Eight years ago on this day, Casey Kasem tragically passed away. To honor one of the most iconic voice actors this franchise has ever seen, today I will be doing my rankings of Shaggy's portrayals over the years.
8. Nick Palatas
Although Nick is ranked last, I really have nothing objectively wrong with his portrayal of Shaggy. Looking at it from a memorability standpoint, it was a cute portrayal, but it didn't scream "Shaggy" as much as some of his other actors did. Don't get me wrong, I do like how Nick portrayed Shaggy, but there wasn't as much personality here as some other portrayals. It's a shame Nick's acting career never really took off, as he seems like a good actor.
7. Scott Menville
I like Scott's portrayal of Shaggy as well, but this is kind of a similar case to Kate Micucci and Velma for me. I thought he fit Shaggy's characterization in Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue really well, but I don't think his voice would fit quite as well in other series.
6. Iain Armitage
If I haven't shared it on here already, I'm a big fan of Young Sheldon, which Iain Armitage stars in. I thought he did a great job playing young Shaggy; the best out of any of the actors in my opinion. I can't wait to see more of his Shaggy voice in Scoob! Holiday Haunt. I'm still wondering what the heck happened to his cameo in Scooby-Doo! Where Are You Now? It's really weird they would just not include him when they announced he had a cameo three weeks before it aired, and then just not say anything about it.
5. Will Forte
Will's Shaggy voice was my second favorite of the SCOOB! voices. While he did a good job with the voice, I definitely wouldn't put him up there with the more iconic versions of Shaggy. I liked his voice in that particular iteration, but I don't think I'd want him to be all Scooby shows and media. There were more iconic "one-time wonders" who voiced Shaggy, namely...
4. Billy West
Thus far, all of the Shaggy voices ranked have only portrayed him for a single film or season (at least at the time of writing this). Out of all of them, Billy West is the only one where I feel like "yes, this is Shaggy." I like his more nasally Shaggy voice, and while he could never replace Casey Kasem, I felt like he was an amazing substitute for Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. He channels a voice that's really similar to Casey's in my opinion, and does a great job with this role. If for some reason Matthew Lillard ever stepped down, I wouldn't mind at all if Billy returned to voice Shaggy.
3. Matthew Lillard
In comparison to the other live-action actor we've had for Shaggy, Nick Palatas, Matthew always felt more like Shaggy to me. While Nick does a good job with the role, I didn't have that same "yes, he fits the role of Shaggy perfectly" like I did with Matthew Lillard. When they announced Casey Kasem was retiring and would be replaced by Matthew Lillard, I honestly was not worried at all. While it was sad Casey had to step down, Matthew Lillard did such a good job as Shaggy in the first two live-action films that he seemed like a logical choice for the role.
2. Scott Innes
Although he only has voiced Shaggy in three DTVs (and some commercials), something about Scott's voice just has more of the original Casey Kasem charm than Matthew's does. If Matthew Lillard ever has to step down, I can confidently say I'd be really happy if Scott Innes stepped up to voice Shaggy again, because he does an amazing job. When I saw the movies when I was a kid, I honestly couldn't really tell that Shaggy had changed voice actors (although maybe I just didn't think about that sort of thing as much either haha) because he and Billy sound pretty similar to me. However, I would say now as an adult, I prefer Scott's voice to Billy's, although both are good.
1. Casey Kasem
Honestly, I probably only would have need to put "Casey Kasem" here and that would have been enough explanation lol. The man is an icon, and he made Shaggy into the character he is today.
I hope you enjoyed these rankings! Feel free to post your rankings of Shaggy's voice actors in the comments.
Over the years, each member of the gang has had so many different voice actors, not to mention the several actors and actresses that have portrayed each member of the gang in the live-action adaptions. In this article, I'm going to be doing a deep dive and ranking every single talent that has voiced or portrayed a member of the gang. I decided to divide it up by character rather than ranking all the voice actors in one list, since while I do like some better than others, once you get towards the top, all the voice actors are good in different ways. I honestly don't think I could choose between Frank Welker, Casey Kasem and Don Messick. Let's start with the member of the gang who has had the most voice actors, none other than Velma!
Velma has been portrayed by more actresses than any of the rest of the gang, totaling an impressive thirteen. We've seen so many different characterizations of Velma, from a more sarcastic, witty Velma with Mindy Cohn, Kate Micucci and Sarah Gilman, to a more polite, down-to-Earth Velma with B.J. Ward. I admittedly liked some iterations of Velma much more than others, and Velma has the only voice actress I really disliked.
13. Marla Frumkin
While I do feel bad for being so negative, I really am not a fan of Marla's Velma voice. It comes off flat and lifeless, and sort of feels like her Velma doesn't have any personality. I know many people say that Fred and Velma didn't really have much personality in the Scrappy series, and while I agree to an extent, I would say this is the peak of Velma not having a personality. While her Velma voice wasn't displeasing to the ears or anything, at least in my opinion, her voice was overly generic and didn't really bring much energy to the character. I give this portrayal an F...for "Frumkin" lol.
12. Ariana Greenblatt
I think this ranking could certainly go up after we've seen Scoob! Holiday Haunt, but Ariana's voice of young Velma in Scoob! is another one that feels pretty generic and unmemorable. In fact, I had to look up the name before typing this because I couldn't remember it. Granted, she is just a kid, so I wouldn't say I dislike her Velma voice like Marla's. Not much to say here, but I hope this ranking goes up when she has a more prominent role in Scoob! Holiday Haunt.
11. Stephanie D'Abruzzo
I liked Stephanie D'Abruzzo's Velma voice in Scooby-Doo Adventures: The Mystery Map, and clearly the director did too, as I read in an interview the other day that Mystery Map was originally supposed to have the gang voiced by their respective puppeteers, but Stephanie was the only one they kept. I'm not really sure if it was because WB was already thinking of pushing Mindy Cohn out at this point, but I think it could be. I have no real quips with Stephanie's voice, other than the same "unmemorable" complaint I had with Ariana.
10. Gina Rodriguez
I know a lot of people complain about the Scoob! voice actors, but I really liked Gina's Velma voice here. It's an unpopular opinion, but I really didn't mind them switching the voice actors for Scoob!. I wouldn't have wanted it to be permanent, but just doing it for the one film felt like a fun novelty thing to do for this film and I had no problem with it. I really don't have much to say about Gina's voice other than I enjoyed it and she did a good job.
9. Hayley Kiyoko
This is where it gets hard. I don't really want to place any of them this low, but I think Hayley Kiyoko has to be my next choice. Her characterization of Velma was super interesting and I liked seeing different interpretation of a witty Velma after we'd just seen that for the first time with Mindy Cohn's Velma. On a semi-related tangent, her cover of "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers popped up for me as a "recommended video" on YouTube the other day. Thus, I decided to check it out. I hadn't listened to much of her music before that, but I was actually really impressed! If you have the chance, I'd definitely recommend checking her Mr. Brightside cover here if you're interested!
8. Sarah Gilman
I really liked Sarah's portrayal of Velma in Daphne & Velma. While both she and Hayley did a great job (and kind of portrayed similar versions of the character in the sense that they are both sarcastic at times), I enjoyed Sarah's portrayal a bit more. I really liked the witty, standoffish (at least at first) energy she brought to Velma's portrayal, because it allowed for Velma to grow as a character in the film. Sarah seems like she really got into the role, and I applaud her for her excellent portrayal.
7. Pat Stevens
This was a difficult one to rank. I wanted to rank her super high just because of my nostalgia for The Scooby-Doo Show, but when I thought about it a bit more, there isn't really anything particularly special about her Velma voice. If she were to have voiced Velma in a recent series that I wasn't as nostalgic about, I admittedly wouldn't have that same desire to rank her high. Her voice comes off matter-of-fact and doesn't really have a ton of personality, although it does avoid being Marla Frumkin levels of generic. I definitely like Pat Stevens' voice, but I think her remaining voices had a bit more personality to them than she did.
