Today, the very talented Tom Konkle has taken time out of his busy schedule to do an interview with ScoobySnax.com. Konkle wrote several Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! episodes along with Jon Colton Barry, which include "Area 51 Adjacent" from the first season, as well as "Mysteries on the Disorient Express," "Scroogey Doo" and "Doo Not Disturb" from season 2. I personally thought all of these episodes, particularly "Doo Not Disturb" (which is my favorite of the show), were brilliantly written and Tom did a terrific job with all the episodes he wrote.
In addition to being a writer, Tom also was a voice actor for one episode of the series, in "Giant Problems." He voiced both the Leprechaun and the Irish Guy in that episode.
Throughout the interview, I ask Tom about his experience writing for Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! and how he became the talented writer and director he is today.
ScoobySnax.com: How did you get into writing?
Tom Konkle: I always enjoyed writing even as a kid. Sometimes I had such an elaborate imagination, the teacher would admonish me saying “Hey, remember your audience...” and lower the grade. This meaning remember you’re trying to write for fifth graders and it’s going over their head but I think she meant it was going over HER head. LOL
I did a lot of scriptwriting starting in college because I wanted to learn to create the blueprint for some of the short films and sketch comedy I wanted to do then. I enjoyed getting someone else’s script and learning what made their writing work. Seeing successful and unsuccessful writing is the best teacher in that you learn first hand what is done to make the characters work, dialogue, formatting the script and story structure.
I started getting paid to write in the early 90s and I think sometimes I wrote a lot to protect things I knew I’d be performing too. I would write material that I would perform particularly when I was doing sketch comedy much like John Cleese is said to do. I found out later I was doing that like the Pythons. I would write my own material and perform it to protect how it got executed. In that way I had a vision writing it I could execute. Also, like many film directors who also write like Christopher Nolan, I think in a very cinematic style as I am creating a script. I respect the written word and the structure as this is the blueprint for the work. I really applied this provider in my film noir feature Trouble Is My Business.
ScoobySnax.com: Before you began writing Be Cool Scooby-Doo!, were you a fan of Scooby-Doo?
Tom Konkle: I remember watching some of the episodes as a kid. It must’ve been towards the tail end of the original series into whatever ‘70s interaction was running and I enjoyed a lot of them.
ScoobySnax.com: How did you get involved with writing Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!?
Tom Konkle: My dear friend Jon Colton Barry was a fan of both my writing and performing particularly my sketch work, but he knew I also valued story structure and I knew what it was like to do voice acting for cartoons. Animation is dialogue driven with “anything you can draw” visuals so he invited me to start collaborating on season one and season two of Be Cool Scooby Doo. We really wanted to create a writers room together where we could cross pollinate ideas and make each other laugh and be inspired.
ScoobySnax.com: What is your process for writing an episode of Be Cool Scooby-Doo!?
Tom Konkle: First, I start with a bunch of big ideas for the overall arc of the episode story. We would talk about how the characters needed to act to be consistent, and what character development was needing to happen. There was always “breaking the story," which is basically being able to pitch it clearly enough that you get the go ahead to write a draft of it.
So coming up with the story beats and then secondary “B” stories underneath it and character development was first. I really work with dialogue and basically play all the characters in my head, or out loud if I get giggling and smiling, or liking where it’s going, and getting excited to perform the script out loud to see how it flows, so I can see it in my head. I was always about writing from one big, hopefully intriguing or fun, idea and working backwards from that.
ScoobySnax.com: You've written several episodes of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, including "Area 51 Adjacent," "Mysteries on the Disorient Express," "Scroogey Doo" and "Doo Not Disturb." Which one of those was your favorite episode to write, and why?
Tom Konkle: I think it’s a tie between Area 51, Adjacent and Mysteries On The Disorient Express, for very different reasons. I think they’re both interesting high concepts, but I had the most fun coming up with character stuff in Area 51, Adjacent and I think I had the most fun coming up with topping ideas conceptually in Murder on the Disorient Express. I also like the execution of them both.
ScoobySnax.com: From a writing perspective, do you have a favorite character to write for?
Tom Konkle: Definitely, Fred was a favorite because he was often the fool for the absurd. But Daphne had the widest arc of character possibility and had agency in the plots of the episodes. I also loved writing the villains.
ScoobySnax.com: Was it challenging to write for such an iconic show like Scooby-Doo, that's been loved by many generations of fans?
Tom Konkle: It was a challenge to honor it as it need be, while pushing it to be different but...just different enough that we don’t aggravate original fans of the series, by doing something so out of canon that it takes them out of the episode. We wanted to reinvent and respect. That was the real challenge in that we made the show we wanted to see, with a lot of people looking over our shoulders.
ScoobySnax.com: If you could work on any show or movie in the world, what would it be?
Tom Konkle: Current shows? Archer.
Movies? I have a lot of ideas for science fiction, adventure and film noir movies. I just wrote and directed a movie out now that is a 1940s film noir called Trouble Is My Business.
ScoobySnax.com: You were both a writer and a voice actor in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!. Did you enjoy writing or voice acting more, and why?
Tom Konkle: It’s different parts of the brain. I love writing. I do act out my scripts as I’m writing to get dialogue right, but writing is solitary and not about performance. I love voice acting. I’ve been a voice actor for 25 years. I love executing characters, creating voices and the idea of entertaining an audience with my voice work too.
ScoobySnax.com: What was the most rewarding part of writing for Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!?
Tom Konkle: Laughing in the room with Jon, then seeing the episode come together and enjoying all the parts from animation, music, performance and the director working to get us back to what we loved in the script, and improve upon it as well.
ScoobySnax.com: Now that Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! has ended, what project(s) are you working on now?
Tom Konkle: I just released a feature film I star in and directed called Trouble Is My Business, which is available on Blu-ray, DVD and streaming worldwide. http://www.troubleismy.biz
ScoobySnax.com: Thanks so much again for taking the time to do this!
Tom Konkle: Thank you!
You can follow along with Tom's writing adventures on Twitter. You can also check out Tom's movie production company, Lumen Actus, at http://www.lumenactus.com!
According to Deadline, the new Scooby-Doo series has officially set for release in 2019. The series will once again premiere on the Boomerang streaming service, though it may air on television at some point. There has been a slight title change, however. The series is now called "Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?" rather than "Guess Who, Scooby-Doo?" as previously announced by Grey Griffin, the voice actress for Daphne.
In the same vein as the New Scooby-Doo Movies, the new show will feature currently-famous guest stars from pop culture, both real-life and animated. Guest stars currently slated to appear in the show include Halsey, Sia, Mark Hamill, Chris Paul, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Ricky Gervais, Kenan Thompson, and Bill Nye, The Science Guy. Fictional guest stars include Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy), Steve Urkel (voiced by Jaleel White), Wonder Woman, The Flash and Sherlock Holmes.
You may also notice that the series title card was designed based off of the original series' title card (Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?)
Sam Register serves as the series producer, along with Chris Bailey, who is perhaps most famous for his work on Kim Possible.
In addition to the Boomerang announcement of the series, Halsey discussed her upcoming voice acting role in the series during a recent interview with Billboard.
“I do it kind of on the low, I don’t put it under my own name,” she says. “So I do like Scooby-Doo and American Dad. I have like a weird voice, so I embrace it. So I’d probably love to get into something where I could be really animated, cause I’m pretty animated.”
In addition to the new series, Boomerang also announced that the remaining 11 episodes of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! would be added to the streaming service sometime this year. The series has already finished airing in nearly every other country and the episodes have previously aired in a late-night death slot on Boomerang in the US.
A new Flintstones series, entitled "Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs" was also announced for release on the streaming service, and is also set for a 2019.
Hi everyone and welcome to the final day of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week! To celebrate the end of the series airing this past Sunday, the show's head writer, Jon Colton Barry, is joining us to answer all the questions you submitted throughout the week. All of your questions have been really interesting to read and it's great that so many people submitted questions. Additionally, the first few of these questions are actually mine, which you probably will recognize from the first interview I did with JCB back on the day the show first began. Jon decided to answer some of these original questions again, just as a comparison of sorts to see how his answers have developed and changed since the show began. I'll turn it over to JCB so you can read his answers to all of your questions! Hopefully JCB won't mind me using his quote from one of our messages as a transition here, but it's so awesome I couldn't not use it! So, without further ado, "we might as well say a nice, big 'goodbye' to the series Scooby Snax/Addicts style!"
