Yes, you read the title correctly. In a shocking turn of events, Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too! was suddenly leaked in full online today. I'm imagining what may have happened is that Mystery Pups getting its distribution cancelled after the show was deep in development was the final straw for somebody at WB, and they leaked the film. Either way, this is very surprising news and a first in the 54 years of the franchise.
To be entirely honest, I wasn't particularly sure whether I should post this review or not since I am unsure if there'd be any issue with discussing an unreleased movie. However, I've heard some other folks in the fandom have created videos and even posted clips from the leak online, so I assume it's okay to simply talk about the film even if it hasn't been released. Just to be safe though, I want to provide a disclaimer that all information from this post comes from my good friend, Johnny. I would never, ever watch an unreleased film and when my friend Johnny told me that he had, I gave him a hefty scolding about the dangers of watching non-official content (but only after he told me a detailed summary of the entire film) lol. (Seriously though, if anyone who worked on the film happens to be reading this and has an issue with me talking about a film that was not released, please feel free to let me know and I'll be happy to take this article down immediately if it poses any issue)
Scooby-Doo and Krypto Too! was a great film, and I would argue that this is how a crossover should be done. In most crossovers, the guest star is coming into Scooby's universe, so it was neat that this film felt like the gang was going into Superman's universe. The film follows the gang trying to rescue the Justice League, after the appearance of a golden ghost. The Legion of Doom is also here, meaning there are quite a few villains of the film. Most of them don't show up a lot, but notably Scooby thinks Solomon Grundy is The Creeper, and Fred has a crush on Harley Quinn. I found it interesting that Fraphne was more heavily implied here than in any other movie other than Stage Fright. It's still kind of an unspoken thing between them, but Fred has a lot of jealousy over Daphne's former love interest, Jimmy Jones, and Daphne seems to acknowledge that Fred is jealous.
I am not really a big DC fan personally, so I do not know a lot about that universe other than I've seen the recent films, and plan to see Shazam when it comes out. Despite that, I thought the film was still appealing even to someone who does not have a lot of familiarity with DC. The scenes with the gang in the Daily Planet were nice, and it was interesting to see the gang's interactions with some of the heroes and villains.
Krypto was the star of the film for me. Despite not talking, he was such a cute character and his friendship with Scooby was adorable. The film framed the gang as knowing all the other heroes and villains, yet they did not know Krypto which I was surprised by. There's a brief aside from Daphne where she says "we know Batman," which seems to be a reference either to the current line of comics, or their previous times meeting Batman in the episodes and films. I particularly thought Krypto shined during the scene with a "Kitchen of Superfriends," which is a holographic room that manifests whatever you say. It was cool to see him save the day and come to the rescue, even when Shaggy and Scooby were unable to.
Lex Luthor and Rex Luthor (his dog lol) were perhaps the most notable and interesting characters here. It's referenced that Lex was former president of the United States, which I know is canon from the DC universe. There's sort of an odd joke made where Lex brags about how much power he has as president, and Velma says "but you didn't win the popular vote!", which oddly felt like a reference to the recent political landscape haha. There's a gag where Lex Luthor keeps getting lost, and to be entirely honest, that was the only part of the movie that wasn't great. The joke wasn't really even that funny the first time, so I don't know why they needed to keep going back to it. Compared to Velma's humor though, literally anything would be an improvement, so it didn't bother me that much.
Another improvement over past movies is that I didn't feel hit over the head with references. I don't know what it was like for those who are familiar with DC, but I found the few that they included to be cute, like the "Challenge of the Superfries" restaurant and the smoke spelling "happy birthday Second Robin!" when Fred activated Batman's belt. Speaking of which, Batman is nowhere to be found in this film, and even the Justice League is not in any part of the film until the last five minutes. Only Superman and Wonder Woman speak, and the rest have non-speaking roles. It becomes kind of funny at the end, as during the final moment of the movie, Scooby says his catchphrase and Krypto barks, while The Flash just randomly stands there smiling, not saying anything lol.
I have a few other random comments that I wrote down, the first of those being that the Scooby Snax box design from Cyber Chase is used in this film, I believe for the first time in 20+ years, which was a really interesting touch. Fred's catchphrase "Hold the phone" is seemingly gone (thankfully, I never liked that tbh), as there's a joke mid-way through the film where all the gang says their catchphrases and Fred just says "run!" I liked the chase song quite a bit. One oddly funny bit in the film that was among my favorites is when Scooby asks "Shaggy, are we strays?" after Velma says Krypto is probably a stray, and Shaggy gets the most serious look in his eyes and flatly says "yep" lol.
I won't go too much into this bit as not to ruin anything about the ending, but the twist at the end was fun. I admit I kinda saw part of it coming, but there were still parts that were surprising, and I didn't expect the gold ghost to be who it was. It was really fascinating how the gang gives the explanation of the ghost being "swamp gas" to Lex; it almost felt like it was mocking Return to Zombie Island for Velma giving that explanation, as "swamp gas" seems so oddly specific, and they weren't even in a swamp.