6. Kate Micucci
I thought Kate Micucci was the perfect fit for Be Cool, Scooby-Doo Velma. Her sarcasm and wit really fit well with the somewhat socially awkward version they were going with for that series; however, I don't think Kate's voice is quite as much of a fit for other series. Don't get me wrong, I like her voice, but I don't find it fits quite as well as it did in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! specifically. That being said, I've seen quite a bit of hate for Kate's voice simply because she replaced Mindy, which I don't think is fair. This was a decision made by Warner Brothers, so regardless of which actress you like better, it's a bit unfair to project that hate onto Kate when she had nothing to do with the decision. While I also like Mindy's voice a bit better, I think voice talents should be judged on their own merits rather than comparing them to somebody else.
5. Christina Lange
Speaking of people whose voice really fits the series, I thought Christina did an amazing job portraying young Velma in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Her meek and mild mannered personality fit Velma's shy character in this series so well. She was my favorite of the new voice talents in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
4. Linda Cardellini
Just like how I found Matthew Lillard to be a good replacement for Casey Kasem, I would feel the same way if for some reason they ever brought Linda back. Of all the live-action voice actresses, she did the best job playing Velma hands down. She really brought a personality to the film that felt extremely natural as Velma, unlike Freddie Prinze Jr. (I'll discuss my thoughts on him in more detail later) where it felt like playing Fred didn't really come naturally to him.
3. B.J. Ward
My third favorite portrayal of Velma is none other than the amazing Betty Jean Ward. Whereas previous versions of Velma had come off as having her intelligence be the most prominent personality trait, I felt B.J.'s portrayal of Velma brought something completely different to the table. Velma felt much more down-to-Earth and sweet in the four revival DTVs, and I have to say, I really liked it. I realize the characterization might not be for everyone, but I thought it worked super well and it's one of my favorite versions of Velma.
2. Nicole Jaffe
I have a ton of nostalgia over Nicole Jaffe's Velma. She's the actress who started it all, and she gets down the role of the "smart girl" perfectly. While this isn't a criticism, I would say her portrayal sometimes gives Velma a know-it-all feeling that none of her other voice actresses really did. While I love Nicole, one actress surprasses her, and that is none other than...
1. Mindy Cohn
Mindy is hands down my favorite version of Velma. She was the actress that started the trend of Velma being witty and sassy, and I think she gets it down the best out of any of the voice actors. She really brings a lot of spunk and personality to Velma, and it's such a shame she was ultimately pushed out without much of a say. She was the most iconic Velma in my opinion, and it would be tough to surpass her.
That about does it for my Velma rankings! With the weekly polls recently, I've been loving how people have shared their rankings in the comments. If anybody wants to share how their own lists differ from mine in the comments, I'd love to see them!
Beginning with Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the Scooby franchise has had a considerable amount of Easter eggs. Most prominently, classic villains makes cameos quite often in the franchise, particularly a select group of Where Are You villains. It has arguably gotten to the point where Easter eggs have become a regular part of the franchise. It made sense for Mystery Incorporated to do this, as it was sort of a love letter to the franchise that expanded on elements people loved about the original series. It was also quite soap opera-ish and included some mature jokes, which are not things children are typically looking for in television shows. Given this, the series was arguably at least somewhat catered towards the adult fanbase. Be Cool continued this trend a bit by regularly including Easter eggs within episodes, as well as reimagining critically acclaimed episodes featuring redesigned classic villains. Guess Who took a bit of a different approach to the matter by trying to make the tone match with the original Where Are You show almost exactly. The DTV films have also commonly incorporated classic Where Are You villains during the opening credits.
In general within media, I love Easter eggs. They can be such fun bursts of nostalgia and can bring back good memories. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated sprinkled tons of references throughout each episode, which made it enjoyable to try to catch them all as you watched. I think the surplus of Easter eggs worked well with SDMI's format, since it was a show that took elements of the franchise that fans loved and tweaked them, such as making Velma's parents run a Spook Museum full of monster costumes representing Crystal Cove's supposed "lore" (which were actually just Easter eggs of classic villains). I also loved what Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! did with reimagining classic episodes, giving viewers the fun of searching what parts of the classic episode influenced how certain elements of the reimagined episodes were developed. Personally, I don't enjoy the way Guess Who and some of the DTVs incorporate Easter eggs quite as much. Especially in the first season, the Easter eggs felt constant. Along with the nostalgia that felt a bit forced in my opinion, the use of Easter eggs got to be a bit much. One of my favorite things about Easter eggs is that they are often obscure, or they reference things that the audience hasn't seen in a long time.
Guess Who tended to reference things that had already been referenced quite a bit, for example, having Redbeard, Charlie the Robot, Captain Cutler and The Creeper appear in "A Haunt of a Thousand Voices!" To me, that felt like less of an Easter egg and more like an "ugh, those villains are appearing yet again?" I think it would have been much more fun, at least personally, if they would have included some more obscure villains in the episode that hadn't been used in a long time (take the Wax Phantom for example). I thought SDMI and Be Cool always had a good mix of Easter Eggs, but it felt like Guess Who mainly pulled Easter Eggs from Where Are You with the exception of a few times, which got to feel a bit old after a while.
One of the biggest problem I have with Easter eggs is that it's often old villains making cameos in some way. I am fine with them doing this, but I would prefer they expand their pool of villains. How many times have we seen Captain Cutler, the Miner 49er, Charlie the Robot, the Ghost Clown, the Mummy, the Zombie, Space Kook, Redbeard, the Green Ghosts, and The Creeper, among others, appear now? In my opinion, the references to these particular villains has begun to feel a bit forced. Part of the charm of an Easter egg is not expecting it for it to pop up, and making illusions to the same pool of series and episodes begins to feel expected after it keeps happening.
Bringing it back to the conversation about nostalgia driving people liking certain Scooby-Doo shows, nostalgia in general is huge right now. Nostalgia is a very marketable concept, because it brings back fond memories from a simpler time, whether that be childhood or some other happy point in a person's life. This gets into a much broader concept than just Scooby-Doo, but I would argue sometimes nostalgia can get in the way of people liking updated incarnations of classic shows. With Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, many people refused to watch the show just because of the designs. The common refrain from a lot of critics of the show was "this ruined my childhood!" I think what these people actually mean to say is "I'm concerned this will change the vision of the show I had in my head from childhood." It's the same refrain with things like Daphne & Velma. That movie is arguably very different and is basically Scooby if it was a Disney Channel Original Movie, so it's understandable some might not like it if they don't like that genre of film. However, nostalgia often drives fear of change, which in turn makes people not give shows a chance at all. On this topic, as much as I hate to say it, I think there is a very small chance Velma will be successful. It's sad, because the show isn't even out yet and we know little about about, but so many people have already written off the show in their heads that I don't think it has much of a chance. The appeal of cartoons for some fans is the nostalgia of the Saturday Morning experience. Most likely, this isn't going to be anything like what they remember the show, so therefore it will probably get a lot of hate. In some cases, people end up just not liking things for different reasons unrelated to nostalgia, but I do think nostalgia is a common reason why adaptions of Scooby that are "too different" are disliked.
Tying these two concepts together, for me, what makes the best nostalgia is references that allow the show to grow. Guess Who and some of the DTVs focus a lot on the same pool of episodes. Particularly Guess Who tried to make the show's tone exactly what it was in Where Are You and The New Scooby-Doo Movies, but I think most people can agree it didn't really capture that tone. What I liked most about the Be Cool and SDMI references is that they used those Easter eggs and callbacks while also doing something very different - Be Cool more directly by reimagining classic episodes, and SDMI through working the Easter eggs into the lore of Crystal Cove. I think the best references and Easter eggs are the ones that genuinely surprise you, and don't try to shove the nostalgia in your face, or pull from the same pool of shows/villains over and over. I am not saying that every reference in Guess Who was terrible and you should never watch it - but in a general sense, I feel the references were incorporated better in the previous two shows (bonus points if you got the pun there). I think SDMI kickstarted future shows and DTVs having frequent references, but with the exception of Be Cool, the references weren't always as cleverly worked into the lore of the show in a pleasantly surprising way. To be clear though, I'm not saying I hate Guess Who. There were a lot of things about the show I enjoyed; I just liked Be Cool and SDMI quite a bit more.