Do you have a favorite episode, from a writing perspective?
Having completed the series now, I have a few favorites for different reasons. I really like “Party Like It’s 1899” as it was the second episode I wrote and having already done the work of establishing the new take on the characters and tone, I was able to stretch out and explore the characters even more. I loved the idea of the gang having to solve a pretend mystery and deal with the costumed roles they were forced to play. It was just a lot of fun and by the end of writing it; I really felt I knew who these people were.
I also love “The People vs. Fred Jones.” I had wanted to do an episode like that for a while, but we kept getting push back from WB because they were concerned it would just be people talking in a courtroom. I knew that I would just be using the courtroom as a framing device and that the basic structure of the episode would be like any other in actual practice, which it was. That said, the courtroom stuff turned out to be my favorite because I feel like we found some fresh, funny courtroom jokes I’d never seen before (that were still rooted in character), which was rewarding.
“Some Fred Time” is another favorite. Again, any episode that allowed me to explore the characters in new, unusual ways were always fun. The BCSD gang was built to be more dimensional and interact in interesting ways – so episodes that took advantage of that were always fun to write.
Some other favorites are “El Bandito,” “How To Train Your Coward,” and “Ghost In The Mystery Machine.”
Do you have a favorite character in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo?
I remember my answer was Daphne to this originally, and I always loved writing her, but as the series progressed, I really started to enjoy writing Fred more. I mean, it’s amazing that the two characters that had the least personality for most of Scooby history turned out to be the most interesting and funny in BCSD (to me, at least). Fred just evolved in a really organic, fun way and I found myself centering him in stories more and more as we went along. He was full of contradictions and had a lot going on inside his head. He also had the most extremes to his personality, where he could be really full of silly, child-like wonder in “Fright of Hand” to emotionally torn to pieces in “Ghost In the Mystery Machine.” There was always so much to do with Fred and so many sides to explore.
If you could work on any show in the world, what would it be? (You answered "Mystery Science Theater" originally, though I'm curious if that's changed since your experience with BCSD!)
MST3K would still be great fun to write, but since then I’ve been developing some live action, more dramatic television shows with elements of science fiction and fantasy – which is just another huge love of mine having been part of the generation that grew up with “Star Wars” and Indiana Jones (as well as being a huge John Carpenter and Joss Whedon fan). It’s a great age for TV right now and I would love to write for a show like “Sherlock” or “Dr. Who.” The possibility to really get into character and story and strange ideas is very appealing. Then, afterwards, I’d immediately make fun of my own shows by writing MST3K episodes mocking them.
What has been your favorite part of working on BCSD?
It really remains creating and then working with this version of the gang. They became like family to me. Also, of course, working with Zac Moncrief is always pure pleasure, as well as others on the crew, like the original line producer, Wade Wisinski, who I became dear friends with. I learned so much making that show and it’s really helped me on all the new projects on which I’m currently working.
On that note, I’d like to make special mention of our supervising producer, Michael Jelenic. I understand that the show, “Teen Titans Go,” he created with Aaron Horvath, is as divisive as it is successful (and, honestly, they relish the show’s polarizing effect and often impishly antagonize the naysayers by leaning into the very things for which the show is most criticized). Many of those who don’t care for TTG didn’t give BCSD a chance because, based on the new designs and Michael’s name being attached, assumed BCSD shared a similar tone and attitude with TTG – which it doesn’t. The truth is, while I’ve expressed frustration with the way WB handled BCSD, Michael Jelenic is an amazingly smart, versatile and talented writer, story editor and producer with a seemingly endless understanding of the entire creative process involved in making a show. While he and I did not always see eye to eye on everything, he truly understood and appreciated what Zac and I were attempting to do with the series and used his position to fight for our vision with what power and influence he had. Michael had my back more times than I can count and I learned so much about the nuts and bolts of being in charge of a show from him. I will always be a very different writer and story editor than Michael Jelenic, but I will never be a better one. Thanks, Michael.
Do you have a favorite villain of the series?
Professor Huh? was conceived VERY early in the development of the show. I knew he was Fred’s father before I even wrote the first episode. I loved the idea of a bad guy who committed inexplicable crimes. Also, although it’s just a gag, I loved the idea of “The Headless Minotaur.” It just makes me laugh.
Did you have any ideas for an episode that you would have liked to have done, if the series had continued? (Pretending WB had actually been humane and let you do what you want lol)
Haha. WB actually let me get away with murder. They got and supported the character changes and comic tone of the show and I really appreciated that. We did some STRANGE things and rarely got pushback for being more sophisticated or writing gags that were clearly not aimed at 6 year olds. We started to stretch out and experiment more in second season and I would have liked to have done more episodes like “Scroogey Doo” where we insert the BCSD gang into classic horror/mystery literature and then destroy it. “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” etc. – making those monsters turn out to be guys in masks and ruining these classic books seemed like a lot of fun.
I also felt Velma became under-serviced as a character and I would have loved to had a chance to find more stories that would have allowed us to explore her. Working with Kate Micucci was ALWAYS a pleasure and she did an amazing job stepping into the role and making it her own.
If you could pick one joke from the entire series as the best one, what would you pick?
Hmmm. I mentioned “The Headless Minotaur,” which just amuses me. That’s a tough one. BCSD was a very gag-heavy show and there were so many moments and lines I was pleased with. For a character stuck with only four words per line, I think Scooby had a lot of great dialogue moments. I also liked Daphne recounting how she wasn’t allowed to be a girl scout because, due to her mother’s influence, she grew up believing, “Nature is just a giant bathroom that wants to eat you.”
You've mentioned before that a lot of the characters are somewhat like your own personality. Can you elaborate on this a bit? Did you write the characters with that in mind?
Well, yeah, I guess I just mentioned Daphne’s line about “nature,” That’s pretty much how I view it, myself, so I relate. Daphne, more than any other character, really voiced my own point of view about the world, including the horrible, cruel manipulation of bribing your friends to endanger themselves with Scooby Snacks. Throughout the series, all the characters voice certain opinions and make commentary about what’s going on that are very much my own opinions on things. I hope the characters were created and evolved in such a way that everyone can relate to certain aspects of all of them and how they view the world or specific situations – though it was all filtered through my sensibility.
On a more fundamental level, though, when it comes to my work, I’m a control freak, like Fred. When it comes to my personal life, basic nature and inner life, I’m more silly, eccentric and creative like Daphne. When it comes to social situations, I’m more misanthropic and socially awkward, like Velma (I can also be a bit cerebral). When it comes to goals or desire, I’m often very Id-driven and focused, like Shaggy. When it comes to interactions with friends, I probably poke fun, make one-liners and sardonic comments like Scooby. I also walk around naked on all fours wearing a collar.
Did you want to continue the series for a third season, if you could have?
Yes and no. The show, itself, was really fun to write and, as I’ve mentioned many times, I loved those characters so much and would have really enjoyed the opportunity to explore them more and push the boundaries of the series. Season one was about “finding” the show. Season two was about stretching out and experimenting once we’d found it. I really think we were just hitting our stride and starting to discover new possibilities when the plug was pulled, so I’m confident if there had been a season three, it would have been highly entertaining, interesting and strange – that is, if Zac and I still had control over the execution of the show.
Which brings me to the “no” part. The politics behind the scenes became an absolute drag and playing politics was never my forte. I just wanted to do my job and make the best show I knew how to make. That became increasingly difficult until it finally got to the place where I was no longer able to make sure the episodes were being executed as envisioned. At that point, the fun of writing the show became overshadowed by the frustration and disappointment of seeing things get changed or misinterpreted without consultation - and by the end of season two, even episodes that most everyone seems to enjoy could/would/should have been enjoyed so much more if they’d actually been executed as intended. The “11 minute” experiment was a huge red flag that the battle had been lost, so it’s unlikely that, if there HAD been a season three, I would have enjoyed the experience at all. Or that I would have even been around to not enjoy it.
Are there any classic Scooby monsters you wanted to re-imagine or any new villains you were planning to bring on stage?
A lot of people seem to focus on the “monster reimagining” aspect, and I can understand why, although it was actually a very minor element of the series, which we played with sparingly. Zac and I always envisioned BCSD as a new approach to the same premise on which the original, classic “SDWAY” series was based. In many ways, BCSD was one of the more conservative and traditional reboots of the franchise, going back to a focus on the five main Scooby gang characters driving around in the Mystery Machine solving mysteries in various locations. In that respect, the entire series was a “reimagining” of the 1969 series.