Overall, I really liked how this movie felt like a shared universe between the Justice League and Scooby-Doo, and neither one overshadowed the other. In fact, I feel like the Justice League being absent for all but the last five minutes, and giving focus to the side characters like Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, allowed the mystery to develop in a more natural way where it did not feel like the guest star was out of place or dominating the episode, like it sometimes did in Guess Who. The film felt quite cinematic and I have to say I really enjoyed this. I'd probably rank it at #26 in my movie rankings, above Chill Out but below Pirates Ahoy.
It's such a shame this will likely never be released, and it's even more of a bummer to think about the fact that the only thing coming up right now seems to be Velma season 2. It's very weird to think that a finished film like this is just going to float out there in the abyss, never seeing the light of day, but today has probably been one of the most action-packed days in the franchise between Mystery Pups losing its distribution rights and an unreleased Scooby-Doo movie getting leaked for the first time ever on the same day. It will be a weird road forward, and I wish I would have better appreciated the plethora of Scooby media we got in 2021 given we ended up going in a direction with barely any Scooby content last year, and it's increasingly looking like the same this year. However, I'm hopeful we can get back to a spot where we are getting at least one DTV a year, and have some Scooby content on the horizon.
It’s hard to believe these are the final episodes! In addition to reviewing both of the final episodes, I will also give an overview of my thoughts of the series in general at the end of this post.
I didn’t really like episode 9 all that much. I felt the humor got a bit worse again with this episode, and it felt like there were more jokes per minute. The jokes also seemed even more try-hard than the last few did, especially stuff like the “steal her style” thing spotlighting the brains, where the host cut her head off with a saw to try to match the brains’ style. There also felt like there were more “Twitter one-liner” type jokes, such as the “there’s lots of opportunities these days for fugly babies. She could be a meme!” I have never found the jokes that feel like one-liners you’d post on Twitter to be funny in this show, so the fact that there were so many of them here made this episode quite dislikable. However, I’ve gotten used to the fact that the humor in this show is overall pretty crappy, so the humor wasn’t the major problem for me.
I felt this episode brought Velma to a new low, which is definitely saying something since she is already an awful character. Literally the entire episode is her lying to her family and friends to get what she wants, and treating those around her like garbage. The episode centers around Diya having 72 hours to remember who the killer is, or she will lose her memory forever. Diya returns home to see Aman having an affair with Sophie, and sees their baby. This makes Diya furious. Instead of telling the truth, Velma covers for her dad by lying and saying Aman and Sophie’s baby is hers, and that Norville got her pregnant. I suppose if you were very generous, you could look at this as a positive because she’s protecting her dad. However, Velma continues lying to her mother throughout the entire episode about everything that happened when she was kidnapped. She forces Norville to make her a fake report card, so that her mom won’t see that her grades slipped, and then yells at him because he didn’t do it fast enough for her liking. She also demands Norville follow her charade of pretending that he is the baby’s father. She also accuses Shaggy’s father of being the serial killer because she finds a welder’s mask in his office, and calls in a SWAT Team of tanks to destroy Norville’s house before having any evidence whatsoever that he was the killer. At one point, Sophie was trying to build a crib for the baby, only for Velma to storm in the room and shout “you’re taking too long,” as she smashes the crib with a hammer. Worst of all, Velma drops the baby twice, and sends the baby rolling down a busy street in heavy traffic, causing several car crashes. As she sends the baby rolling down the street, Velma also admits to attempting to sell the baby on the dark web, so she didn’t have to take care of her. Sorry to be so negative here, but I thought this episode took Velma being a garbage human being to a whole new level. This whole episode was one instance after another of her treating her friends and family like trash, and doing several things that could have easily killed the baby.
In addition to Velma being terrible, I also found Aman to be equally as awful. It is horrible that rather than admitting he had an affair while his wife was kidnapped, he would allow his wife to think that their daughter had a baby. Moreover, at one point, Aman says to Velma “your mom already had one unwanted baby!”, meaning that he is telling Velma she was an accident and they didn’t actually want to have her. That is an absolutely horrible thing to tell your child, so while I know the show was going for a shock value joke there, it made me really hate Aman as a character for being such a jerk to his daughter. While Diya wasn’t a horrible character, the interactions between Velma and Diya also feel stilted IMO, which also contributed to my dislike of the episode.
I don’t feel there’s too much to discuss with Norville outside of what I already did, since he and Velma’s plots are quite intertwined in this episode. He still remains to be the only main character who isn’t a complete jerk. You could argue him speeding away in his car when Velma said he was the father to be mean, but honestly, I don’t blame Norville. Velma was putting him in an extremely toxic situation, so it makes sense he wouldn’t want to be involved. That being said, I completely agreed with Norville’s decision to dump Velma as a friend, and honestly it’s about time he did after all the crappy stuff she’s done to him. It’s pretty sad when you’re actually happy that the main character loses a friend.
Daphne and Fred’s plot is a little odd this time. The disembodied brains of the killers’ victims return to school in their jars, and remain popular. They oust Daphne and Fred from being popular, so the two of them devise a plan to pretend to go out with each other. As per usual with this series, Daphne and Fred were very manipulative, and basically are using each other to get what they want. The realness of Daphne and Fred’s relationship is challenged by the brains at the dance, and they are dared to kiss, and they do. Velma then barges in and gets mad when she sees them kissing, because Daphne and Velma had kinda implied that they were girlfriends, but it’s never officially confirmed in the show. The relationship drama continues to be done in a cringey and unlikeable way IMO. It almost feels like the writers are trolling the audience, because we see all this hopeless pining and teasing of romantic pairings, but then they don’t actually contribute to the plot in any meaningful way. We also see Daphne being offered an internship with Fred’s mother at Jones Gentleman’s Accessories.