Personally, I most love references to things you never thought you'd hear about again, or haven't heard about in forever. One recent non-Scooby example is The Gruesomes' appearance in Jellystone!, which I recently praised in a fun fact post. For those not familiar with The Flintstones, the Gruesomes are weird, Addams Family like characters who briefly moved next door to Fred and Wilma for three nonconsecutive episodes. I honestly never thought I'd hear about them again since they hadn't appeared since the 1970s, so it was such a pleasant surprise to have them randomly pop up again. They are worked into the episode by appearing in a horror film Magilla Gorilla is going to see, which is what sets up the episode's plot of a burglar breaking into his store. I feel like this is a perfect example of how to make a good reference, because it's completely unexpected, and also worked excellently into the plot.
The question of "how much nostalgia is too much nostalgia?" is ultimately something I think each person has to answer for themselves. I think it makes for a much richer show when nostalgia is somewhat limited, because it makes it feel more special. I really like when the franchise tries completely new things (Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) or puts a new spin on certain elements of the franchise (Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!). That's what keeps it interesting and allows room for change and growth. This is one thing I dislike about Guess Who: it tries to make the show too much like the "classic" years, and doesn't do anything different or particularly unique. That exploration of different elements is what keeps things interesting, in my opinion; I wouldn't just want to have a scenario where we're all like "alright, guess it's time for season 49 of Where Are You!" A lot of these "off" Scooby shows and films, like Daphne & Velma and Get A Clue are nothing like Scooby, but I enjoy the experimental nature of them and they're fun for what they are. Of course, there are some instances where it just doesn't work very well, due to poor writing or a bad concept, Arabian Nights or the Scrappy shorts being good examples. In general, it's fun to see different elements become more prominent in different series.
To summarize this article in simple terms, nostalgia is good in moderation. However, if it is used too heavily, it can hold series back or make them feel boring or bland. I would prefer new series to bring something different to the table that hasn't been explored in the franchise previously. What's New, Scooby-Doo? did it by providing a modernized 21st century update to the characters and atmosphere of the franchise. SDMI did it by adding a more mature tone, relationship drama, an overarching plot, and reimagining certain elements of the original show in a different timeline. Be Cool did it by focusing more on character dynamics and providing a more humorous spin on the show. There is always the risk of experimental concepts not working, but I would argue never exploring anything new within a franchise also comes with a cost; that being the plot becoming stale. When series and films retread old ground, and use the same types of references over and over that the nostalgia begins to feel too much. As long as references are done in decent moderation and the series/film is exploring something unique, I think nostalgia can be a very positive thing. At least in my opinion, a healthy balance is very important when incorporating nostalgia into series.
One of the most hotly debated issues among the Scooby-Doo fandom is the use of fake monsters versus real monsters. Many people feel fake monsters should be exclusively used, to abide by the classic "person in a mask" formula that Scooby started out with. Others don't mind if real monsters are used in the franchise, and some even prefer the use of real monsters because of the dark tone it creates. In my 14 years in the online fandom, I definitely see and respect both sides of the argument, but in this article, I would like to provide another perspective of the fake vs. real monster debate.
I want to start out by providing a brief history of the use of real monsters in the franchise, as compared to the more traditional fake ones. The first real monster appeared in The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode "Mystery in Persia." The episode involved Scooby and the gang teaming up with two genies, Jeannie and Babu, who were trying to get rid of an evil djinn named Jadall. Besides random little cameos that may or may not have been real monsters (i.e. the creatures in the Addams Family house, random talking skeletons that showed up for a moment like in "Hang in There, Scooby-Doo, etc.), the monsters in the franchise remained exclusively fake for the first 10 years of the franchise, besides the one exception with Jadall. Beginning in 1980, when Fred, Velma and Daphne left the show, so did the fake monsters. When they weren't running away from angry doctors and irked carnival owners, the monsters Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy faced were always real. This lasted until 1983 when Daphne returned to the series. The mystery-solving format returned to the show, although occasional episodes did have plots where the gang was dealing with real spooks. Examples of this include "Scoobygeist," in which Daphne and the guys stay the night in a haunted house, and "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle," where the gang attends a Halloween Party, which unbeknownst to them, was hosted by real monsters from Dracula's realm. Starting in 1985 with The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, the plot shifted completely to including only real monsters, as the gang had to help Vincent Van Ghoul recapture 13 of the most terrifying ghosts on Earth. The three Superstars 10 films succeeding the show also included real monsters, although Boo Brothers leaves it open to interpretation if some of the ghosts were real or not.
When the franchise went back to its roots in 1988 by getting rid of Scrappy and reintroducing the whole gang as regulars, the real monsters also went out the window as well. No real monsters were included in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo or What's New, Scooby-Doo? (with the exception of the Coral Creature in the latter, who only briefly appears). In between those two series, we did see real monsters in three of the first four DTV films which revived the franchise, which is an interesting phenomenon I will return to later. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated presented a fascinating balance of real versus fake monsters, as the monster-of-the-week was always a person in a mask, but the overarching plot included supernatural entities. Be Cool and Guess Who included only fake monsters. The DTVs have been inconsistent when it comes to including real monsters, but the vast majority of them were fake.
If someone were to ask me to choose between real or fake monsters, I would honestly choose a third option: good writing. While this perhaps seems like a cop-out answer, I don't think real or fake monsters has to be a binary concept like many fans have made it. There are a number of factors that play into this.
At its core, Scooby-Doo is about mystery-solving. I think we are all in agreement that if they permanently removed the mystery aspect from the show, it would not feel as much like Scooby-Doo. Even as someone who moderately likes Get A Clue, that's a main reason why the show didn't work for so many people: they changed too much. Going off and fighting criminal masterminds and spies doesn't have that core element of the franchise that people loved. Even the two episodes that did have monsters fell a bit flat, because there was no mystery solving aspect. That being said, I think there are a number of examples of real monsters working because of that mystery-solving element still being present.
In Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, although all the monsters are real, the majority of the movie's plot is still focused on the gang trying to figure out if Simone and Lena's house is haunted. When Morgan Moonscar's ghost carves "get out" into the wall, the gang realizes through looking at the footage that the ghost only shows up on camera. This leads to further investigation throughout the movie, until the eventual realization at the end that the monsters are real when Simone and Lena reveal their true intentions. The same goes for Witch's Ghost: most of the film is dedicated to the gang investigating Oakhaven with Ben Ravencroft, until the huge twist happens at the end when we find out Sarah is a witch. Mystery-solving is still a core aspect throughout those entire films, even though there is a reveal at the end that the monsters were real.
Another interesting exhibit for this argument is Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Each episode featured a monster that was a person in a mask, but the overarching plot featured a real supernatural entity from ancient times. What made this work so well is that besides the individual mysteries in each episode, the entire plot of the series was a mystery in itself, as the gang put together the pieces of the planispheric disc and discovered the truth behind the old Mystery Incorporated.