The use of classic monsters was a device to contextually connect and orientate the audience to that approach as much as it was an attempt to add some foundational and familiar grounding to a series that we were well aware was doing a LOT of very radical, new things. We wanted to make sure our use of any classic monsters from the original series was never just a gimmick or cheap nostalgia shot. We always tried to make sure we were creating a new, interesting contexts for the classic monsters, like Elias Kingston or Space Kook, or, at the very least, like in “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Wraith,” using them to play with how OUR version of the gang would behave in a classic situation with our specific comedic tone.
After almost 50 years of Scooby Doo shows, movies, comic books and other media, we quickly discovered that trying to find a brand new kind of monster was a fools errand, so we eventually gave up researching what had or had not been done before and, as a result, many monsters that people assumed were reimagined, were simply us just telling the character-based stories that interested us and finding the monsters or settings that best helped us do that. If we could push the design, here and there, a bit to lean into a classic monster feel, we’d sometimes to do that for fun to keep the spirit of the original series alive.
As I mentioned earlier, apart from wanting to play more with placing the BCSD gang into classic horror and mystery literature and using (ruining) those specific monsters and villains, there weren’t any new monsters I can think of that we had planned on using – or wanted to use - but didn’t. BCSD was about the characters and their relationship to one another, so our focus was always, first, on exploring them and, then, on coming up with the right settings and monsters to do so.
If you could live any one of the character lives, which one would you pick and why?
I suppose if I had to choose only one, I would choose Daphne because she is creative, eccentric, funny, intelligent and doesn’t care what anyone thinks about her. She’s only 18 years old in the series and (although the audience never got a chance to see this next part) she goes on to have a great, very long, fun, successful and fulfilling life that she truly enjoyed.
I was wondering if Velma's allergies in Eating Crow, the everybody jumps on Velma joke in Where There's Will, There's a Wraith and Fred's urge to save the orphanage in Scary Christmas are conscious references to the instances in A Tiki Scare is No Fair, That's Snow Ghost and A Nutcracker Scoob respectively. Are there any other hidden references to past incarnations?
The “everybody jump on Velma” thing was something that I remember happening in the original series from when I was a child watching it in reruns (although I seem to recall it happening more than in just one episode). Even then, it struck me as so odd and surreal. I believe it was in “Tiki” that she carries everybody to safety into the jungle and then she actually APOLOGIZES to them for getting them lost! No one says, “Oh, please, Velma, what are YOU apologizing for? My God, we all piled on top of you like a football defensive line and you physically carried all of us to safety. Thank you, Velma!” It was just taken for granted. I thought it would be fun to origin that strange trope and “hang a lantern on it,” as they say in the writer’s room. Once we established it, we did it a couple more times and I’m sure I would have returned to it and explored it even more in the third season if I had the chance.
As for Velma’s allergies or Fred and the orphans, they were not specific references to past episodes at all. Honestly, the allergies thing seemed fine in the script stage, but I thought it became a little overly gross in execution. I’m not a huge fan of bodily function humor. Fred and the orphans, on the other hand, I loved, and the execution of the sad, poor little orphan boy staring out hopefully at them was fantastic.
I've had this question for sooo long!! In the episode "There-Wolf" is the Shaggy and Scooby costume gag a reference to the original Where are You werewolf episode? (Because in both of them they mess with the werewolves' fur)
I’ve had this answer for a very short time: No. Again, there are actually much fewer specific references than people think. Most of the time it’s a function of what I said above – after 50 years, it’s really hard not to coincidentally bump into an idea that’s already been used. We were aware of this and just assumed the characters and tone of BCSD was so different that it really didn’t matter all that much.
If Be Cool Scooby-Doo was someone's coma dream, who would the dreamer be? (Weird question, but curious on answer!)
It may seem like a weird question, but the answer is actually surprisingly simple (you’re gonna kick yourself because it’s obvious in hindsight) – BCSD would have been the coma dream of late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
What was the brief you had from WB/CN, and how far removed was that from what they actually wanted? Did they even know what they wanted? (Russm)
WB was coming off SDMI, which they said was “75% scary/25% funny” and so they wanted to go in the other direction this time and do “”75% funny/25% scary.” They also said they wanted something “smart and funny like Phineas & Ferb,” which is why, I assume, Zac and I were there. Honestly, I really think they wanted “73% funny/27% scary,” but were in too much of a hurry to realize it at the time.
Apart from that and a few loose ideas they were throwing around, Zac and I were actually given a blank slate and were really allowed to develop an approach to the show on our own – which they then approved at each stage. I don’t think it was really a case of them not knowing what they wanted as much as them sincerely being interested in seeing what we came up with and then making adjustments from there.
As we went along, we’d bump into things that, more or less, became “rules” (at least to start with) based on their reactions to whatever new ideas we were bringing to them. For instance, we wanted to do monsters that were more interesting or funny (being that it was a comedy). We felt that the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters” was a good example of a funny monster, conceptually, that was still frightening – and as long as the audience believed that the gang was scared of the monster, whatever monster we chose to do would work. That idea got nixed and a mandate came down that they wanted sort of big, classic Scooby-type monsters that spoke very little and growled or roared more. They loosened up on that as we went along, though.
Who was ultimately calling the shots, WB or CN? (Russm)
In matters of creating and producing the show, WB was in charge and we got very little notes from CN, who really seemed to like what we were doing quite a lot. Then they aired it once on a Thursday night at 2 AM.
When working up to write the show how much did you engage with the loose assortment of bits that is the Scooby 'cannon'? Was it a help or a hindrance? (Russm)
We watched the original series, but found it to be of little help, apart from really showing us how little personality and point of view as characters Fred, Daphne, and to a lesser degree, Velma, had. Our goal was to create a comedic ensemble and give the whole gang really clear and dimensional personalities built to play off one another and make the series very character-driven to the point where solving (or not solving) the mysteries had a direct impact on their lives. We were also pushing and heightening the humor, so the tone was going to be very specific and nothing like any previous Scooby series – so really, everything Scooby-related that came before was merely there for us to plunder for ideas if we chose to. But since our new versions of the characters were now driving the series, we felt pretty outside traditional Scooby canon and, apart from playing with some of the tropes, we mostly ignored it and just did our own thing.
In hindsight would you have done anything different from a creative standpoint? We know of the studio meddling, this is more of a initial approach/concept question. (Russm)
I really don’t think I would have done anything different, creatively, on our end. I think we got it right. Everything that was or went “wrong,” as far as I’m concerned, is rooted in the decisions WB made, some large, some small, some early on, some later on – but all, cumulatively, creating a snowball of issues that we were always running from like Indiana Jones – until it eventually flattened us.
What was your snack/beverage of choice while writing? (Russm)
I usually like to have both a large, cold, carbonated drink and a cup of coffee near me at all times.
Honestly, I tend not to want to eat while I’m actually writing for a fairly silly reason that I still, personally, believe, regardless. I think human beings evolved and developed these large brains to adapt to changing environments. We became creative and toolmakers as a means of survival. I prefer to work in dark, cold rooms, slightly hungry to sorta tap into that primal “fight or flight” survival mechanism, which actually makes me feel more of a creative edge. Pretty much every fellow writer to whom I’ve told this theory has said something to the effect of, “You know that’s idiotic, right?”
I also do most of my writing in my head, pacing around the room, twirling a wooden presentation pointer stick. Then I go over to the computer and hammer it all out - then get up and pace around some more. I discovered I have a health app on my phone and now know I average 3 miles a day just walking around in circles in a room waving a stick around like a crazy person. Every person I work with seems to accept this or, at least, eventually gets used to it.
How much of the earlier shows did you mine for ideas? (Scoobnick)
I think you can glean from earlier answers that we only really took inspiration from “SDWAY” and then looked at the remaining huge pile of 50 years of SD sitting there and said, “Screw it, let’s just do our own thing and hope for the best.”
Were there any characters you wanted to bring in, but the studio refused permission? (Scoobnick)
Not really. We got a lot of requests for the Hex Girls and, while WB never said we couldn’t use them, we weren’t really feeling great enthusiasm about it from them. I think, if we had kept going, we would have eventually found the right story idea and used them, though, because I like doing music in shows.
