I really appreciate this series for what it is.
12. The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show
Now we're getting to the series I really enjoy. There are some really solid episodes here, and it sort of feels like a fourth season of The Scooby-Doo Show in some ways. The one issue I have with this series is the portrayal of Scrappy. While I don't hate him, he's very in-your-face here in a way that he isn't in some of the later shows we haven't gotten to yet, and I'm not the biggest fan of it. I also don't like how at times, Fred, Velma and Daphne begin to feel a bit like background characters because Scrappy is being placed front and center. Don't get me wrong, I by no means hate this series and find it quite enjoyable, but this one aspect brought it down from where it could have been.
11. Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?
Up until this point, all of the shows had been in the same order that they were in the original post. However, Guess Who moved a bit down for me. I've talked quite a bit about my opinion of Guess Who in previous posts. At the time of this last ranking, I'd only seen 12 episodes (knowing me, it was actually probably less than that because I likely wrote the post in advance lol), and I was talking about how the nostalgia felt a bit forced. I think I was optimistic the show would find itself when I wrote that post, but I would say my opinion of it has lessened since then. I found the show was very bland, and while I did feel the forced nostalgia got better after the first season, liking episodes was often dependent on your enjoyment of the guest star. "A Mystery Solving Gang Divided!" and "Ollie Ollie In-come Free!" were good examples of that - the guest stars were so in-your-face obnoxious that it made the episodes unenjoyable, at least to me. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes the guest stars would seem a bit awkward in the role - Jim Gaffigan, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson being examples. That would also make the episodes not as enjoyable as they could be, because certain dialogue would feel awkward or forced. I was really looking forward to the Kacey Musgraves episode, because I love Kacey, but in my opinion it kind of fell flat because she didn't really feel into the role. I would still agree with what I said three years ago that the show didn't ever feel like it brought anything distinct to the table - it felt very safe and like nothing new was really explored. The mysteries sometimes weren't as developed or interesting as they could be because too much focus would be put on the guest star. Don't get me wrong though, there were some amazing episodes here - "I Put a Hex on You!" and "The Legend of the Gold Microphone!" in particular - but overall as a series, there were others I liked better.
10. The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show
The re-addition of Daphne felt like it brought mysteries and structure back to the table, and the added four minutes of runtime made the plots not seem so rushed like they did in the 7-minute shorts. Scrappy also feels a bit more toned down in this series, where he isn't always the center focus and other characters feel like they have time to shine.
9. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries
Although it's basically the same series as the above one, I loved that this brought back full-length episodes some of the time. There are some solid episodes here that are among my favorites of the franchise - "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle," "The Nutcracker Scoob," and "Happy Birthday Scooby-Doo!" There were certainly a few duds here, but the majority of the episodes were great.
8. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
I love how in the previous article for this, I apparently wrote "I'll probably be surprised when re-reading this article in a year!" I will confirm I was indeed surprised, both that I ranked this so high previously and to see that random note from myself written three years ago lol. I remember that I'd rewatched this series around that time, so that could have been why this got so inflated. I absolutely love the premise of this series. It's such a cool idea to have Scooby and the gang searching for 13 of the most terrifying ghosts in the world, and some of the ghosts were truly amazing (Maldor and Zomba being my two favorites). My main reason for this ranking decreasing from 2019 is because I wish this series would have had a stronger consistency with the tone. At times, I feel like this series couldn't really tell if it wanted to be dark or silly. We'd get really dark premises like the gang trying to stop a witch from destroying the world, but then it would be executed in a really goofy way, like the gang chasing a witch version of the Three Stooges. At times, it sort of feels like there were two different creative visions for the show that got amalgamated into one, and while it worked sometimes, other times it didn't. I feel like the writing got less strong as the series went on as well. Those who know me know how much I dislike Rankor. He was such a cool-looking villain, but if he's one of the thirteen most powerful ghosts in the world, why is he taking orders from some random monster club and going in the chest willingly?!? I'm still not over how flat-out stupid that scene is even 12 years after watching it for the first time lol.