In contrast, let's look at some examples where it wasn't done well. It's common knowledge that The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show and The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour aren't exactly the most well-liked shows in the franchise. My opinion used to be that the seven-minute runtime was too short to develop the plot, but my thoughts on that have shifted over the years. Honestly, I don't think I'd want those episodes to be any longer than they were, as most of them would be drudgery to get through for many fans. The plots to all of those episodes consists of Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy bumping into a real monster, running around, and somehow escaping at the end. There simply wasn't much of a cohesive plot there, and the mystery-solving aspect completely disappeared. Extending the episodes so there could have been 22 minutes of running around aimlessly would not have improved anything, because the plot simply wasn't there. In The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour, there were some episodes that had Shaggy and the dogs solving cases assigned to them by Shaggy's Uncle Fearless, although the mysteries were poorly developed, and consisted mostly of antics rather than actual investigation. The majority of the cases also had the gang fighting super criminals and gangsters, which did not stay consistent with the format of the franchise.
Interestingly, the episodes of The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries that had real monsters were excellent. The biggest difference for me was that both of these episodes had an actual mystery to them. "Scoobygeist" had the mystery of the gang trying to figure out if the house was haunted or not. Moreover, while some of the "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle" plot revolved around the real monsters, the episode was still mainly centered around the mystery of Van Helsing's ghost before the shocking reveal at the end.
Those of you who know me are aware how much I love Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King. It's a top 10 Scooby film for me, which makes it difficult to say this, but I don't think that film was a good example of how to work real monsters into the plot. The mystery element that makes Scooby what it is wasn't there, which is what makes it feel so different as a film. The whole film has a very fantastical, magical vibe to it, which is what makes it work for me as it puts me in the Halloween mood. If you asked me if I wanted a whole series or more films like it, I honestly think it would be challenging to make that work. Most of what makes it work for me is the Halloween vibe of it, but I don't think I would want to see the franchise go in that direction. It's sort of the same thing as Get a Clue to me; I like the premise fine enough by itself, but it doesn't fit with the format of the rest of the franchise. The same goes for 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo: it works fine as a standalone, but the series feels like it's missing the mystery-solving aspect. The fact that the mystery was never wrapped up in the original series hurt it a bit as well. I think these types of series and films can work fine every now and then, but personally, I think the mystery element is more important than whether the monsters or real or fake.
Of course, I can't write an article about this without a mention of Curse of the 13th Ghost and Return to Zombie Island, as these two films sparked a lot of discussion of the use of real and fake monsters in the franchise. Ultimately, my issue with these two is that the tone of the original is just not there at all. If they would have made a compelling mystery that expanded upon the original plot, I think I would have enjoyed the films more than I did. However, in Return to Zombie Island, the corny-looking zombies and most of the plot revolving around making a zombie movie on the island is what really made this not enjoyable for me. Between the tone and the lack of expansion on the original, a sequel felt very unnecessary. While some people may have been bothered by the lack of real monsters, I would have been totally open to the monsters being fake if the tone was consistent with the original film. The same goes for Curse of the 13th Ghost. I think both of these films would have been fine as normal DTVs, but the franchise has grown and changed a lot since 13 Ghosts and Zombie Island were made. Making the two sequels in the tone of the current DTVs simply didn't work, and made both films feel completely different from the original material in a jarring way. With Curse of the 13th Ghost, I will say that I really like Tim Sheridan's intentions behind making the film open-ended, where it's possible that the 13th ghost was real, and also possible that it was fake. I like films that really make you think about what might have happened without directly telling you. It's one of the things I love about Boo Brothers. Even after you're done watching the film, you still don't know whether the ghosts were fake or not, even though there was an unmasking. I would love to see another Scooby film do something like that again. The problem with Curse of the 13th Ghost is that Velma's perspective that the ghosts are fake is shoved in the viewer's face so much that we don't really get to hear a compelling argument for what the rest of the gang believes. It was a great way to get around the studio mandate at the time of "no real monsters" for either of those two films (which is a bit silly), but ultimately, Velma's in-your-face perspective is what made Tim Sheridan's otherwise good idea not work in my opinion.
All of this said, I respect anyone who may have different beliefs on the matter. Maybe you are someone who feels the monsters need to always be fake to stick with the classic "person in a mask" format, or prefer a more adventure-focused format for the series. That's a perfectly valid opinion to have, and it's understandable why people might feel that way. However, for me, having a compelling mystery that we as viewers can follow along with has always been a plot device I find more important in the franchise than whether or not the monster is real. As I've outlined, there are a number of examples of plots with real monsters being executed poorly. In my opinion, there are just as many plots with fake monsters that have been executed poorly. Many people found some episodes of Guess Who to be flat due to an over-focus on the guest star and not enough mystery, and I agree with that opinion. The best episodes of Guess Who were always the ones that had a compelling mystery and a good balance with the guest star's presence, at least in my opinion. It all just goes to show the question of inclusion of the supernatural doesn't have to be as simple as picking between whether you prefer real or fake monsters. A throughly developed mystery and well-written plot can be just as important, if not more, than abidance to the "person in a mask" tradition within the franchise.
We're already three months into the year, and we still haven't heard anything about the next DTV. We also don't know anything about when Velma is coming out, or what's coming after that. I've talked to a number of people about my theories about what we'll see happen this year, and a few people have emailed asking my thoughts on this, so I thought it might be fun to write up an article detailing what I think is going to happen. Please note that this is not official news and my predictions very well may end up being wrong.
The most prominent question on everyone's mind is when we are getting our first DTV of the year. With the exception of 2020 (due to SCOOB! becoming a DTV because of COVID-19), there has traditionally been a movie released in the first few months of the year during these past several years. Thus far, we have heard nothing about the next DTV. Since we know it's in production, I am pretty sure Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too! will be our first DTV of the year. Some of you may also be aware that WB is releasing a DC Super Pets film on May 20, 2022, which includes Krypto the Superdog. I believe the reason we've heard nothing on this first DTV is because they are trying to align the release date of Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too! and DC Super Pets, in order to promote the latter film. Since Scooby-Doo is such a popular franchise, it makes sense that they would want to align the release dates of those two films, as seeing Krypto team up with Scooby might encourage more people to go and see the film in theaters at a time when people are skeptical about going to see a movie, due to the pandemic's progression with all the different variants.
Thinking about this logistically, the past two films (Sword and the Scoob and Straight Outta Nowhere) have had their trailers released 11-12 weeks before the film's release date. The Sword and the Scoob trailer was released December 8, 2020, and the film was released on February 23, 2021. Straight Outta Nowhere had its trailer released on June 22, 2021 and had a September 14, 2021 release date. Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo's trailer was also released 12 weeks before the release date. If they are planning to align Krypto Too's release date with the DC Super Pets film, I would assume they're planning to do so in the month of May. Since Scooby films are always released on Tuesdays, the last Tuesday in May is May 31. 11 weeks before that would mean we're getting the trailer next Tuesday, March 15.
All of that being said, that is a very logical way of looking at it. It's certainly possible they'll release it in June, since that's still somewhat close to the release date of DC Super Pets. It's also worth noting that the 11-12 weeks rule is more of a recent thing. The trailer for Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island was released July 23, 2019, six weeks before the film came out and two days after it had already premiered at San Diego Comic Con. If we don't get the trailer next week, I don't think that completely precludes the film being released in May. Logically, it makes most sense for us to get the trailer in March, but I'm more confident about my May release date guess than us getting the trailer in March.
Edit: Apparently it's just been confirmed that the Super Pets release date has been delayed to July 29, 2022. I believe we will now get the trailer for Krypto around late April or early May, and the movie around mid to late July.
Of course, we know we're getting Scoob! Holiday Haunt on HBO Max around Christmastime. I imagine that will come out around mid-November when people are beginning to think about the holidays.
I also believe we'll get the Velma series sometime this year, but more likely towards the very end. We haven't heard anything on it for a while, so I think it is unlikely that it's coming out this spring or summer. If we do see Velma this coming fall or winter, I'm guessing we will probably get the next Scooby series in late 2023 or early 2024. I don't think the Velma series format is going to stick, so I assume it's going to be another all-gang series. Unless Velma does amazing, which I very much doubt it will, I think it's logical to presume that they are probably going to make a series that plays it very "safe," and stays close to the franchise's roots like Guess Who. There's likely going to be a lot of backlash to Velma, because people are often very judgmental of change when it comes to shows they have a lot of nostalgia around. I'd honestly love to see a series that combines the dark tone of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and the style of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! I feel Maxwell Atoms did a great job with this in Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo, and if they choose to play it "safe," this is the way I would most like to see them execute it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful!