How long did it take for a normal episode to come to fruition? (Scoobnick)
The analogy for an animated show episode is usually a pregnancy. It normally takes about nine months from conception to having the final episode ready to air (also the early part is really fun and it’s often painful to see the final results, so the pregnancy analogy is fairly solid).
Why did you decide to change Daphne's personality?
We didn’t. We decided to actually GIVE Daphne a personality for the first time.
Was "Ghost in the Mystery Machine" supposed to be the episode before "Professor Huh?" because it was the only episode to have a cliffhanger?
Well, it was supposed to air, sequentially, at some point before “Professor Huh?” (as it does) because it sets up Rose, but it was never meant to literally be the episode that aired directly, right before the finale. I actually wanted and planned to have a few episodes in between to kinda leave that hanging out there for a little bit.
Why was the scene with Daphne with earplugs in her nose cut from "Mystery on the Disorient Express"?
It was because someone decided it was imitable behavior and that children all over the world would immediately begin shoving things into their nostrils, which, of course, was our plan all along, so that was very disappointing.
Was the Sea Monster in "All Paws on Deck" a reference to the Beast of Bottomless Lake from The Scooby-Doo Show? Also, was the Ape Man a re-imagining of the Ape Man from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?
I believe the design for the sea monster WAS slightly inspired from “Beast,” or, at least, nudged in that direction because the director liked the design. The Ape from “Upsetting Shorts” was actually just supposed to be a real ape in the story and it was a reference to and reimagining of an ape from “nature.”
No question. Just a huge thank you. I’ve been a fan of Scooby-Doo since my childhood in the 70s. Done my best to hook my kids on the show & BCSD was a fun iteration. Mystery, Inc was a little too scary for them. This was a perfect mix of fun & mystery. My daughter really got a kick out of Daphne’s wacky bits. Thanks also for your work on Phineas & Ferb and please keep mentioning the “tri-state area” so that we know it’s you doing the writing! (Alicia)
Thank you so much, Alicia. That’s very kind of you to say. I’m so glad you and your kids could share in the fun of the show. We really did want to make a series, like “Phineas,” that the whole family could enjoy equally.
It’s also so wonderful to hear your daughter got a kick out of Daphne. It was important to me that we finally get Daphne away from being merely “the pretty one” or defined solely by her crush on Fred – or, on the other end of the spectrum, to be any sort of clichéd attempt at being “empowered” by physically fighting well (yet with no personality) or being some kind of “intrepid reporter.” I’ve never heard anyone walk around being proud of their “intrepidness.”
BCSD’s Daphne is a creative, smart, funny, empathetic, curious, open-minded person who dances to her own drummer and doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks of her. In fact, I was just interested in creating a funny, interesting character and if one were to describe what defines our version of Daphne, I think it’s kind of nice that all the adjectives or phrases that one would probably come up with actually have nothing at all to do with her gender. She could have easily been a male character and done and said the exact same things. Again, I was in no way trying to create a role model, but I guess you could do a whole lot worse in terms of aspirational characters – for girls OR boys, than Daphne in BCSD.
Either way, I appreciate the generous comments and, just to make life a little easier and free me up word-wise, if you see my name credited as writer, it’s probably me doing the writing.
Now that there's been some time since the series stopped airing, it would be nice to get a reflective overview. How do the earlier episodes of season 1 compare to the later ones of season 2 and such? Did the setup pay off as intended? I for one enjoyed the intra series callbacks that we gradually got more of. I'm aware of the studio interference but besides that, are there any improvements from a writer's POV that could have been made?
Jeepers, I’ve written virtual essays to answer questions like “Did you base so-and-so on the episode such-and-such?” I’m not even sure how to approach this one.
Broadly speaking, I would say we got better as we went along. I think we started strong with “Mystery 101” and “Party Like It’s 1899” was actually the second episode I wrote, although they aired it, like 8th, or something. It’s VERY difficult to discuss this without getting into the behind the scenes political issues because they play a large part, if not the entire part, of what went wrong with every single thing that went wrong with the writing process.
Let me just say that the natural, organic evolution of the show for the first half of season one got stunted by some problems and we got bottle-necked pretty badly. I think a lot of those episodes suffered as a result. I look at season one and, for me, maybe one out of every three episodes are very disappointing compared to what they COULD have been. By the time we got our flow back and could breathe, we were heading into the last third of season one and things started to shape up again. I think there are some really great episodes in the first half of season one, but the organic evolution of the characters and series just isn’t there. We had certainly begun that process. You’ll notice Daphne was still “danger prone” in the first episode, but I soon found she was so much fun and had so much going on that we didn’t need it and it just fell away – I mean, pretty much IN the same episode.
We also had some ideas for Velma that we wanted to weave in but the “issues” we were having prevented us from playing with them and figuring out how to make them work. I think Velma got under serviced as a character because of it. We had planned more for her – but then never replaced those things with other things. Kate Micucci was the key to Velma and she brought a great vulnerability and social awkwardness that blended in nicely with her other attributes. We just needed more Velma-centered stories to explore her character and there was always pressure for more Shaggy and Scooby, while Daphne and Fred were quietly becoming everyone’s favorite characters in the show. I feel bad that Velma kind of got lost in the shuffle.
That said, the saving grace of BCSD was really the first few weeks where Zac and I sat down and hammered out the characters and the tone. It was really solid and I felt the characters just worked. The “algebra” of them worked. I could just begin with a blank page and start them talking and they just took over. It was like taking dictation. I never knew what any of them would say next until they said it. They often surprised me. That’s what got us through season one.
Of course, the early episodes up through the first half of season one where we were supposed to be figuring more stuff out, really “finding” the show and fine tuning the characters got totally messed up and we were just rushing to make deadlines. Thankfully, the characters were strong as they were originally conceived and could carry us through the mess until it finally cleared up and we could get back to focusing on where they were going – or could go - again.
“El Bandito” was when Zac and I both felt, like, “Ahhh, yes, that’s our show again and we can start planning ahead now.” The last few episodes of season one were where we began to really hit our stride and “The People vs. Fred Jones” was when I really felt like I had regained control of the ship and had the freedom to stretch out and start having fun.
I stayed on through the hiatus between seasons to get a head start on the writing and episodes like “Some Fred Time,” “There Wolf,” “How To Train Your Coward” and “Mysteries On The Disorient Express” are me just having a blast working with great writers and pushing the boundaries of what we could do with the series. Having a little more control and time allowed me to start planting seeds to grow and find things to call back. Once all that was up and running, I think everything worked extremely well as intended. The only problems were where things were executed NOT as intended.
Which leads us to the last third of season two where we lost control of the ship again and politics took over. I’m happy with the original scripts for the last 6-7 episodes of the series, but since it was decided that since the scripts were finished it was a grand idea to let the only writer and voice of the show go, I was not around for when something in the script was misunderstood or misinterpreted or if it was executed differently as intended or someone decided that something just doesn’t work for some reason. In cases like that, you need a writer to explain what was intended or rework something that wasn’t working on the screen or explain how a certain line needed to be read in order to make sense, etc. Imagine a company letting a writer with no training in art draw and storyboard a scene. It’s unthinkable. Yet storyboard artists and directors with no training in the craft of writing structured, character-driven scripts were rewriting scenes and whole character arcs on a whim and so, for me, the last 6-7 episodes of season 2 goes back to me feeling very disappointed with 2/3’s of them. So many of the seeds and planning and momentum we built up from the end of season one up through about “Ghost in the Mystery Machine” (which I love), didn’t all pay off or paid off incorrectly or got changed or misunderstood or whatever. It was a drag.
A lot of people really like episodes I, personally, don’t care for and I love certain episodes I’ve never heard anyone mention. My point of view is totally warped, though. I know what was supposed to happen and how it should have happened in certain episodes, so seeing something else there that I don’t think works as well or changes what was intended just leaps out at me. That stuff is all part of a massive continuity of character arcs and personalities and running gags – a series is like one really long story about a group of characters and is all connected and evolves organically – and only I had that whole big picture in my head. Seeing something that doesn’t fit or contradicts something or that a character wouldn’t do or say or that I know informs something a character does 3 episodes from now or is being informed by something a character said 16 episodes ago is like mentally hitting a speed bump at 100 MPH for me. It’s just so clearly wrong – but usually only to me. I’m 100% positive that if everyone could watch the same episodes executed exactly as I had intended, they would go, “Ohhhh, I see, yeah, that whole thing did NOT work before and THIS feels so much better and right.” Trust me. You’re lucky you don’t know what you don’t know, though I’m sincerely thrilled people like ANY of the episodes – even ones I don’t like. It’s all subjective, anyway. Except, of course, if you like “Pizza O’ Possum.” Then you’re just wrong.