I thought Fred practicing getting swirlied by drowning his own head in the toilet was perhaps one of the oddest jokes of the series. Probably the one joke of this episode that I found to be funny was Daphne saying she couldn’t sit out in the sun, as she points to a guy who burst into flames from being out in the sun too long. It was so random that it caught me off-guard a bit.
Moving on to the finale, I also was not really a fan of the ending. I’ve been trying to keep the reviews mostly non-spoiler, but I can’t really review the finale without spoilers since the whole episode was about wrapping up the overarching plot. If you’ve been reading these reviews without having watched the episodes, I’d recommend you skip to the *end spoilers* tag unless you don’t care if the ending is spoiled.
True to this show’s form, I thought too much of the ending was based on cringey social commentaries, which have almost never landed for the entire series. We start the episode off with Velma’s mom being arrested for being the serial killer. I did find the bit funny where one of the options on the female guilt admission form was “you know how we get!” Velma’s mom reveals that she wanted to put a popular girl’s brain inside Velma. I was desperately hoping that they weren’t going to make that the culprit’s rationale, and thankfully, the show did come through where it came up with an ending that was at least somewhat clever. It turns out that Velma’s mother was hypnotized by the real killer, as was Velma when she was younger. Velma tries to get herself arrested by having Fred (a white man) say that she’s bothering him, and is successful. I thought that social commentary was extremely cringey. I’ll talked about it a bit at the beginning of this review, but one of the biggest things I dislike about this series is that they use social commentaries to advance the plot. Almost none of the social commentaries are ever funny, so it has felt increasingly cringey that the show continues to do that. Velma is able to talk to her mom, but the sheriff takes her away to be put on death row before she’s able to finish the conversation. Velma does some piecing together of the mystery, and finds some more clues in her room and at school. Once again, I was not a fan of the whole “the answers have been right in front of me all along!” thing. It would work if it was done sparingly, but it feels like this show has regularly prioritized the crappy humor over developing the plot in an interesting and engaging way. Nearly every single clue has been way too easy for Velma to find in this show, where it’s either right in front of her all along, or she looks up the answer in two seconds online. Part of what makes a mystery engaging is the difficulty and adventure in finding clues, so the fact that Velma keeps finding all the clues she needs in three seconds is incredibly lazy on the writers’ part. I did like how the writers seem to reference their own corner-cutting during the shower scene when one of the girls says “Where did Velma’s phone come from? We’re all naked! On the other hand though, the meta joke right before it where one of the girls says “don’t you hate when shows have characters that don’t talk much?” was painfully unfunny. I don’t understand why the writers are obsessed with these meta TV writing jokes, because over the series’ entire 10 episode run, zero of those jokes have been even the slightest bit funny.
Meanwhile, we find out that Norville hates Velma so much he transferred schools. While we don’t see a ton of Norville at the beginning, we get quite possibly one of the most cringey scenes in the entire franchise. Velma finally listens to all of Shaggy’s voicemails which she has ignored for two years. As she listens to these voicemails, she begins to tear up and fall in love with him, while the song “I Will Remember You” by Sarah MacLachlan plays in the background. The show tries to present it as a sweet moment, when it’s not; in fact, it was nearly intolerable to watch. Velma has been the most shitty friend ever for this entire show, so her finally appreciating him is literally doing the bare minimum that any good friend would have already been doing. She is not a “cool boss ass bitch” as she calls herself at one point in the episode; she is behaving like a jerk with zero empathy. Moreover, since she’s been treating him like garbage this entire show, it makes no sense for her to go from that to suddenly being in love with him. Perhaps this would have been a little sweet in another show, but Velma has behaved like such an unbearable jerk to him over the course of the entire show, that her finally realizing how she’s in love with him is almost unbearable to watch. What’s even worse is that she doesn’t even learn her lesson about appreciating her friends, because five minutes later, she interrupts Fred and Daphne when they’re trying to explain the villain’s motive and yells “stop talking before I think less of you!” At the end of the episode, Velma watches a movie with her mom, as she locks her dad and Sophie out of the house in the cold, proving that she’s just as crappy of a person as she ever was. We also get to see the disgusting scene where Norville is vomiting and there’s blood spraying everywhere, while Velma twerks over a crushed dead body. Honestly, I am not really shocked or offended by this, I’ve gotten to the point where I just think it’s dumb how hard this show is trying to convince us of its edginess. We also see Velma become a detective for the police department at the end of this episode, which wasn’t all that clever, and sadly they end the show where the sheriff makes a sexist comment about women being better than men. The ending where Edna’s ghost is real honestly wasn’t done all that great either; it just felt cliche tbh. That type of ending has been done better in so many other shows and movies, and it wasn’t at all clever or intriguing.