Overall, I really liked the dark and edgy vibe this series was going for, and the comedy was definitely fun at times. Although it went down a bit for me since the last ranking, I still enjoy this series and wish it would have had a second season to wrap things up.
7. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is such a fun, quirky little show. Although the gang's personalities are quite different from any previous incarnation, I love all the different characterizations of Fred, Velma and Daphne. Fred is super funny, and it's interesting to see Velma in a shier role. While I wouldn't say bossy Daphne is my favorite characterization, Kellie Martin does such a good job with it and I think it fits very naturally with this series. The zaniness of this series can be off the charts at times, but it's so much fun and I have a great appreciation for this show.
6. What's New, Scooby-Doo?
Ugh, I hate that this didn't make top 5, and it was a really difficult choice. I love the updated feel of this show, and it felt like a really natural return to the classic gang adventures, which we hadn't seen in a full series at that point since the 70s. I think a lot of shows introducing technology can be sort of cringey, but this incorporated everything flawlessly in a way that felt consistent with the Scooby-Doo formula. The consistency across seasons in this show is arguably probably the best of any Scooby series, and the mysteries and monsters are top notch.
5. The Scooby-Doo Show
Interestingly given I was just talking about consistency, this is perhaps the show with the most inconsistent tone across seasons, which ironically is kind of part of the appeal of it. Season 1 is such a classic and the writing is solid all throughout. Season 2 is collectively my favorite season in Scooby history. The season had such a dark, eerie tone to it that remains unmatched to date. I personally love darker episodes, so this season was incredible to me. I wish it would have been longer! Season 3 focused more on globetrotting, and many of the episode focused more heavily on the Shaggy and Scooby antics rather than the mystery. While I've mentioned before the heavy focus on antics isn't my favorite (I'm more interested in the mystery aspect of the franchise), I do still really appreciate this series for it introducing us to the gang traveling to different countries on a consistent basis (since them visiting other countries had been much more sporadic previously), which later comes into play more consistently again in What's New, Scooby-Doo?. I liked that we got to meet a lot of the gang's relatives in this season, especially Scooby-Dum, who I have always loved as a character. Although all three seasons are very different, there are so many classics in this series and that makes this series top tier for me.
4. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
This is where it gets really tough for me, because the remaining four series are all incredible in their own ways. I love the darker tone of this series, and the overarching plot is done so much better here than it was in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. The format of a mystery-of-the-week along with the gang slowly figuring out the overarching mystery worked so well. I thought the Easter eggs and callbacks to old series were great. The mature writing (besides the relationship drama) worked really well here, and I would love to see another series like this someday.
3. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!
I know this series has a terrible reputation among some fans, but when you give it a chance beyond the animation, I would argue this series has the most clever writing of any Scooby show to date. The random, absurdist humor is exactly my preferred style of comedy, so this series really resonated with me. I love how this series developed the characters further, particularly Daphne. Daphne's authentically weird, quirky antics were amazing, and it made her such an interesting character. The only thing I wish is that Jon Colton Barry (the head writer) had more creative control over the first season and the last half of season 2. I felt that this series hit its strongest point when JCB was able to exert full creative control over the plots and characters in the first half of season 2. The characters were always on point, and the monsters and mysteries were so well-developed in season 2. That's not to say they weren't in season 1, but I felt the first half of season 2 was the strongest when it came to character development and mysteries. The smart, witty writing fit so well here and I think if you give yourself a chance to get used to the animation, you'll find this show is really enjoyable. The most common complaint I hear is about the animation, and I know it's a bit jarring, but the writing here is far too amazing in my opinion not to give this series a chance.
2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
So, this used to be my favorite series, and it's still very close. This series started it all, and created so many of the tropes we've grown to love. These original adventures are always going to be the classics in my mind. It was very close, but my current favorite series is now...