Outside of Be Cool, which Scooby-Doo episodes and movies are your favorites?
I like “SDWAY” the best, but the “New Scooby Doo Movies” were also a lot of fun and established so many of the Scooby tropes people love. My guilty pleasure is that puppet Scooby Doo thing they made several years back. I just thought it was so cute looking. I would have loved to write the BCSD personalities grafted on to those puppets.
Hey Jon. A lifetime goal of mine is to someday be a writer for the Scooby Doo franchise. My question is, what is your advice in making that dream become a reality someday? I'm in college for communications and journalism, and my goal is to make it a Scooby movie/series!
First, I would learn the craft of writing. A great book about character and scenes and structure is Laos Egri’s “The Art of Dramatic Writing.” It’s an older book that mostly uses plays as examples because movies weren’t even considered “serious” writing when it was written, but, I mean, even Aristotle has many useful things to say about writing. I would recommend reading them all – Syd Fields’ “Screenplay,” “Save The Cat,” “Making a Good Script Great,” and also read other books – lots of them. Words are your friends and your tools and your job. Read. Also write. Write what you want to write, find your own voice and your own style. I highly recommend writing for the stage and theater. The script is respected in theater – no executive notes, no marketing notes, just pure YOU up there and immediate audience reactions night after night. That’s where I found my voice and style as a writer – and also my confidence. I watched audience after audience laugh at certain things – and not other things. I’d make adjustments and then watch the reaction. Eventually you get to the point where you can trust your gut. You KNOW that if YOU like it, an audience will like it, because you’ve had that proven to you over and over again (hopefully for years).
There are a million ways to break into the business and it’s a golden age for television. So many great shows on so many different networks and cable stations and streaming sites. It should stay that way for a while. The classic method is to write some spec scripts for a couple series that are in the style of the show you’d like to write for and try to get an agent with them. In animation, things are a bit looser and I know many writers and artist without agents, but it’s better to have representation and be professional. The studio will just respect you more and there’s less of a chance anyone will take advantage of you.
Once you get a foothold in the industry anywhere, you build on it and always try to move closer to your goal. It’s hard to aim for writing for a specific series. I mean, I’d like to write for “Sherlock,” but it ain’t happening (this week, at least). If you work hard enough and have your own voice as a writer, then people will want YOU. People will hire you because they want specifically what YOU do, which will always make your life easier since you just have to trust your gut and write what you think is good (because you honed that skillset in theater). I guess if you have an agent, you can ask them to check to see if the current Scooby show is hiring – and keep checking, or get your work seen by someone at WB and try to get a job there (and don’t mention my name) and once you’re writing for them, tell them you’re interested in working on Scooby. Ideally, it would be best to get to a place where you’re creating and pitching your own shows and you can go to WB and pitch them your own ideas for a Scooby series. If you DO have your own voice and style, though, demand a writer’s room instead of freelancing 56 episodes a season. You’ll have to then teach dozens of writers how to write in YOUR style, which will not work. Trust me. But for now, read and write. A lot. Break a leg!
Please settle an argument between me & my kids. In Ghost in the Mystery Machine, Daphne laughs nervously after decapitating a statue. Was that because she thought she may have killed someone?
Hmmm. Gotta re-watch that to see what you’re talking about. Hang on….
Okay, got it. You mean when she cuts the helmet off the Japanese suit of armor in the lab.
While Daphne’s expressions and gestures in that moment were not scripted and the work of the director and storyboard artists, I take them to mean something to the effect of: “Wow, I know decapitating him with a sword is pretty violent and dramatic, but it was just kinda reflex – I had to try something and, well, at least it worked, right?” It’s rooted in Daphne’s big-hearted, loving nature and how she surprised HERSELF with her choice.
Who won, you or your kids? Or neither?
Thank you to Scooby Snax and to all the people who took the time to write in questions. I hope I answered them to your satisfaction. I truly appreciate the fans of BCSD. They’re a diverse, intelligent, individualistic bunch of very cool people. It’s been an absolute pleasure and honor to interact and get to know many of you. Thank you for letting me know that what I do brings a smile to someone’s face. It makes it all worth it.
Thank you so much to Jon Colton Barry for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer all these questions. Additionally, I'd like to thank JCB one more time for answering all of our questions on the ScoobyAddicts forum. It's been great getting to know him over the years on there, and I'm honored to be able to call him a friend. And I want to send out one more thank you to all of you, the fans, for making our little Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week so successful and fun! Hopefully, some day this witty little show will be discovered by a wider variety of fans, and be appreciated for the fantastic show it truly is.
Whether you like the designs or not, you have to admit the writing was amazing in this series. While it only had a modest overaching premise, the idea of the series being about the gang's friendship with one another is one that the franchise has never fully explored, at least not to this extent. Though simplistic to a degree, the reasoning behind why the gang gravitated towards each other and became friends is an extraordinarily important narrative.
That's why I think this series is worth your time, in addition to a few other variables. As I've mentioned throughout the various other articles I've posted for "Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week", the three dimensionality and relatability of the characters really adds to the entertainment value of this series as well. One thing I felt this series did really well, however, was the comedy aspect. I for one love that sort of off-color and absurd humor, so naturally I enjoyed most of the jokes in this show. I also really appreciate how the humor worked into the tone of the series. In many cases, a lot of the jokes could not have been pulled off in any of the other previous series without a change in tone or writing. After all, in what other series have you seen Daphne have a feud with all sea creatures because she owed them $15 lol?
Additionally, the humor was just off-color enough to be funny, but not too off-color as to go over the audience's head or be unfunny. There were certainly some jokes (like the ice jokes in "Naughty or Ice" or the crystal jokes in "Be Quiet, Scooby-Doo," for example) that I didn't enjoy as much, but there's something to be said for the fact that you're not always going to like every joke. I actually don't mind the addition of those unfunny jokes, because it shows that the series is trying to appeal to all types of humor. Most likely, the majority of people aren't going to find all the jokes funny, because we all have different senses of humor. That just goes to show that the series is really targeting all humor styles and audiences.
Off of that point about targeting all audiences, that was another thing I thought this series did very well. Many of the jokes clearly weren't written for young children, but children could still find them funny as well as the adult fans. As an adult, I hate when it feels like shows are talking "down" to kids. Especially in this day and age, kids are a lot smarter than people give them credit for. It's always nice to see when the writers clearly have a wide audience range in mind when crafting the series, as it shows they're trying to appeal to all audiences and not just take the easy "This is a kids' show, so let's appeal to 4-10 year olds!" route.
Obviously, this series is a departure from other incarnations due to both animation style and humor. However, the series does extraordinary well despite this. I'll disgracefully admit that I was initially one of the "WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO POOR SCOOBY?" people when the concept art was first released. As the series got closer, I decided it deserved a proper chance and I'm so glad that I gave it that. This series truly proves that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Even though I still disliked the animation when I first began watching the show, I became more and more acquainted with it as the show went on. Eventually, I began to not notice it as much, and towards the end of the series, even enjoyed the unique animation style. I think there's something to be said about the background settings as well. Even though the gang is designed a bit oddly upon first glance, all of the background art is done beautifully and with great attention to detail.
Another thing I appreciated about this show is that even though it served as a more comedic incarnation of the franchise, it didn't let that comedy necessarily define it. Episodes like "In Space" and "Doo Not Disturb" really showcase how the series can go a bit darker in plot and tone, while still remaining comedic and silly. The series also took it upon itself to reimagine old episodes like "What the Hex is Going On?" and "Haunted House Hang Up," among others, and it was really interesting to see an updated version of those episodes in the mind of another writer.
Overall, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! is a fun, silly show that deserves so much more credit than it gets. For those reading this post that haven't given the series a chance, I would highly recommend you watch at least a few episodes before officially saying you dislike it. Because the series is such a different adaptation from the series we've seen recently, it takes a bit to get used to. Obviously not everyone will like every single series out there, but I would bet that at least some people that haven't given the show a chance would really enjoy it if they allowed themselves to.