Recently, I ranked all the different versions of the Mystery Machines throughout the franchise in an article. A regular commenter on the blog, Samuel Kirkwood, suggested that I should do a similar article ranking all the different monster racing cars from Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, which I thought was an excellent idea.
Once again, I will note that I'm not super knowledgeable about cars, so I'm ranking them purely based off their features and how they look. I'm also limiting the scope of this article to only cars that were in the Monster Road Rally, not every single vehicle that appeared in the film (i.e. the Double Dyno Turbo Blaster, Dracula's Batcopter, the Drac-Mobile, etc.). Like last time, I will be ranking them from my least favorite to favorite.
This might really surprise people, but my least favorite is Shaggy's Werewolf Wagon. One thing I loved about the design of these cars is that all of the vehicles felt catered to some aspect of the monster driving it (i.e. the Freaky Franken Wagon had an electric antenna on it), but this one really didn't have much going for it. There's not really anything that screams 'werewolf.' There were a few somewhat neat features, like turbo boost, jet engine, producing teeth, a detachable skateboard, a tail-like helicopter in the trunk, and power boost via a spring (as in, a spring comes out from the bottom of the car which allows them to jump in the lead). However, all of these features felt generic to me and didn't fit with the theme of making the car reflect some aspect of the monster. Thus, it's my least favorite of any of the vehicles.
"And here comes the mummy, in his mummymobile!" is perhaps one of the most memorable lines of the film to me for some reason lol. This vehicle is a big step up from the Werewolf Wagon. I love that the car's exterior looks like purple bandages, and the Sphinx on the front is quite neat as well. We didn't really see too many features of this particular car, though I liked how the Sphinx's mouth was able to open and shoot bandages. Otherwise, there weren't a ton of exciting features compared to the other ones, hence why this car is placed second-to-last.
The Dragon Dragster, driven by the Dragonfly, is shaped like a green dragon, complete with wings, a tail, and headlights for eyes. Other than shooting out tacks and a few other minor features, it doesn't feel like we got to see very many interesting features here. Not that I found the car to be bad, but some of the others were better.
I really like the design of the Freaky Franken Wagon, driven by Frankenstein and Repulsa. The bolts of electricity coming out of the vehicle, the electric antenna on the back of it, and the Frankenstein hands at the front of the vehicle are quite cool-looking. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about catering the design of vehicle to the monster, as this very much looks like Frankenstein's car, whereas there isn't any particularly identifying attributes for the Werewolf Wagon. I also like how the front of the vehicle looks a bit coffinish.
In terms of design, this car is easily one of my favorites of the bunch. The half stage-coach half sports car design serves as a perfect metaphor for how Dr. Jackyll is more mild-mannered (represented by the old-timey stage coach), whereas Mr. Snyde is wild, untamed, and ego-driven (represented by the more lavish sports car). However, while the design is very cool, the car is very lacking in features. There wasn't really any feature of this vehicle that stood out to me, which unfortunately brought its final ranking down by a lot for me. I wish the car would have had more features like the other vehicles did, as it would have made this rank higher.
Driven by Bonejangles, the Bone Bomber is a car completely made of bones, two tires, and a steering wheel, with a large spiked skull on the front. The car can also shoot bones from the skull. The entire car being made of bones has always stood out as very cool to me, and I like the fact that it also shoots bones, which places this vehicle in fourth.
The last several are very tough to rank, because all of them are top-tier material for me. I'm going to have to go with the Slime Speedster next, driven by the Swamp Thing (although he was never given a name in the film). The design of this vehicle is so cool - it's completely made of swampy goo, and a creepy-looking purple stump. The fact that the car is made of swamp gook allows it to stretch out, to the detriment of the other racers' at one point in the film. The front of the vehicle also appears to be some sort of swampy creature, with red eyes and huge teeth. You can tell they put a lot into the design of this car, which makes it my second favorite of the bunch.
My favorite car in this film is the Cauldron Coupé. It's perhaps driven a bit by my love of the built-in cauldron feature, as some of the other vehicles admittedly have more creative designs. The cauldron works to the witch sisters' advantage numerous times in the film - it allows them to create potions to derail the other racers, and it also is able to shoot spells at other racers. The design is also super cool-looking. It had sort of an old stagecoach feel to it, in a sense, and the green stripes along the side are also quite neat. Ultimately, what makes this one my favorite is the combination of the design, which feels very witch-like, and the excellent features. Many of the cars in the film had one or the other, but this one utilized both aspects wonderfully.
I hope that you enjoyed reading these rankings! Once again, I'll admit that someone else with more knowledge on cars could have done a far better job than I did, but hopefully this article was still entertaining. I always love seeing all of your rankings in the comments for these types of articles and the weekly polls, so if anyone has their own ranking that they'd like to share in the comments, I'd love to see them!
Over the past few years, there have been a ton of reused villains in the Scooby franchise. It all springboarded with Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated utilizing classic villains in the Crystal Cove Spook Museum, such as Charlie the Robot, the Miner 49er, the Space Kook, etc. The reusing of classic villains continued with Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, though in this case, head writer Jon Colton Barry intended to reimagine entire classic episodes from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, such as "What the Hex is Going On?" and "A Night of Fright Is No Delight." After Be Cool, we saw a resurgence of classic villains reappearing in Guess Who and some of the movies. In this article, I will analyze and compare all of the "classic" villains that have made reappearances within the franchise. For the sake of making the scope of this article manageable, I'm only analyzing the villains that have reappeared as main villains, without including ones that have just popped in as cameos for a second.
The first episode that reimagines a classic Scooby-Doo plot that we all know and love is the pilot of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! "Mystery 101." Personally, I think it was genius for Jon to place this episode as the premiere episode of the series. Given Be Cool was intended as a reboot of Where Are You, a reimagining of such a classic Scooby-Doo plot is a perfect way to create a bridge between the two series right from the start. Despite the many similarities, the Be Cool episode is a very different plot-wise. Rather than having Daphne visiting her friend and having her uncle be kidnapped by a ghost, we instead seeing Velma trying to get into her dream university which is being haunted by the founder's ghost. I found this to be a very interesting plot, equally as much as Daphne visiting her friend Sharon in the original episode. Even though this episode departed from the original in a lot of ways plot-wise, I felt like that's what made it such a good reimagining. If they would have just done the exact same thing again, it would have likely been somewhat boring. I think this demonstrates that reimagining an episode requires a good balance between drawing upon the source material and making it your own.
In terms of comparing the two villains, the Be Cool Elias Kingston is a lot more monstrous with his growls and roars. According to Jon Colton Barry, this was because WB had at first mandated a rule that said monsters could not talk. Even if JCB didn't really have control over that aspect, I think it created an interesting contrast between this reimagined Elias Kingston and the original. The original Elias's voice from Where Are You, sounded kind of nerdy and nasally, which didn't exactly make him all that scary. His ability to turn people old was pretty terrifying, and that's something I wish they would have kept for the reimagined version, but I understand that it may not have fit with JCB's vision for reimagining this ghost and this episode. Overall, I found this more "monstrous" adaption of Elias Kingston to be much more intimidating than the original. "What the Hex is Going On?" is one of my favorite classic episodes, and I felt "Mystery 101" did a wonderful job reimagining it.