Fred raging out was honestly weird to see. I absolutely hated the origin story for the Mystery Machine, which is that Fred is driving around a “trashy pedo van” with the company’s logo (the classic Mystery Machine orange flower) on it to trick teens, because it’s what all the fashion companies are doing. Again, I have gotten to a point where this show where I don’t find offense in any of the shock humor here; it’s honestly just stupid to see how hard this show is trying to force its edginess. The joke about Fred liking the bats pulling at his crotch was similarly stupid. Fred’s ending being a “spooky stuff hunter” wasn’t done well; it just kinda came out of nowhere and didn’t fit with anything.
The story with Daphne’s internship and Fred’s mom being the culprit was at least somewhat creative, I’ll give the show that, because I was thinking it was going to be Velma’s mom. Once they revealed it wasn’t Velma’s mom that was the culprit, it became kinda obvious that Fred’s mother was the culprit. Her motivation for doing it being to switch Fred’s brain with a more creative mind was at least somewhat interesting, but they kind of ruined the surprise by faking the audience out first with Velma’s mom saying she wanted to switch Velma’s brain with a more popular girl. I felt the Daphne and Velma drama where Velma says “Norville” when she’s kissing Daphne was also cringey. None of the romantic stuff in this show makes any logical sense; it feels like the writers are just forcing stuff to happen so they can advance their cringey love rectangle plot. Speaking of Norville, it was surprising to see him kill Fred’s mother. I admittedly did not see that coming! I strongly disliked Shaggy’s ending where he’s clearly experiencing trauma and his dad tells him to try some marijuana to calm down. This show seems fixated on two-dimensional stereotype characters though, so I can’t say it surprises me that they would end his character arc by drawing upon the stereotype that he smokes weed.
Moving into my overall thoughts on the series, it should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been following these reviews that the show was not so good lol. As I’ve processed these episodes each week, I feel the forefront of my concerns is the characterization. Velma is just an insufferable jerk throughout the whole series, and she only gets worse as the series progresses. At her best, she’s selfish and judgmental, and at her worst she’s emotionally abusive to her friends and family. I did warm up a tiny bit to Fred as the series went on, but it was more in the sense of finding certain bits so stupid that they were funny to me, rather than liking his character. Daphne was also similarly unlikeable in the sense of being mean and self-centered. The only character who I found likable was Norville, but he wasn’t really all that funny. Velma, Daphne and Fred’s terrible personalities aside, the character development is honestly just bad. We go from moments where the characters are awful to each other, like Velma and Daphne beating each other up in episode 3, or Velma and Daphne trying to kill each other in episode 8 and then minutes later saying they’re girlfriends; to moments like Velma suddenly realizing her feelings for Norville with zero context as from how we got to point A to point B. Speaking of which, I didn’t mention it before, but Velma and Shaggy are now randomly in love with each other and now going out at the end of this episode. This would be cringey enough on its own due to the lack of explanation and development, but we also get no resolution to Daphne being in love with Velma, and Shaggy’s girlfriend Gigi literally doesn’t even show up in these two episodes, yet Shaggy is apparently with Velma now. The characterization is off-the-charts level of poor in this show, where characters will just do nonsensical stuff that completely contradicts what we’ve previously been shown, for no reason at all.
My second main criticism of the show is the overall writing. Similarly to what I just talked about with the characters, plotlines will be dropped inexplicably and then randomly picked up again. The writers seem to be weirdly fixated on making certain ideas happen, even if they don’t fit with the plot, which causes them to squander plotlines that would have been interesting to dive deeper into. A great example of this is “Fog Fest,” where the show sets it up really nicely to focus on the serial killer, but the killer only shows up in the last four minutes, and we instead get a cringey social commentary about Velma experiencing male privilege. The pacing of the show is also so far off. We’ll get full episodes that are sitcom-like social commentaries, and then they’ll cram major plots into an episode or two, like Daphne’s birth parents. The writing is jumpy, inconsistent, and at times, even seems to troll the audience.
I feel many of the show’s problems can be attributed to the over-focus on and try-hardness of the humor. I’ve said it all along, but the show is so determined to be “edgy” that they sacrifice what could have been an interesting mystery for the sake of making more jokes that weren’t even funny in the first place. Moreover, even if the humor wasn’t affecting the development of the plot, it still wouldn’t be all that funny most of the time. I did not find any of the social commentaries particularly funny. A big part of it is something I saw in another review that I thought was phrased really well; that the writers are obsessed with social identity. The writing presents social identities as a universal concept, i.e. “all police hate women and black people” and “all white men are stupid and uneducated,” when it’s simply not that two-dimensional. Yes, police brutality is a very real thing and there are plenty of racists out there, but this show boils down characters’ entire identities to these weird, overly simplistic views of social identity, and then they become obsessed with making dozens of jokes about it per episode. As a result, it makes the social commentaries unfunny, and they come across like one-liners people would post on Twitter.