That's it for this week's Be Cool, Scooby-Doo articles to celebrate the end of the show. I really hope you all enjoyed reading them as much as I did writing them! Just because the articles are over though, that doesn't mean the festivities stop! To conclude Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week, the show's head writer, Jon Colton Barry will be answering all of your questions about the show. Check back sometime later tomorrow to see his answers! In the meantime, if you have a question you would like to ask JCB that you haven't submitted yet, be sure to do so in the anonymous form in this post.
There were a lot of fantastic episodes in this series, but in this article, I'm going to highlight only the top 10 best episodes of the series. I'll admit, it was very challenging to pick favorites, but upon a lot of thought, these are the 10 I've picked.
10. I Scooby Dooby Do
"I Scooby Dooby Do" takes the number 10 spot in this list. On its own, admittedly, this was a very average episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! However, when you brought all the elements going on in this episode together, it made for a fantastic watch. The jokes were very spot-on and witty in this one. I particularly found myself amused with Fred's ascot joke, which honestly was perfect even without words. Shaggy's fear of giving his Best Man speech was a great addition to the plot, and Daphne's "views" on marriage are priceless! Speaking of Daphne, I loved the side-plot of the wedding dresses. It made her little freak-out moment with the Cliff Bride so much more hilarious (even though I must say she still looked super adorable in her wedding outfit!) My favorite part of the episode, though, was the bedroom scene, and the parents teaming up at the end so they could sabotage their kids' wedding together lol.
9. Mystery 101
Maybe this is too obvious of a choice, but the first episode still remains one of my favorites due to the humor in it, as well as the "reimagining" of the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? episode with Elias Kingston. The puppets are definitely one of the classic gags in this series, and Fred's unorthodox fear of widths was very humorous. I'd say my absolute favorite line of the episode, just since it was so unexpected (particularly not being familiar with the series' humor style yet), was Velma's quote "Relax, the odds of all of us being attacked and/or further educated are negligible!"
I was reading my original review to this when I first watched it, and I found my comment here a bit interesting "Kate's voice really reminds me of Linda Cardellini playing Velma in the live action movies. I'm not sure that's what they were going for but I'm really liking it. It's funny, because I don't feel that way at all now having watched the full series. On a little side note, it's been really fun going back and re-reading all my reviews from the episodes on ScoobyAddicts these past few days!
8. Vote Velma
"Vote Velma" is the cutting edge of political satire, hands down. Just the fact that the voters just want to hear random stuff and not actually relevant information, is both amusing because of the implied joke and because it's actually so true in real life! All of the interactions between the gang were very snappy and flowed really well, particular when they were talking to the other mayoral candidates. Velma's "one great truth" that she likes pancakes nearly had me on the floor laughing! It was amusing as well that Violet looked near identical to Velma, yet no one actually mentioned it. And finally, Velma's final comment in the episode was perfect! "Well, I would have liked to declare martial law!" is the best way to end an episode lol.
7. In Space
Having watched the movie this episode was based off of (Ridley Scott's "Alien"), this really allowed me to enjoy this episode to its full potential. Turning the Space Kook into an alien virus where the infected become skull-headed aliens is such an amazing idea for a plot. Fred's "In Space" jokes were funny at first, but I'll admit this was the one part of the episode which became a bit old after a while. The addition of him saying it in Spanish ("En espacio!") at the end, however, did redeem the joke at least a little bit. This episode mainly stood out to me, however, because it got pretty dark compared to the other episodes. While I love the humor of this series, it was fun to have the series go a bit darker and explore the humor through the lens of a darker mystery. I won't ruin anything in case people haven't seen the episode, but I love how complex the mystery's solution was, especially compared to some of the other episodes in the series, which were a bit easier to solve. The little time warp gag where Shaggy and Scooby ran into the previously-caught monsters was a nice touch as well!
6. Party Like It's 1899
This one stood out to me because it placed the gang in different roles than we're used to seeing them in. I talk quite a bit about this episode in a different post, so I'll try not to repeat myself and just say that I enjoyed seeing the gang portray the unique and interesting characters at the murder mystery party. The addition of the Headless Count was also a cool one, especially when you consider how little-remembered the original Headless Spectre from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? was!
5. Night of the Upsetting Shorts
Now that we're down to the top five, admittedly it got very tough to decide between my top 5 choices. All of these could easily be my favorite episodes for different reasons, and just because they each have such well-written plots! Though it was immensely challenging, I finally came up with an order.
"Night of the Upsetting Shorts" comes in fifth on my list. The humor was so witty in this one! In fact I found myself laughing throughout the entire episode. Fred's "upsetting shorts" were hilarious, and it makes me want to see what JCB actually had in mind for the original shorts design. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, JCB mentioned on ScoobyAddicts that the design for Fred's shorts was supposed to be "even more upsetting," but WB changed the design at the last minute.
Velma dressing like a grandma was hilarious, and the fact that she didn't really intend to definitely enhanced the comedy level. Shaggy pretending Daphne was his girlfriend, and that he was the leader of the gang for his grandma was quite amusing as well. But none of that compares to my favorite part of the episode, which was Fred's America swimsuit at the end of the episode lol.
4. Some Fred Time
This was such a tough decision to put at #4! I want it to be #1, though the other three episodes beat it out just slightly. This episode made me laugh harder than any other episode in the series, and I'd go so far to say that it's one of the funniest episodes of the entire franchise. I wish I could list all the jokes I laughed really hard at, but it would probably take me several pages of typing to do so haha. The best jokes were the rich woman with her blinding diamond, Fred unmasking the "Vampire Werewolf Zombie Mummy Ghost from Outer Space" (pictured above) and especially him tackling the guy on the bike to unmask him! Fred pulling Velma's glasses off thinking they were a mask and his surprised look when saying "Velma Dinkley?!?" was definitely my biggest laugh-out-loud moment of the episode. The "no pictures" guy (can't remember his name at the moment) was also a memorable joke.
Jokes aside, I loved how much the gang's bonding was shown in this episode. Without Fred, you could really see what the series was going for, in terms of focusing on the gang's friendship and how they each contribute something to the group. This episode also allowed for the gang's personalities to really shine, and was the first episode I could really strongly see what JCB was talking about with the "three-dimensional characters" overarching idea of the series.
3. World of Witchcraft
This will probably sound silly, but this episode has such important message that really resonates with how I feel about the world. The only super memorable joke in this one (I feel kinda bad saying that, as there probably are some really good ones that I'm just not remembering at the moment) was Scooby's comment "logical, yet sociopathic!" which is probably my favorite line of Scooby's in the entire series.
The sub-plot about Daphne standing up for witches, and more importantly, being herself despite the townspeople's suspiciousness is such an important message. Being myself and not caring about what other people think of me has always been something that is really important to me personally. It is SO important to just be you, even if people are critical, and I loved that this episode tackled such a cool and mature topic - or actually topics, as it tackled both prejudice and being yourself. That is such an important message in my opinion, especially in the day and age of social media where people are worried about being "cool" to others. Those two underlying messages are what made me place this episode as high as I did, though I did enjoy Lewis Black (who voiced Mr. E) as the mayor and the cool and unorthodox choice of villain.
2. Professor Huh? Parts 1 and 6 3/4
I just reviewed this one earlier this week, so I'll try to keep this bit short and not be repetitive. The reason these two episodes are placed way they are, is because I felt all the parallels and references to the past episodes were such a great way to wrap up the series.
1. Doo Not Disturb
Taking the #1 spot in this list is "Doo Not Disturb!" This was definitely not a particularly funny episode, but just the fact of how creepy and dark it got made me fall in love with it immediately. In fact, JCB even said this episode was originally supposed to be much darker, but WB asked him to tone it down because it would be too scary for kids. To which my reaction was "I want darker anyway!" lol. The Ghost of Mother was sooo creepy, especially the little 15-second "ticking" warning before she appeared. As I mentioned in my top 10 villains post, I was practically yelling at my screen for Daphne to open the door in the scene where Mother is approaching Shaggy and Scooby haha. The dark plot of this episode definitely made this one my absolute favorite of the series.
Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Week Day 4: How the Series Recreated Our Classic Favorite Episodes with a Fun, New Spin
Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! recreated a lot of classic memories for us fans, from recreating the gang with more three-dimensional, relatable personalities to giving us the origin of Scooby Snacks. But one of the things this show did best in my opinion is recreating old episodes in a fun, interesting way, without making them seem like we were simply watching a repeat. In today's article, I'd like to highlight some of the ways that the show recreated classic Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? mysteries with a new twist.