I debated including "All Paws on Deck," but Jon Colton Barry has confirmed here that it's not a reimagined episode, just a monster design that was slightly inspired by the Beast of Bottomless Lake. Given this, let's move on to "Where There's a Will, There's a Wraith." I feel like this was the perfect way to reimagine a Scooby-Doo episode! This episode completely reworks the plot of one of the most classic episodes in Scooby history, "A Night of Fright Is No Delight." Just like in the original, Scooby goes to a haunted house to claim the inheritance of a famous colonel, though this time, it's a "jerky colonel" haha. All the same basic elements from the classic episode are there: there's a reading of will where the house is revealed to be haunted, the colonel's relatives are captured one by one, and the gang realizes there are two phantoms as they solve the mystery. At the very end (spoilers if you haven't seen the episode), it's even revealed that the colonel's inheritance was actually confederate money. Although, as a humorous twist, the house is blown up right before the episode ends, which is obviously not what happened in the original lol. Visually, the ghosts look pretty similar, though these look a little greener and their skeleton hands are super creepy! Despite all the similarities, the reimagined episode was very much its own thing and had a lot of unique elements as well, such as the B-plot of Daphne wanting to turn it into a slumber party, as well as the different character interactions due to the nature of how the gang is characterized in this series. I think this is the perfect example of the right way to reimagine an episode: interpolating aspects of the episode you're drawing upon, while also creating new plotlines and putting a twist on something that's classic. Be Cool all around did that very well, and I applaud JCB and the other writers for that.
"In Space" is a good example of an episode that reused a classic villain while completely reimagining the episode into something wildly different. While the design of the Space Kook was used, a romp around an abandoned airfield was changed into a full-blown alien infection plot. "In Space" was personally one of my favorite episodes of the entire series for this reason - it took a classic plot that every Scooby fan knows and took it in a completely different direction, while also drawing upon the classic horror film Alien for inspiration. The aliens looked a little creepier than the Space Kook to me, even though they didn't have the same laugh, which I liked. While Scooby-Doo is technically targeted at kids, it definitely does have horror-inspired elements within it, as can be seen a bit in the dark atmosphere of Where Are You. For that reason, I think mixing such a critically acclaimed horror film with a classic Scooby episode was a genius creative decision of the writers' part.
The last Be Cool Scooby-Doo that reimagines a Where Are You episode is "Naughty or Ice." This episode's reutilization of elements from "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright" feels somewhere in between "Mystery 101" and "Where There's a Will, There's a Wraith." Certain elements like the caveman being frozen in ice and coming to life are reused, but the setting of an "ice hotel" and a research lab at Oceanland are starkly in contrast with each other. The caveman visually looked incredibly similar to the original, though the one scene where Shaggy and Scooby try to teach him his own name (which was super cute) shows that he seems to be a bit more evolved than the original caveman. Once again, a unique Be Cool twist on the episode is added in the form of Daphne sneaking around and seemingly hiding things from the gang, making the episode much more complex than the original episode was. I think this episode struck a perfect balance between using elements of "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright" and building on the original plot to make something unique.
On the other hand, I do not think Guess Who did as good of a job with this in the three episodes that they "reimagined." "Scooby on Ice!" was intended to reimagine "That's Snow Ghost" and the very next episode, "Caveman on the Half Pipe!" reimagined "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright." I'm not sure how deeply the Guess Who writers wanted the elements of these episodes to play into the original episode, but I do not feel like they did a very good job interpolating the reused villains here at all. It seemed like they just plopped reused villain designs into new plots, without much thought on how to draw inspiration from the original episodes they were taking these villains for. The same goes for the utilization of the green ghost as the Technomancer in "When Urkel Bots Go Bad!" It reminds me of how they reused Redbeard and his crew by removing all the coloring from their character design in "The Ghostly Creep from the Deep" from The New Scooby-Doo Movies. I didn't mind the episodes themselves and found all three of them to be enjoyable, but the use of the villains was arguably not nearly as creative as it was in Be Cool, where they took elements from the original episode and interpolated them into the new plot.
However, in the Guess Who episodes that reimagined classic New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes, like "The Dreaded Remake of Jekyll and Hyde!" and "Cher, Scooby and Sargasso Sea!", I thought they did an amazing job staying close to those original episodes. The Sandy Duncan episode honestly like the type of sequel I wish we would have gotten with Return to Zombie Island and Curse of the 13th Ghost. It was literally a perfect reimagining of the original, even including several different random villains that popped up throughout the episode like the manta ray and the mummy and such. The gang being chased by all these monsters on movie set that even looked a lot like the original one was so amazing to see. It felt like the gang picked up where they left off with the last adventure with Sandy Duncan, which created a bridge between the two episodes similar to what Be Cool did with Where Are You in "Mystery 101." The same goes for "Cher, Scooby and the Sargasso Sea!" which I felt drew on elements of the original super well (even down to the villains being the same) to create a sequel. However, I wouldn't say I really view these as reimaginings. I'd say they're more continuations of the original episodes. Even though I really didn't care for the "sequels" that were made for the 50th anniversary, I would honestly love to see more sequels to classic episodes if it were done in the vein of how the Sandy Duncan and Cher episodes were done.
Another instance in Guess Who where I kind of liked the reutilization of classic villains was "A Haunt of a Thousand Voices!" I felt like it was fitting given the voice actors were the guest stars, but at the same time, there was no real lore behind any of those villains being at Frank's house, which goes to my point of how Be Cool reimagined villains more creatively than Guess Who.
It's always a fun Easter egg when classic villains from Scooby are reused, but I also feel that if they are going to reuse villains, there should at least be some sort of lore around why the villains are being reused, and aspects of the original episode the villain is from should be drawn upon, as opposed to just plopping an old villain in the middle of some random setting without much thought. In addition, now that this trend of "reimagining villains" has become a thing, I kind of wish we wouldn't get the same ones reused so much. It tends to be always similar villains from Where Are You, and villains from other series are rarely used. Even some of the Where Are You ones, like the Wax Phantom and the Puppet Master for example, are neglected. While it's not to the point of me being annoyed by the reuse of these villains so much, I feel like it might get there if they continue to do stuff like "the gang meets Redbeard the pirate for the eighth time!" It just feels like the writers can be a little more creative than that, but that may just be me.
If there's anything to take away from this article, I think it's that Be Cool did an excellent job interpolating classic elements of each episode when using old villains, creating something new and wonderful in the process. In the future, I'd love to see another Scooby series do some more Be Cool-like reimaginings of villains!
The gang has had a lot of different looks throughout the 52 years of the franchise, some better and more iconic than others. I thought it might be fun to rank all the different outfits the gang has had over the years, from my least favorite to my favorite. Note that I'm specifically ranking outfits for this article, not the same outfit in a different animation style (i.e. the gang has the same outfits in Where Are You and SDMI). I'm also only including outfits that were present for entire series (or films). This article would be ridiculously long if I included every single outfit the gang has ever worn, so thus I'm keeping it to the main ones.
To no one's surprise, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! is the worst of the outfits, IMO. I know Fred wasn't really in this series much, but I am including him as well. Daphne and Velma essentially had the same outfits they did in What's New, so I am not including them. In the show, Shaggy wears green pants, black sneakers, and a green and white striped shirt. Fred wears a blue collared shirt, a white undershirt, and blue jeans. My reason for putting these last is that neither Fred or Shaggy's outfits look particularly good on them, at least not as well as any of the others. It just seems like they slapped a random design together and called it good. Particularly Shaggy's outfit does not look like something that fits his style as a character.