I did like the mystery and found some of that development interesting, but I wish it would have felt like such an afterthought. It did feel like the show had at least a little bit of potential in terms of the mystery, but the easy-to-find clues and the humor kinda overshadowed it for me. Episode 3 and 4 remain least favorites for me; the intense focus on the comedy was over-the-top and almost unbearable to get through. I will say though that episode 5 and 6 were my favorites of these episodes, because it didn’t feel like they were trying quite as hard with the humor. I laughed at several of the jokes in that episode, moreso than any other episodes, because the overall plot was finally getting the focus it deserved, and the humor was toned back a bit. It’s too bad the toned-down humor didn’t last though, as I felt like they dialed it right back up for the last couple episodes. Either way, it at least shows that the show did have some potential, but it needed to have more of a balance between the mystery and the humor, and the humor needed to be far less cringey than it was.
It’s been a wild ride, and it’s hard to believe we’ve seen all 10 episodes after 2 years of anticipating this (actually, it will be 2 years to the day tomorrow, since we got the announcement on February 10, 2021). I would be surprised if we get a second season to this. Since it’s been so critically torn apart, and somehow it seems to have united both sides of the political spectrum in hatred against the show, it seems like this would be the end of the show. However, the EIDR database lists a record of Velma season 2 being "in development," but when you click on the listing, it says "deleted," so who knows. In my opinion, this was a misfire for WB, but I’m glad I sat through it and gave it a chance, even though it was pretty bad. Overall, while there was some potential with the mystery, the show’s intense prerogative to position itself as “edgy” and “adult” ultimately worked to its detriment, both in terms of the most people’s reaction, and the fact that the writing was rushed as a result of overfocus on edgy comedy. I will be very interested to see how this affects us getting mature Scooby stuff in the future, or if it causes WB-Discovery to lean more towards super safe content due to the intense backlash this got.
I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts in the comments, and here are my final rankings of the show:
1. The Sins of the Fathers and Some of the Mothers
2. Marching Band Sleepover
3. A Velma in the Woods
4. Fog Fest
5. The Brains of the Operation
6. The Candy Man
8. Family (Wo)man
9. Velma Makes a List
10. Velma Kai
My first note for episode 7 is “this clown appears to have hung himself.” I would say that’s a great metaphor for how WTF this episode was. Surprisingly, for once it was not WTF in the sense that there was over-the-top edgy humor or the characters doing shocking things; it was more in the sense that the writers made a lot of really odd decisions with the plot.
After the end of last episode, I would have expected this episode to be mainly centered around the killer, but it isn’t hardly at all. The killer shows up for a single scene that lasts only a few seconds up until the last four minutes of the episode. We had quite a few different developments happen in this episode, but many of them were very random.
Looking first at Velma, Velma is upset about the sheriff’s law that all women need to be accompanied by a man to the Fog Fest dance. We have a brief detour where Velma investigates what the word “Jinkies” means, which was written on her mom’s note that Velma found at the end of last episode. Velma quickly realizes that her mother’s script which she’d been using to kill spiders had all the answers, and even had the killer’s phone number written on it. Personally, from a creative standpoint, I found this to be very lazy. A consistent issue I’ve had with this show is that it often uses really lazy plot devices to advance the story rather than actually creating an engaging mystery. Velma then calls the killer at the number on the script, and they breathe heavily into the phone. I thought that scene was decently creepy, even if it wasn’t amazingly done.
The episode then switches a completely unrelated plot where Velma dresses up as a man to get around the sheriff’s law that women need a chaperone. For most of the rest of the episode, we get this weird social commentary plot where Velma realizes that the qualities she is chastised for as a woman are celebrated by people when she is dressed up as a man. We also are shown some weird cutaways in which Velma experiences male privilege, such as handing her potential employer a resumé that just reads “I’m awesome” written sloppily in marker, and the employer delightedly responds by handing her a huge sack of money with a sign reading “you’re hired!” I did want to find that funny, but with that particular joke, I feel like it’s been done a zillion times, and I’ve seen the same joke done so much better, so it wasn’t the groundbreaking, edgy joke that the writers expected it to be. I will admit I laughed at the cutaway where Velma exaggeratedly exclaims “oh yeah!” and puts her thumbs up after peeing in a urinal.
Before moving on to the other characters, I want to talk about the humor for a moment. Like last episode, the humor felt much more toned down and not as in-your-face as previous episodes have. There were certainly a few edgy jokes, like the “nut tap” one was weird, but it seems like the writers have realized that they don’t need to try so intensely hard to be edgy every second. I have to say, that’s a nice change and even if some of the humor is still cringey, I appreciate the fact that it’s no longer constant.
I’ll move onto Daphne next. Daphne’s plot was kind of weird this episode. She becomes depressed and begins binge drinking at the fog fest. Given what she went through with finding her parents, it’s kind of understandable…but it felt like the show made some leaps. She seems kinda content at the end of last episode, so how she went from that to suddenly becoming a heavy drinker is really confusing and feels like it needed some more development. While Daphne’s drunk, she runs into Velma (under her alternate persona “Manny” the man), and starts getting a crush on her. This creates a lot of drama as Velma realizes this is a chance to act on her crush for Daphne. Personally, I still don’t feel the drama is done well. It seems very random and is not developed at all. In general, this show seems to have a way of forgetting about certain aspects of the plot, and then randomly bringing them up again at a later point with no explanation as to why they ignored it for a few episodes. Also, for all the crappy social commentaries in this show, I have to admit I found Daphne’s remark “I’d punch you if men didn’t sexualize women fighting” to actually be a pretty good social commentary. It’s one of the very few in the show that worked IMO.