Though the episode was stylistically a bit different in setting, the premiere episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! does bare a striking resemblance to the original series episode, "What the Hex Going On?" Firstly, the episode redesigned a lesser-known classic villain, The Ghost of Elias Kingston (the difference is contrasted in the two pictures above). Additionally, several references were made throughout the episode to the original episode and setting. For example, when the university dean is explaining how the institution was built, he mentions that the founder, Elias Kingston, built it over his mansion. This is clearly a direct reference to the Kingston Mansion/Manor, which is where the gang stayed with their friend Sharon in the original episode.
I always thought it was cool that they decided to pick such a lesser-known/remembered episode, though I would presume it was probably due to this being Jon Colton Barry (the head writer)'s favorite episode of the show. He elaborates on this a bit in the interview I did with him on October 5, 2015, the day the show first premiered on television.
I grew up watching reruns of the classic, original series the most. I've always kinda liked the first season episode "What the Hex Going On?" with the Ghost of Elias Kingston. It's a strange episode. Watching the original series as we were developing the new series made me see the odd choices the gang would make sometimes in the past. Sharon's Uncle Stuart has been suddenly turned into a decrepit, elderly man by a ghost and they decide to "watch" him overnight instead of rushing the poor guy to a hospital? Who knows how much damage is done to someone when they're magically aged 40 years? And exactly where did this guy learn such remarkable make-up skills that he could fool them even up close? I've never even seen a big Hollywood movie where "old age" make-up looks very convincing. Haha.
I'm a huge fan of references and nostalgia myself, but what I like most about this series is that while it takes time to be nostalgic, and throws in those little nods to various series, it also knows when to add in a new spin on an old classic. The setting and situation is changed just enough where it doesn't feel repetitive or old and tired.
Party Like It's 1899
"Party Like It's 1899" is definitely one of my favorites of the first season. While it's great seeing the gang in their original personalities, it was also fun to explore this "new" version of the gang a bit more and see how they would act in such a "murder mystery" type of situation.
Besides this, it also reimagines one of my absolute favorite episodes, "Haunted House Hang-Up" in a really fun way. Throughout the years, I don't think we've ever actually seen the gang in a "murder mystery weekend" type setting before, even though that fits so well with the series (same argument I've had with how "A Christmas Carol" should have been parodied as it fits well with the tone of the show - which it finally was with "Scroogey Doo!" - but that's another topic). If I had to pick one villain from the original series that's underappreciated, it would definitely be the Headless Spectre. It's such a cool and spooky idea to have a ghost without a head (definitely spookier than the dreaded "sheet ghost" - quite literally just a guy with a sheet over his head, you can even see his legs! - which appears later on in the episode lol), so I'm glad this series gave him some love.
The setting, again, was quite similar to the original haunted house setting, and we even see a few subtle nods to the original episode. One of my favorite things about this episode though is Daphne and Fred's characters - the "bumbling gloves" line had me chuckling for quite a while. Daphne's line "Yep, that's me, set for stun. Pew pew!" was admittedly a perfect line as well, especially upon rewatch after you get to know the character more.
Where There's a Will, There's a Wraith
While the previous two villains were a bit more unconventional choices, these two villains are ones probably every Scooby fan knows. In "Where There's a Will, There's a Wraith," the same basic plot from the original episode, "A Night of Fright is No Delight," follows. The gang is forced to spend the night in a supposedly haunted mansion after Scooby is written into a deceased colonel's will. However, a ghost quickly appears and the gang has to solve the mystery. One striking similarity from the original episode is that "Where There's a Will" has the surprise twist of there actually being two identical ghosts as well. Though I love the original of course, I actually find myself liking the new design slightly more. The skeleton hands and tattered sheets add a bit more spookiness to the ghosts' designs, in my opinion. Additionally, the borrowed idea of using the relatives like in the original episode makes "Where There's a Will" much more nostalgic, especially as a fan who's been watching Scooby since childhood. The twist of the suspect's name being Casper Cosgoode is a really fun callback to Cosgoode Creeps as well! While having the house burn down is a much more extreme ending, it was also a cool new way to wrap up the episode that referenced the money being worthless in the original episode.
This episode definitely deviated the most from its original episode, but in my opinion, it's also one of the best episodes of the series. This episode, entitled "In Space" (after the recurring gag of Fred using this phrase after every sentence her says), reimagines the classic "Spooky Space Kook" episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The plot is as follows: "After mistakenly parking on a spaceship's loading dock, Fred and the gang are sent in space where a virus turning people into skull aliens is rapidly spreading. The gang has to figure a way to solve the mystery and avoid becoming contaminated with the alien virus."
Pretty cool twist, considering the original episode just had the gang running around an abandoned airfield. This is one of things I love about Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! It can take something as simple as four teens and a dog running around an airfield and turn it into a creepy plot involving viruses that turn people into skull-headed aliens. According to a post made by JCB on the ScoobyAddicts forum, this episode was a request episode made by James Krenzke, who hoped to do an episode which referenced Ridley Scott's Alien film. Having seen that film, I must say that Krenzke and JCB did beautifully on this episode. The only thing I can honestly say I disliked was the constant repetition of Fred's "In Space" jokes. I found it funny the first few times, but it got a bit old after the first few times.
Naughty or Ice
This was another pretty good episode which called back to the classic "Scooby's Night with a Frozen Fright." The same basic plot is kept intact: a caveman is found frozen in ice, but is thawed out and comes back to life. The twist with this one, though, is that in the Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! adaption of the episode, the caveman is an exhibit in the Blakes' Ice Hotel.
I'd be lying, unfortunately, if I were to say that I loved this episode entirely. There were parts, like the bad ice puns and the Daphneism of the week, that I did not enjoy. From my perspective, Daphne blowing the vault didn't really make much sense, given it was her parents' hotel in the first place. Couldn't she have just asked them nicely to get her necklace back, rather than coming up with an elaborate plan and committing multiple illegal acts in the process, which ultimately got the gang thrown in jail?
There were parts, however, that I absolutely loved. Shaggy and Scooby teaching the Ice Man to talk was definitely my favorite part of the whole episode. I was practically on the floor laughing when the Ice Man triumphantly announced "My name is Ice Man! My name is Ice Man!" Although I must admit it (though still amusing) it was kinda sad when Shaggy and Scooby tricked the monster and ran away! He worked so hard lol!
Well, that about wraps up this article. Note that I didn't include some of the villains with simply had similarities to other previous villains, such as the Sea Monsters or the Ape Man. I believe JCB has said some of the villain references weren't intentional, though they went ahead and used them anyway despite the similarities. I hope you enjoyed reading this, and be sure to check back tomorrow for another new article!
One of my favorite parts of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! is how interesting and relatable the characters were. Though of course the previous versions of the gang were likable, I feel this series added a layer of three-dimensionality to their personalities. By doing so, it allowed them to be very relatable to us, the audience, and even more likable (at least in my opinion). Personally, I felt like I could relate certain aspects of my own personality to all 5 members of this updated version of the gang. In this article, I'll highlight how each member of this version of the gang has changed from their original characters, and how I feel like a bit of each of them relates to my own personality.
This updated version of Scooby is somewhat similar to the previous incarnations, but with a few distinct differences. Scooby still has his cowardly tendencies, but is a lot more witty in this version. He also only uses around 4 words per sentence, according to head writer Jon Colton Barry. In this version, Scooby is a lot more comedic than previously, and is often spot-on with most of his jokes.
As someone who enjoys making people laugh, I can definitely see a bit of Scooby in myself. Even if I'm not quite as witty and spot-on as Scooby is, regardless I still always love to put a smile on other people's faces and try to do so especially if I can tell the person is having a bad day.
Shaggy is still his same cowardly, hungry self in this series, and you may struggle to find any conspicuous differences in his character. However, I would argue that he's more full of a childlike-type wonder in this series. This is particularly present when he's with Scooby; the two of them seem to find a lot of enjoyment in the little things. You see this in a lot of episodes in this show, though the example that most comes to mind is "Pizza O'Possum's." In this episode, Shaggy is so filled with childlike wonder that he actually goes back to his childhood arcade just to get a child's toy.