There isn't anything particularly wrong with Daphne and Shaggy's outfits in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, I just have never enjoyed them as much. Switching Shaggy's shirt from red to green didn't really seem to have any purpose, and I personally feel the green shirt looks better on him. While I like Daphne's purple jumpsuit better than Shaggy's green shirt, it's not my favorite of her outfits. I feel pretty indifferent to it, whereas I like some of her other outfits. It's important to note that Daphne actually had two more outfits in this series, the second one being just a purple jacket over her jumpsuit. She also has a purple sleeved skirt with lavender stripes on the sleeve seams, which looks more like her classic outfit (though still a bit different). The sleeved dress was okay, but to me, it just seems like a slightly worse version of here classic outfit. I admittedly didn't rewatch the series for this article (as it would have been too time consuming to rewatch every single series I'm ranking outfits from), but I believe she wore the jumpsuit in episodes 1-6 (and she wore the purple jumpsuit with a jacket in episode 3), and then they switched her outfit to the purple sleeved skirt for episodes 7-13. In all the outfits, Daphne's shoes also look more boot-like than they do in other series. Personally, I'd rank these in the following order: the purple jumpsuit, then the sleeved dress, then the jacket over the jumpsuit (all of them are in order between Get a Clue and the next outfits, WNSD). I thought the jacket really added something to the look. I didn't forget about Daphne's outfit in Curse of the 13th Ghost with these rankings, and will return to that later.
The gang's revamped outfits in What's New, Scooby-Doo? are one of my favorites. While Shaggy and Velma's outfits are pretty much the same, Fred's white sweater with a blue stripe and collar looks excellent on him. I liked Daphne's purple sleeved dress as well. Both feel like just slight adaptions on the original that give Fred and Daphne an updated look, but doesn't change the way they look so much that it no longer fits their characters. I wouldn't mind it if these outfits returned at some point in the franchise (though I doubt they will).
We now return to Curse of the 13th Ghost, where the rest of the gang's look stays the same, but Daphne is given a more updated look. In the film, Daphne wears a maroon collared jacket, along with some unique-looking fingerless gloves. She also wears purple pants and dark purple boots. Personally, this is one of my favorite looks ever for Daphne. The jacket and boots in particular make her look so much more mature and empowered, and the fingerless gloves looks so cool on her. If they ever choose to make a series with the gang as adults, I hope they go with a look like this for Daphne, because it looks great on her.
While Shaggy and Velma look the same, Fred is given a new light blue (gray?) collared shirt. Out of all the gang's outfits, this one is next-best to the classic. My favorite outfit, however, is Daphne's purple suit coat, green shirt, and purple skirt. Like her Curse of the 13th Ghost outfit, I love this more mature, updated look for Daphne. While I love her classic look the most, I honestly wouldn't mind having Daphne wear this outfit for a full series or another era of films, as I think it's an excellent look for her.
Of course, my favorite of the gang's outfits is the classic look: Shaggy with a green shirt, black shoes and red bell bottom pants; Fred with an orange ascot, brown shoes, a white shirt with a blue collar, and blue jeans; Daphne wearing a green ascot, a purple headband, pink tights, purple Takamoto shoes (named after Iwao Takamoto, the animator who designed Scooby) and a purple shirt with lavender stripes on the bottom and cuffs; and Velma with an orange sweater, red skirt, orange socks and red heels. These will always be the gang's most iconic outfits to me, simply because they've been used in the majority of series and films thus far. While the gang's outfits have changed somewhat throughout the years, the original outfits will always be the most core to the characters' designs in my opinion.
As the year concludes and we look ahead to next year, there are a couple of hopes I have for the future of the Scooby-Doo franchise. So far, we already know Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too! is coming out at some point, the Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries comic series will conclude with its final three issues, and we'll likely be getting six more Where Are You comics. It's also likely Velma will be released on HBO Max at some point. There are a couple of more specific hopes I have for the future of the franchise:
1. Less Crossovers
I am excited to see Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too! next year, even not having seen anything with Krypto prior to this film. I also enjoy the vast majority of the crossover films there have been. However, I do feel that the crossovers have become a bit overkill. It's gotten to the point where nearly all of the content is crossovers. Even the films that WB aren't marketing as crossovers are crossovers (i.e. Happy Halloween had Elvira and Bill Nye, Sword and the Scoob had Thundarr the Barbarian). I've enjoyed the crossovers thus far for the most part and enjoyed Guess Who, but after we just had an entire series of crossovers, I think there needs to be a bit of variety. Don't get me wrong, I'm okay with some crossovers, but I don't want it to get to the point where WB is relying so heavily on the crossover that it's all we get, and it feels like we've reached that point this year, with both DTVs being crossovers, Guess Who being a series of crossovers, and even the comic series Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries being all crossovers. I'm not saying they can't ever do crossovers, but I do feel like they need to dial it back a bit so that the Scooby franchise isn't being entirely supported by crossovers.
2. Ending Stock Art in Where Are You
I would like to see them continue creating new art for the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You comics like they did in #111. The constant recycling of stock art feels a bit lazy, and I just can't imagine anyone prefers this to new art. I imagine sales would boost quite a bit if they used new art, instead of the same poses over and over. Looking at my previous "hopes for the franchise" posts from past years, this has been a recurring thing that I've asked for every year. It's exciting we finally got it in #111 this year, and I'm hopeful this means it will finally happen.
The newly announced series Velma will be coming to HBO Max likely next year sometime. Not all that much has been announced, but unfortunately, there has been a lot of backlash already. My biggest hope with this series is that people will at least give it a chance. Sadly, this has happened before with Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! where people were so turned off by the different art style that they boycotted the show. Given the fact that this show will be targeted towards adults and seems like it will have some big changes to the Scooby-Doo formula, it's understandable that people are skeptical. What bothers me, however, are the "this show is going to ruin my childhood!" or "the Scooby franchise will end because of this show!" type comments. For the "franchise will end" type comments, I really doubt that this show is changing the trajectory of the franchise; it's just them experimenting with different elements of the franchise than they have before. Nearly everybody hated Get a Clue, but right after it, we got one of the most critically acclaimed Scooby series of all time, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. For the "ruin my childhood" comments, there is still 50+ years of Scooby content to enjoy from the past, even if this series is terrible. No one is taking that away regardless of how this show turns out. The worst that can happen is that you watch an episode of Velma and end up hating it, in which case, you'll still have all the previous Scooby series to watch, and you'll just have to wait a little while for the next Scooby series. No one really knows for sure what the series will be like until it comes out, so there's no reason to immediately judge it and turn to the worst case scenario when we don't know much. It's understandable if people are skeptical and it may end up being terrible, but I just wish people wouldn't be so quick to judge and take their fear of the series being bad to such extreme levels. You aren't gaining anything by worrying about it being terrible, so the best thing to do is just wait until we're able to see it.
Looking back on my three hopes for this year (written last December), it looks like we got two out of the three of them (though the two we got were simply that the DTVs this year and last 11 episodes of Guess Who would be good). The only one we still haven't gotten is rescheduling Scooby-Doo and the Lost City of Gold, since it's a shame that the performers spent so long preparing only to have it almost immediately cancelled after a few shows. That couldn't happen for obvious reasons though, with the COVID-19 pandemic.
There's a lot of things I'm hoping for, because I want only the best for the Scooby franchise, but based on what's been announced, these are the biggest three that I'd like to see next year. I hope 2022 is an amazing year for Scooby!
A lot of people have mentioned they enjoy the ranking/review-type articles and have suggested that I do more. I'm still thinking through this part (just in terms of if I'll have time), but I was thinking of maybe separating it so I'm posting regular reviews of different Scooby media, as well as the monthly editorial articles. Anyway, I did a weekly poll a long time ago asking people what their favorite version of the Mystery Machine was, which led to quite a bit of discussion in the comments. I wanted to do a bit of a combination between a ranking and an editorial article by comparing all the different Mystery Machines that have been featured across the Scooby-Doo franchise over the years. I'm definitely not someone who's super into cars, so the reviews are going to be more contrasting the designs, rather than things like "The Mystery Machine from Be Cool looks jacked up, son!" haha. Not all the vehicles I'm reviewing were officially called "The Mystery Machine," but I'm including anything that was used as the gang's main mode of transportation for an entire film or series.