1. The New Scooby-Doo Movies
I think part of this is driven by nostalgia, because my parents recorded these episodes on VHS tapes, and I would watch these episodes over and over when I was a kid. I loved the addition of the guest stars to the formula, and the extended run time allowed for some great character interactions and engaging mysteries. A lot of my favorite episodes from the franchise come from this series - "The Loch Ness Mess," "The Mystery of Haunted Island," and "Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner" to name a few. I really liked how fluid the tone of this show was. Every episode felt like a new adventure, and the guest stars brought such a variety of different tones to the table. Someone brought this up to me recently and I hadn't really thought about it before, but the episodes also always take the guest star out of their element and put them in a unique situation, and I think that's part of the charm of this series. The two episodes from this series that I'm not as big of a fan of ("The Phantom of the Country Music Hall" and "Mystery in Persia") are the only two episodes that don't really take the guest star out of their element. In his episode, Jerry Reed is just performing a concert in a music hall, and "Mystery in Persia" honestly feels more like a Jeannie episode than a Scooby-Doo episode. The fact that this series puts the guest stars in such quirky situations makes for a ton of fun, and that's ultimately why this series is currently my favorite.
Thank you so much for reading these rankings! If you want to share your own, I'd love to see other people's rankings in the comments, even if it's just an updated version of them if you posted on the original comment thread.
A recent fun fact post talked about how "Scooby on Ice!" from Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? was not the first time that Tara Lipinski has done voice work for Scooby-Doo. Unbeknownst to most, she also voiced Grey in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "Camp Comeoniwannascareya." This inspired me to do a deep dive project on all the guest stars from The New Scooby-Doo Movies and Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? to discover if any of them had previously had roles as other characters on the show (and I was surprised to discover quite a few of them did!). This post highlights all the guest stars from these two series that have had previous roles in other episodes before or after their first appearance in the franchise. I included both real-life celebrities and voices of fictional characters, such as The Addams Family and Wonder Woman; however, I did not include ones that were extremely famous voice actors (for example, Casey Kasem plays Alexander of Josie and the Pussycats, so it's obvious he's had other roles in the show).
Janet Waldo, most famous for voicing Jane Jetson, played both Grandmama Addams and Josie in The New Scooby-Doo Movies. However, she would later voice several notable characters in The Scooby-Doo Show, including Scooby-Dee from "The Chiller Diller Movie Thriller," Lisa Vanaugh from "Vampire Bats and Scaredy Cats," and Arlene Wilcox from "To Switch a Witch."
We probably all know that Don Knotts would go on to voice the groundskeeper in the video game, Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights.
Jackie Joseph, who voiced Melody, went on to voice a very random Scooby-Doo character almost 20 years later...Velma's Aunt Thelma from "Scooby Dude."
This one is perhaps more well-known, but Tim Conway would later go on to voice Fred's dad, Skip Jones, in Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy. He also voiced Professor Alexander Graham in the Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights video game.
Moving on to the Guess Who guest stars, Rachel Kimsey voiced Wonder Woman. Later in the series, she'd also voice Marla and the chef from "A Fashion Nightmare!"
If you thought Sandy Duncan and Cher were the only guest stars to have roles in both The New Scooby-Doo Movies and Guess Who, you would be wrong! Mark Hamill appeared as as himself in Guess Who, but he had previously voiced one of Jeannie's masters, Corey Anders, in "Mystery in Persia" of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Mark Hamill previously voiced Snakebite Scruggs in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island; Steve in Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders; Shifty in Night of the Living Doo; Deacon, Babyface Boretti and the store owner in Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare; and Zip Elvin in Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness. Mark Hamill has also provided several voices of the side characters and villains in What's New Scooby-Doo?, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!. His What's New roles include Captain Guzman and Emperor Caesar Salidicus in "Pompeii and Circumstance," as well as Tommy's father in "A Scooby-Doo Christmas." He voiced Crybaby Clown and the Drill Sargeant from "The Night the Clown Cried" and "The Night the Clown Cried II: Tears of Doom" in SDMI, in addition to voicing General Stall in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo's "Area 51 Adjacent." Moreover, in Guess Who, he also voiced The Joker in "What a Night, for a Dark Knight!" and the Trickster in "One Minute Mysteries!".