I can definitely appreciate that quality in Shaggy. I still am very youthful even though I'm an adult, and still take a lot of pleasure in the little or whimsical things. I feel like I'll be one of those people that's still a kid at heart when I'm 80 lol.
In this series, Fred's character is closer than the original than it's been since...well, the original itself. Instead of being dimwitted and goofy as he's been since A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Fred is a natural born leader like he was in the original show. However, in this series, Fred is displayed as more of a control freak, and gets frustrated when life doesn't go his way. He likes order and expects everyone to follow him without hesitation.
Fred is probably the character that I can identify with the least, but I do have some minor similarities with him. Although I'm very laid back generally, I sometimes will be slightly overprotective of my own work and don't like people messing it up with telling me first. I also can be slightly nitpicky on things I'm passionate about, particularly the Scooby franchise haha.
Velma remains the smartest character of the gang in this iteration, but notably has more tendencies towards know-it-all-ism. However, the one thing she doesn't necessarily know is how to be social. She is very awkward socially and does not have a lot of people skills. Though I don't have the social awkwardness Velma does, I'm also very intelligent and occasionally have to push down my know-it-all-ism. I also pay very close attention to detail, and (as I mentioned) can get nitpicky sometimes if things aren't correct.
Daphne is the most changed of any character in the series. Departing from the original damsel-in-distress character, Daphne is an eccentric nonconformist, and regularly does very odd things. She's also very outgoing and optimistic, and enjoys being a "cheerleader" of sorts. She enjoys cheering people up and seeing them happy. Despite her perceived "oddness," she is always very perky and cheery.
Of all the characters, I identify with Daphne's personality the most. I am usually very cheerful and friendly, and tend to have a glass-half-full approach to life. I also love seeing everyone happy, so I act as a "cheerleader" of sorts when I see someone is down or clearly unhappy. Most prevalently, I have a very quirky personality and like Daphne, I totally own the fact that I do. I also don't really care what others think of me, as long as I'm happy with myself and who I am.
I hope you enjoyed this article! I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels they can relate to this version of the gang. If you feel you relate to any or all of the gang, I'm interested to see how if you choose to share in the comments!
Captain Cutler is the only recurring character in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! to be voiced by two different voice actors. In season 1's "Game of Chicken," Cutler was voiced by Shaggy's voice actor Matthew Lillard. In season 2's "The Curse of Half-Beard's Booty," Cutler is voiced by Jeff Bennett.
In an interesting parallel, Bennett also took over another recurring character, Mr. E, for one episode only in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. This was the only recurring character in that series to have a change in voice mid-series as well.
There were a lot of great villains in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! So many, in fact, that it was quite tough to pick just 10 to cover for this post! Here is my top 10 list of villains from Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! that were the creepiest, best designed, or just super cool.
This villain wasn't particularly spooky or scary, but it was quite an interesting choice of villain. This one just barely made the list, since it was such an unorthodox choice of villain in general, and even more so for a Christmas special. Admittedly though, his red eyes do make him look pretty menacing!
9. The Ghost of Archie Barnes
Most likely, in a few years, this villain will probably be an easily forgotten one in this series for most people. However, I though this villain was really genuinely creepy and wanted to include him in this list. His facial expression, in this picture above especially, is just so spooky looking! Although to be honest, monsters/ghosts with no pupils always freak me out haha. Additionally, the fact that he doesn't talk at all throughout the entire episode definitely amps up the creepy level! His 'hissing' that sounds like a film projector solidifies how well designed and scary-sounding he is!
8. Skull Aliens
I loved the Space Kook in the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? episode, though if I'm honest I like this version of him as much, if not slightly more. The whole premise of this episode, especially with the aliens being a 'virus', made for a super creepy plot in addition to the creepy Skull Aliens!
I'm not generally afraid of clowns, but this one certainly passes the test for me! The whole episode in itself had a very spooky setting, but the timeliness factor of it definitely made Madcap all the more frightening. If you don't remember, around the time this episode aired, there were actually real-life people dressing up in clown outfits and walking around town to scare people. I know Madcap, particularly in this position with his teeth out and mallet over his head, would definitely scare me if I ran into him in real life lol!
6. Swamp Beast
This villain is just so well designed! The seaweed-ish swamp stuff hanging off of him makes him look super creepy, and the fact that some of it is falling off around his arms makes them look like skeleton arms! The glowing yellow eyes are also a nice touch! I do wish, however, that his voice would have been slightly creepier. It sounded a bit nasally, in my opinion, and took away from his otherwise spooky design.
5. The Grim Reaper
I loved all 8 of the villains from around the world in "Mysteries on the Disorient Express," but the Grim Reaper was by far my favorite. I thought it was definitely a bold move for a Scooby series, especially considering that some kids might be really afraid by the literal representation of death. However, I thought this episode handled it really well, while still taking no liberties on making the Reaper any less creepy. The red eyes and skeleton-angel wings are an amazing touch to his design!
4. The Demon of Salem
This villain gets major points in my book for just being plain unique. After all, how many times can you say you've seen a deer walking on its hind legs with bat wings haha? I'll highlight this further in my post on the episode coming later this week, but I really like this episode in general for having a really important lesson as an undertone. I'll also admit to finding the description of the villain a bit lame when I first read the episode summary, but he turned out to look really cool!
3. Headless Count
I love the Count's glowing head! As I'll mention in an upcoming post in a few days, the Headless Spectre from the original Where Are You series is such an underappreciated villain. I love how this series redesigned him and made him even creepier than he was originally!
2. Professor Huh?
It was a near impossible decision to pick between Professor Huh? and the next villain for #1! In the end, I decided to place Huh? as #2 in this list, though I just can't say enough about how awesome this villain is. The one-eye design and hand-puppet is super creepy, and even his trench coat adds to the spookiness a bit. My favorite part about his design, however, is the green hand on his head, which I took to mean an "unmasking" of sorts. That glowing hand is sooo spooky looking and awesome!
My favorite part about Huh? is his randomness. I love that kind of "silly for the sake of being silly" kind of humor, so I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of his random comments. I'd say my favorite is "I am not a Canadian citizen!" and the fact that he enjoyed hot-gluing multi vitamins to secret armed forces base helicopters lol. I really found myself identifying with Daphne's comment where she states "I finally like your father!" As someone who has a slightly eccentric sense of humor, I really appreciate Professor Huh? and his nonsensical randomness. Honestly, it makes me want another episode devoted to the professor committing random and inexplicable crimes!
1. The Ghost of Mother
As I said, it was nearly impossible to pick the #1 villain just because there are so many great ones in this series. Eventually, I decided that my absolute favorite villain in the series is the Ghost of Mother, who takes the #1 spot on this top 10 list. This episode in general was so creepy, and the fact that Mother never spoke made her even spookier. The 'rules' and odd behavior of the supporting characters in this episode definitely added to this for me. The ticking noise when Mother was about to come felt like some sort of horror movie! And on a final note, I'll admit that I was practically yelling at my screen when Daphne wouldn't let Shaggy and Scooby in as Mother was closing in on them. That scene was creepy and haunting in so many ways!
I hope you all enjoyed this list, and if you feel inspired to share your own top 10 list of favorite villains, I'd love to read them! :)
Hi everyone and happy Be Cool, Scooby-Doo week! As I previously mentioned in my post last week, this week is all about celebrating the 14th incarnation of the show and the impact it's had on the Scooby franchise. Every day, I plan to post a new article highlighting and discussing a different aspect of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Additionally, be sure to check the blog tomorrow for a special Be Cool, Scooby-Doo edition of Fun Fact of the Week. The show may have officially ended in the U.S. this morning, but here at ScoobySnax.com we're going to continue celebrating the show all week long!
As another fun way of remembering the show, the head writer of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, Jon Colton Barry, will be doing a Q&A session with fans right here on the ScoobySnax blog. If you have a question you would like Jon to answer, please submit it to this form! While JCB will aspire to answer all questions, please realize that there may be certain questions he is unable to answer. This is an amazing opportunity which, admittedly, not many people in his position would take the time to do, so let's please remember to be respectful and appreciative!
To conclude the special week, Jon will post his answers to all your questions on Saturday evening. I'll post another reminder sometime on Saturday morning in case you haven't had a chance to submit your question.
I hope you all enjoy Be Cool, Scooby-Doo week, and be sure to check back every day for a brand new post on the blog!