Starting off with the red van from 13 Ghosts and Ghoul School, it is a pretty plain looking red van with a gray stripe across the body. There are two headlights on the roof, in addition to the two down below in the normal spot. Like the original Mystery Machine, this van has a large back seat which passengers can get into via a sliding door. There were some minimal high-tech gadgets installed in 13 Ghosts to help with ghost detection, but nothing particularly notable. The van appears again in Scooby-Doo and the Curse of the 13th Ghost, and it is named the "Miss-tery Machine." Of the main vans used in a series (we'll get to the other two used in Boo Brothers and Reluctant Werewolf later), this was my least favorite. The Mystery Machine has a very appealing design and became the gang's trademark van over the 15 years prior (1969-1984). This van seems bland in comparison, and I think it could have worked just as well to have them drive the Mystery Machine.
The same argument goes for Shaggy's green jeep in Boo Brothers. There isn't any particularly anything special about it, other than I do think it's cool that it seems to be modeled after an actual model of a car, the 1981 Jimny Suzuki. This is just speculation, however, and it's never been confirmed by anyone working on the franchise that they based the design for this jeep off of that particular car model.
Lastly, I feel the same way about Shaggy's Double Dyno Turbo Blaster from Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf. The vehicle has two gigantic back wheels, a red exterior, and a sun roof. I'm not exactly sure what those three gray bars on the side are. The vehicle is neat looking in terms of novelty of design, but at the same time, I also wouldn't particularly care if it ever appeared again (which I very much doubt it ever will).
Moving onto the last one I don't really care about, the LEGO van was fine I guess. It's basically just the Mystery Machine made out of LEGOs. I wasn't a huge fan of Blowout Beach Bash as it is (Haunted Hollywood was decent), so in general, this particular Mystery Machine was nothing special for me.
Velma's scooter was not technically a "Mystery Machine," but it acted as the gang's makeshift vehicle for when they were kids. I've always appreciated the scooter, and thought it was a very cute and quirky way for the gang to get around. The scooter itself has a teal board, lime green wheels, and an orange and gray motor. While Velma's expression is very uncharacteristic of her in this episode (looking tough), the backstory of it being one of Velma's inventions fits quite well with her character. The skateboard only appeared in a few episodes of the series. While it is a very unique idea, it is ranked a bit lower since we didn't see it all that much, and when we did, it was only for a few seconds.
The Mystery Machine X appeared in Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! and was specifically built for the gang by Bill Nye after the other one was rendered unusable. Features of the van include autopilot, autoclave, a touchscreen, and running solely on electricity. You could also argue that its ability to somehow allow the passengers to view projections (which Bill Nye did throughout the film) is a feature of this vehicle. The Mystery Machine X fit quite well with the plot of this film, however, I would not want to have it become a regular part of the franchise.
Get a Clue's Mystery Machine very much had the vibe of "let's make the Mystery Machine super jacked up for the kids, they'll think that's awesome!" In this series, the Mystery Machine had the power to turn into any vehicle in the world. Throughout the series, the Mystery Machine turned into a plane, a truck, a canoe, and much more. In its main form, the Mystery Machine looked like a sleeker, more SUV-ish vehicle. The orange flowers on the side were redesigned into stars, and the green/blue consistency is reversed: the Mystery Machine is mostly blue, with two green stripes across each side.
The reason I like this Mystery Machine is because it was used as an expositional tool, but in moderation. There was never any instance of the Mystery Machine being ridiculously overpowered, or turning into something like a war tank to immediately annihilate Dr. Phibes just because the writers couldn't think of how else to end the episode. The Mystery Machine's power of turning into any vehicle was always used to advance the plot in some way and aid Shaggy and Scooby in their weekly attempt to stop Dr. Phibes. There's a lot of ways I think this idea could have gone wrong: The Mystery Machine's immense power being used as a writing crutch, or being used in a cringey way to make the show seem "cool and action-packed" for the kids. It doesn't feel like either of those things happened, though. The Mystery Machine was always used as a supplement to the plot, without changing the course of the entire plot. This made me appreciate this version of the Mystery Machine more for what it was, even if it's my least favorite version of the vehicles that were officially called the Mystery Machine.
To me, the van from the 2002 and 2004 live action films look most aesthetically appealing. I do know that they were going more for the "old, beat-up van" look for the sake of the prequels' backstory, since Daphne's father planned to give her the old gardener's van for a 16th birthday present. Eventually, the gardening van became the Mystery Machine, and the gang is seen painting it at the end of Mystery Begins.
The remainder of these are all very similar versions of the same vehicle, just in different animation. Since they basically look the same, I will include pictures and a short description of them all (so I'm not redescribing the same thing so many times), and then discuss which animation style I like The Mystery Machine best in at the end.
In the live-action film Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, the Mystery Machine is briefly seen as a limo. It's unclear if this is actually another Mystery Machine the gang owns in the form of a limo, or simply a limo painted to look like the Mystery Machine for one-time use. I assume it's the latter.
The Mystery Machine in SCOOB! animation. The one noticeable difference about this version of the van is that there are satellites mounted on top of the Mystery Machine.
The Be Cool Mystery Machine looks pretty much identical to the classic Mystery Machine we all know and love, however, there are a few features that Fred installs throughout the series. For example, in "Professor Huh?", Fred installs a feature in the Mystery Machine that allows it to turn into a submarine. My thoughts to this are similar to that of Get a Clue.
Same van, just in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated animation.
This is the Mystery Machine from the 1998-2001 era DTVs. The Mystery Machine is redesigned to be mostly blue, with a large green stripe across the bottom half of the sides, two green streaks on the front hood.
At last, we get to the main Mystery Machine. The classic Mystery Machine is my all-time favorite of any of them, of course, though I do really like the 1998-2001 era Mystery Machine. The Mystery Machine has a number of features that have been shown over the years, often popping up at oddly convenient times so the gang can adapt to whatever situation they're in. This includes the sides of the van being lined with computer and tracking equipment (we first see this in "Decoy for a Dognapper"), kitchen cabinets on the walls of the van, and the ability for the rear end of the van to seeming grow or shrink at will. Sometimes there's just barely enough room for Shaggy and Scooby to squeeze in, and other times, there's tons of room for storing equipment. A GPS is also added in What's New, Scooby-Doo? for the purposes of comedy, as the GPS gives them ridiculous instructions such as driving into a river. A new sassier GPS is installed in Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo and prevalently appears for the next few DTVs as a joke. In the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine," the van is given a backstory owned by musical duo The Mystery Kids. Band member Flash Flannigan painted the van before quitting the gang. This differs from another backstory, the gang getting the van from Daphne's father, which Daphne details in Scooby-Doo! Behind the Scenes (which aligns with The Mystery Begins backstory for it).
There are a couple of minor mentions of vehicles that weren't really major parts of a series or film, but I still wanted to mention them. The first of which is the Mystery Machine Wagon, which is a makeshift wagon that the gang used in Scooby-Doo! FrankenCreepy when the gang thought the real Mystery Machine had been blown up. The Mystery Machine Wagon was a stagecoach painted like the Mystery Machine, with a green and blue pattern and orange flowers.
Although the Mystery Machine has been possessed in a couple of episodes, "It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine" (from What's New, Scooby-Doo?) and "Ghost in the Mystery Machine" (from Be Cool, Scooby-Doo), there is one instance where the Mystery Machine made a major visual transformation. In Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, the Amazing Krudsky transformed the van into The Monstrous Machine when he got the Goblin Scepter. I thought the transformed design looked super cool and frightening. The Monstrous Machine included large, gaping teeth, a bent windshield to represent its glowing yellow eyes, headlights for flaring nostrils, as well as it's goblin-esque wings.
That about does it for my Mystery Machine rankings! There will be a supplemental fun fact to this article coming out on Monday detailing all the license plates the Mystery Machine has had over the years. This article probably would have been far better written by someone who was into cars, but I'm definitely not that kind of person, so hopefully I still did a decent job. For me, nothing will ever beat the classic Mystery Machine, but there have been a lot of cool adaptions of it over the years!