Moving on to Norville, Gigi and him broke up off-screen (illustrating my point perfectly about how this show is really random and nonsensical with plot threads). Noriville tries to win Gigi back by asking her to the Fog Fest, and instantly does. They end up going to the Fog Fest and Gigi gets mad at Norville again…but then instantly backtracks without Norville even saying anything, and says she loves him because he treats her well. In particular, that end scene where she’s mad and then instantly falls in love with him again is really odd. Sometimes it feels like the writers just have something in their mind that they want to happen, and then they’re like “we’re gonna make this happen no matter if it makes sense with the plot or not!” Honestly, just as a side note, I feel like that was something I didn’t really care for about this episode in general. The writers were so determined to make a social commentary about male privilege that they just randomly shoved it in here, and as a result, squandered an opportunity to make an episode that focused on the mystery and the killer, in a creepy setting like the Fog Fest no less.
Fred’s main plot line is that he wants to be the Fog Fest King, and is mad that Shaggy is appearing to be the front runner. They’ve completely dropped the plot where he’s learning about feminism for some inexplicable reason, which was strange. Without getting too political, there have been some theories that Velma is a right wing sysop. Honestly, Fred’s comment where he says “the serial killer is whatever you need it to be” kinda felt like something right-wing people would typically mock left-wing people with, which gives a little bit of validity to that theory. I won’t comment on the political aspect of it any further, I just thought it was interesting. There wasn’t really much notable about Fred, so I’ll just talk about his scenes with the killer. The last four minutes of the episode features the gang being chased around the Fog Fest by the serial killer, while classic Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? music is played. Personally, I felt the music was a bit forced. It didn’t really fit, and kinda screamed Mindy Kaling thinking “woah, wouldn’t it be awesome to have the gang chased by a serial killer over the classic score?” It just felt unnatural and did not really work IMO. Also, I never thought I’d hear Fred say “Damn girl, how’d you get all that ass in those little slacks?” to himself in the mirror lol.
Moving onto episode 8, we once again got a clearer focus on the mystery, which was nice. The episode centers around Norville, Velma, Daphne and Gigi all getting stuck in the woods when Norville accidentally misinterprets Gigi’s request to have a romantic weekend together. I felt there was a lot of unnecessary drama and fighting in the episode: Gigi is mad at Norville because he didn’t get her obvious signals about wanting to be alone at her cabin in the woods. Daphne is mad at Velma for faking a hallucination so that she would come to Velma to investigate in the woods, instead of hanging out with Olive, whom we learn Daphne has a crush on. On a random aside, we also see that Gigi has a bloody bear rug of a skinned bear carcass in her living room, which I thought was very bizarre.
A series of unfortunate events causes all four of them to fall into an underground cave and become trapped by a rock. They learn that one person will have to be crushed because of how tightly the rock is pinning them. I feel the characters express their worst qualities there when instead of someone volunteering to sacrifice themselves, they all immediately try to kill each other without hesitation.
Meanwhile, Fred is kidnapped by the serial killer and put into a locked room. In this room, he finds the brains of the murdered girls conserved in some sort of fluid, and they are still able to talk somehow through device. I found Fred’s antics with the brains to be kinda weird, especially all the jokes about Fred having a love affair with each of the girls’ brains. The joke about Fred accidentally almost getting one of the girls’ brains pregnant was particularly cringey and over-the-top. I did not find the police leaving Velma, Daphne, Gigi and Norville after already finding them so they could rescue Fred (because he’s a white person) to be funny. It was definitely another very cringily executed social commentary.
Velma and Daphne separate from the rest of the group as they fall into the cave, and hear Fred. They’re able to rescue him, but Velma nearly falls into a hole in the cave when the walls begin disintegrating. Velma is saved by none other than her mother, and all five of them escape the cave. I have to admit, the joke I found the funniest was Fred running through the cave (which is collapsing due to loud sounds) screaming “Help! Help!” at top volume. It was one of those jokes that was just so stupid to watch that I found it hilarious.
The episode ends with Velma’s mom going to the hospital saying she can’t remember anything about who kidnapped her, and we learn that she only has 72 hours to remember otherwise her memories will be lost forever. They don’t explain why, but I’m sure it will be for some cringey nonsensical reason lol. I'm guessing she will be the killer, and is faking the memory loss. Also, random aside, but another one of the jokes I liked the most is Velma’s shirt at the beginning of the episode, which says “Missing” has a picture of her mother holding a cat on it, and in parentheses below the picture, it says “the mom, not the cat.” It was so random and ridiculous that it worked for me.
The flashback format of this episode was interesting. I don’t know if I’d say it was super well executed, but it wasn’t badly executed either. All of the meta jokes about how flashbacks are best done in TV shows definitely gives validity to the theory that I’ve seen a lot of people say on the Internet, where it seems like many of the jokes in this show were written by TV writers who only talk to other TV writers.