In addition to appearing as himself in Guess Who, George Takei also appeared as the White Wizard and Mr. Wang in SDMI. The Old Samurai in Scooby-Doo and Samurai Sword was also voiced by Takei.
Malcolm McDowell had previously voiced the Sly Baron in Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness in 2015 before appearing in the first season of Guess Who.
Ending right where we began, Tara Lipinski voiced Grey in "Camp Comeoniwannascareya" from What's New, Scooby-Doo?.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about some of the guest stars! I'm treating this as a running list, and will update this post as guest stars from either of these shows make voice appearances in other episodes.
Over the years, members of the gang have been pigeonholed and retconned into fitting certain stereotypes; Shaggy as a stoner and Velma identifying as a lesbian being the two most prominent examples. However, one stereotype is often thrust upon a member of this gang, but has not been explored in much depth over the years. Fred is sometimes labelled as a jock, despite not really displaying any athletic ability and being quite quirky at times.
In many of the earlier series, although Fred is the leader of the gang, he displays a number of quirky traits. He seems to really enjoy being the glue that holds the gang together, and is the type of person who enjoys structure. Typically, at least in the early episodes, he's the one who always suggests the gang split up. If you look closely in the early episodes, he's almost always got his hands in his pockets, which is an interesting little quirk in itself. Occasionally, he'll seem somewhat fixated on things, for example, in "The Ghost of Bigfoot," he mentions going skiing at least a dozen times. In these early episodes, we never see Fred wanting to play sports or displaying the traits of the stereotypical 'macho man.' However, it's perhaps worth pointing out that when Frank Welker first auditioned for the role, he was told to "think Jack Armstrong! Channel the All-American Boy!", which he revealed in a recent interview.
It is also worth noting, however, that Fred seems to go through a bit of a phase in season one of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. In the first episode of the series, he makes an odd joke out of nowhere about women, saying "This desert is like a woman...it goes on and on and on!" Besides this, his general behavior in some episodes is very odd. One example of this is in "Wednesday Is Missing," in which Daphne asks where a door goes. Fred tries to open the door, and when he realizes it's locked, he says "we'll never know!" in a very serious voice. In "The Haunted Horseman of Hagglethorn Hall," Shaggy says that he doesn't know if he has the spine to deal with the hauntings, to which Fred very sassily replies "What spine?" Perhaps most prominently in "The Phantom of the Country Music Hall," he acts as if he's only half listening to what Jerry says, which I detailed in my review here. Fred also lashes out at Shaggy inexplicably when Shaggy is scared of a dummy head falling down the stairs, shouting "You oughta be ashamed of yourself!" While perhaps the writers just had a different vision for his character in this season, it could be argued in-universe that Fred was perhaps going through some sort of mental health issues in this season, further showing his three-dimensionality beyond the two-dimensional "jock" stereotype.
Fred's quirkiness goes into overdrive in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, which represents him as a conspiracy theorist. In the series, Fred is regularly very invested in various conspiracy theories posed by his favorite magazine The National Exaggerator, which his Uncle Eddie owns. He is shown to have a lot of anxiety about these theories, regularly becoming alarmed about what he reads in the magazines.
The closest we've ever seen to Fred fitting this "All-American Boy" stereotype is What's New, Scooby-Doo? A recurring joke throughout the series is that Fred can bench 220 pounds. However, we still never see Fred display an overt interest in sports, besides in "Toy Scary Boo" in which Fred asks Shaggy if he watched the game last night. It may also be worth noting he wears a football helmet to cover a poodle haircut he's accidentally given in "Homeward Hound." Still, Fred is never directly shown to have an interest in playing sports. I would argue a more accurate depiction of Fred from What's New is someone who's interested in travel. Repeatedly through What's New and some of the DTVs around that time, Fred attempts to learn some aspect of the language of the place the gang is visiting, but the running joke is that his translations are awkward and often incorrect. He seems to have a wide variety of interests in this series, but he's never explicitly stated to enjoy sports.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated provides an interesting case study, because the jock stereotype is being thrust upon Fred by his father, Mayor Jones. Mayor Jones continuously laments that he wishes Fred could be more like normal boys his age, at one point suggesting he join the soccer team. However, Fred remains interested in building elaborate traps. SDMI almost feels like a commentary on that stereotype that Fred is a jock.