Overall, I thought these two episodes were okay. I didn’t feel they were quite as strong as the last episodes writing-wise. I felt episode 7 squandered an opportunity to focus on the mystery in favor of a weird male privilege social commentary that has been done far better in so many other shows and movies. I liked that they focused on the mystery more in episode 8, so that was definitely a bonus. However, the constant fighting got old pretty quickly. I feel this show’s mystery has the potential to be interesting, but they are wasting so much time on drama and social commentaries that it is detracting from the ability to develop the overall plot.
On the more positive side, I am glad they are toning down the humor a bit. The cringey jokes felt constant in the first four episodes, so it’s good they’ve brought it down to a more manageable level. I feel I’m able to ignore some of the more cringey jokes when they are popping up as a result, and I’m finding more jokes funny than I did in the first four. As a brief aside I didn’t mention in the main review, the one joke I felt to be extremely over-the-top in episode 8 was the joke where Velma casually asks if she can have some more edible underwear to eat, as if they are potato chips or something. I know this show loves its edgy humor, but that one stood out to me as hypersexual to the extreme.
I can’t believe we only have one more week left now! The show’s gone really fast. I’m guessing with all the controversy and how it’s been commonly called “one of the worst shows ever” by many critics, this isn’t going to be renewed, so I have to believe next Thursday is it. I’m interested to see what happens, and I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts on this week’s episodes!
1. The Sins of the Fathers and Some of the Mothers
2. Marching Band Sleepover
3. A Velma in the Woods
4. Fog Fest
5. The Candy Man
7. Velma Makes a List
8. Velma Kai
I can't believe we're already halfway through the series! I have to admit I didn't dislike these episodes as much as last week's, but the show is still by no means good IMO. More of the jokes landed for me this week, and I particularly liked the joke of somebody crashing headfirst through a window when the police said "intolerance." It was so goofy and ridiculous I'll admit it got a laugh out of me. As an aficionado of dad jokes, I also liked the "you must be this neander-tall to ride" pun haha. The Casey Kasem bit was fun too. I liked the little reference to him and I was happy they did something tasteful, given the show's track record of making everything as inappropriate as possible.
Speaking of which, the plot about Daphne's parents was really interesting. It still felt a bit rushed and could have been developed better than it was, but it was at least engaging unlike the constant shock humor in the last two episodes. I liked how Daphne's parents were dressed up like Captain Caveman, as well as the nod to Fred, Wilma and Pebbles, and the caveman from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?. The Jetsons reference was also interesting. I also noticed the eyes in the dark were drawn in the same style as The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and Shaggy has a poster of Charlie the Funland Robot on his wall. We also get to see Captain Cutler, whom Velma actually captures when fishing with her dad.
While there was a little bit of mystery on Velma's end, the whole marching band plot was initially interesting, but it turned into another "WTF" moment for me. The idea of a marching band sleepover where all the band members are playing their instruments at the party was funny, but it quickly devolved when the marching band started eating Velma's carpets and furniture because they hadn't been fed. I don't necessarily feel it was inappropriate or a bad joke, it was just kinda weird. I also thought the joke with the trombone was a great example of how this show takes what could have been funny and makes it mean-spirited. I thought the guy making the "wah wah" noise when Daphne didn't get what she wanted was funny, but then Daphne kicked the guy in the crotch. I don't like this show's tendency to make the characters cruel like that. The trombone joke was funny on its own, so I don't understand why the writers feel they need to turn the knob from 1 to 100 and make the jokes as in-your-face and antagonistic as possible.
That being said, there were actually a few extreme jokes that made me laugh this time. I liked the police putting out the "only murderers walk the streets at night" sign. The flashback where the mine's owner just randomly says "Mine's closed. Everyone's fired!" as all the lights shut off made me laugh quite a bit, just because it came so out of nowhere lol. That comment about Fred needing his previous actions covered up by an Israeli security firm also made me wonder what he did haha. The last joke I found funny was super quick and many people may have missed it, but I found it funny that the salad bag was marked "Salad!" with an exclamation point haha. I feel that these jokes demonstrate that the writers can actually write good material, so it's a shame they waste it on try-hard edgy stuff like Velma saying "no sweat off my underboobs!" and a cop intentionally running over Velma with his squad car.
Moving to episode 6, I enjoyed this one a little more too. I thought they did a decent job with the mystery elements this time, and I appreciated that we're starting to dive more into the mystery. Out of all the episodes so far, I would say the mystery felt least overshadowed in this episode. It was still overshadowed a bit by the weird stuff with Velma's dad, however, but I liked how the mystery at least didn't feel like an afterthought for a change.
It was really interesting to hear the backstory behind why Velma's mom disappeared. Given we're halfway through the show, I feel like we should have found out at least a few more details about that way before now, but better late than never I suppose haha. It was neat that the general's operation was named "SCOOBI," and how they incorporated masks and meddling kids into the plot. The bit at the end with the serial killer breathing heavily was really creepy, and I would say this is the first time in these three weeks that I've actually felt a little curious to find out what happens next. I felt they still cut corners a bit when it came to the mystery...like the explanation of how Daphne's parents found her felt rushed...but overall, I really appreciated that there was a bit more of a focus on the mystery.