Speaking of commentaries, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! provides an excellent one on Fred. In this series, Fred's leadership style expanded upon. Fred's shown to be someone who likes rigid structure, and becomes frustrated when something does not go according to plan. In one episode, "Trading Chases," he becomes so frustrated with the gang not listening to him that he switches places with a tour guide to lead a bunch of kids. Although Daphne's often given the "quirky" label in this series, I would argue Fred has his fair share of quirks. You could argue that Fred was retconned for this series, but I believe Jon Colton Barry simply amplified and expanded upon traits that were already there. Even in the early series, Fred could be a bit of a control freak and enjoyed structure. He definitely wasn't the "average boy."
Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins provides an interesting contrast here, because this is one of the few pieces of Scooby-Doo media where Fred is officially confirmed to be a jock. In this film, Fred is on the football team, hangs out with all the kids who are into sports, and struggles with making genuine friendships where he can feel open about everything. At one point, when Daphne asks how Fred could possibly be friends with a selfish jerk who's bullying Shaggy on the school bus, Fred defends himself by saying that they're just friends because this guy happens to be on the football team. Despite this defense, Fred seems genuinely uncomfortable with the fact that someone he considered a "friend" was being cruel to another person. This alludes to the fact that Fred may be having issues being in tune with his emotions and open with others.
Ultimately while I think it's an interesting plot point to explore, Robbie Amell's portrayal didn't really fully feel like Fred. A lot of people attribute it to him not being blonde, but I think part of it has to do with the writing. Making Fred a jock plays into the stereotype of the "average American boy" who likes sports, is tough and unfeeling, and can't be vulnerable with others. In my opinion, this demonstrates a superficial understanding of Fred's character. Fred is not really shown to be a leader in this film, his love of structure isn't really touched upon, and he doesn't really have of the quirks that make Fred seem like himself. The fact that Fred's character in this film feels a bit off, given it's heavily based around being a jock, goes to show that Fred doesn't really fit the jock stereotype.
A second interesting contrast comes from another live-action movie, the original Scooby-Doo from 2002. Freddie Prinze Jr. portrays Fred as the stereotypical "frat guy": full of himself, aggressive, and not in touch with his emotions at all. This made Freddie's portrayal of Fred come off almost as a parody of the character. Like Amell's peformance, it didn't really fully embody Fred as a character. It's also worth noting that the 2002 film drew upon a lot of stereotypes in general - there's a scene in which Shaggy and Scooby are having a cookout, which begins with a shot of the outside of the van in which you can see smoke coming out. The joke here is that Shaggy and Scooby are supposedly getting high in the van, but once the scene pans in, you can see it's just a cookout. There's another scene which was ultimately cut from the movie where Velma makes out with Daphne, which plays upon the stereotype of Velma being lesbian. These two portrayals of Fred provide further evidence that traditional stereotypes of being a jock (Amell) or hypermasculinity (Freddie Prinze Jr.) doesn't really fit Fred, since it comes off as a bit unnatural.
If Fred doesn't really have the traditional characteristics of a "jock," then why do some fans see him this way? I would argue that interpretation of Fred is an oversimplification of his character based on stereotypes. Physically, he looks like the average "all-American boy," in the same way that Shaggy looks like a hippie, and a common stereotype about hippies is that they smoke marijuana. Similarly, many people assume that Velma might be lesbian because she has short hair and isn't interested in traditionally "girly" things. All of these character interpretations are based on mere stereotypes from the gang's physical appearance. However, when you really get to know the characters through the plethora of episodes and movies, you can clearly see the characters are actually quite three-dimensional, and so much more than the two-dimensional stereotypes that the general public has imposed on them.
~ WildwindVampire ~