I liked more of the humor than I did in previous episodes, although some of it still fell into the try-hard edgy category. I was surprised to find that a few of the "shock humor" jokes landed for me this time. Fred reading Yas Queens throughout History, only for his father to take it away and hand him a shot glass and loaded rifle was intense haha. Velma's mom and dad singing "just the three of us" as they spray mud all over Velma was similarly so shocking I have to admit I got a little chuckle out of it. One of my favorite jokes of the episode was Velma's father Googling "how to play catch." Let's hope that's not where our increasing reliance on the Internet is taking us lol. I also found it hilarious how Shaggy was acting tough and dressing up in a leather jacket that says "Mr. Bad Bear."
This episode also had the joke that I've probably laughed the hardest at, that being the part where Velma is outraged by her father installing a tracking app on her phone. His reaction of "Sophie installed it so you wouldn't catch us in bed talking smack about you!" was so shocking and random that I found it hilarious. Given how poorly characterized most of the characters are here, I have to admit it was pretty funny to have a meta-joke highlighting what terrible parents Velma has.
I still found some of the humor to be overly raunchy and try-hard edgy, most notably the bit where Velma's dad takes her to a strip club for lunch. One of the strippers being named "Chestiny" was particularly over-the-top. However, the biggest "WTF am I watching?" moment I've had in the episode, and the show thus far, was Velma deciding to do a pole dance because she's angry with her father, as guys shout things such as "Oh yeah baby, keep it all on!" This show certainly has a knack for creating unbearably weird moments to watch lol.
Oh, and we also learn Velma's previous catchphrase to Jinkies was "Keep it frosty!" which was very odd haha.
Overall, these two episodes were definitely an improvement on the last two, and I would say episode 6 might be the best in the show. That being said, "best" is a term to be taken lightly, since I still don't really enjoy for the show due to the poorly written characters, the try-hard edgy humor, and the cutting of corners when it comes to the mystery. However, these two episodes, particularly episode 6, were at least more tolerable and I found some enjoyment in them, whereas episode 3 and 4 were nearly unbearable slogs of nonsensical WTF moments. Perhaps a little bit of it is because I'm getting used to the inane weirdness of the show after seeing a few episodes, but I also did feel there was at least some meaningful mystery development in these episodes, which is definitely an improvement. I hope we continue to see more mystery development in the coming episodes.
1. The Sins of the Fathers and Some of the Mothers
2. Marching Band Sleepover
3. The Candy Man
5. Velma Makes a List
6. Velma Kai
I just finished episodes 3 and 4, and honestly, I thought they were even worse than the first two episodes. I thought the third episode started out surprisingly well with two amusing jokes. The cat taking the hair and nail vitamins and suddenly getting luscious hair gave me a good chuckle. That Russian soldier spying on Velma because he's curious if she's gay was so random that it made me laugh quite a bit.
However, I thought overall, episode 3 showcased what terrible people the characters are, especially Velma and Daphne. The fact that they were fighting each other until blood sprayed out of their bodies was quite the sight, and the fact that a song in which the phrase "Bad Ass Motherf**ker" is repeated was played during the montage was probably one of the most shocking scenes in the franchise. I mentioned in the last review that I thought Velma and Daphne had some redeemable qualities, but after this episode, I don't feel that way anymore. Velma reading Daphne's deepest, darkest secrets from her diary in front of the entire school was really awful, and made me lose what little respect I had for her as a character. The joke where Velma says Daphne punched her so hard that her tubes had to be tied was really gross, and took it too far in my opinion. In general, this kind of sums up the second major issue I had with this episode.
The first two episodes at least had the mystery to diversify the plot a bit, but this episode's plot felt like it was almost entirely just shock value stuff. As with the previous episodes, humor that's clearly intended to be super raunchy just to get people to be shocked and offended isn't up my alley. I felt the joke about Fred saying his mom watches him while he's peeing, and Shaggy sharing that his mom just told him he was an accident, illustrates this really well. I completely understand that some people enjoy this humor, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If you enjoyed the inappropriate humor, that's great, and I'm glad you liked the episode. For me though, the shock humor felt almost constant in this episode, which greatly took away from my enjoyment. I also felt a lot of the humor got repetitive as if the writers were obsessed with certain jokes, like how they reference Velma putting bean bags in her bra to make her breasts look bigger numerous times throughout the episode. I was able to ignore it easier when they were also juggling the plot with the mystery of Velma's mom's disappearance and the serial killer, but this episode was pretty much no mystery and all shock.
The romance stuff doesn't really interest me at all. I know some people enjoy that, but for me, the romance here is not well written. The Scooby-Doo franchise has had a history of not doing romantic plots well in my opinion, but this show writes it particularly poorly IMO. The "love rectangle" is kind of nonsensical and is not really explored in any depth. It feels like it just feeds into the "shock value" of the show to an extent. I also was not a fan of how they intentionally tried to make certain scenes awkward, like Velma and Daphne trying to decide if their boobs should touch during a hug. The part where Velma narrates and says she knows viewers are wondering if she's "g-g-g-g-gay" was also a bit too much IMO. Again, while there's not anything wrong with it, this show seems to like making things as intense and edgy as possible, and it continues to feel try-hard.
One thing I wanted to note that I found interesting from "Velma Kai" was the backstory of Velma abandoning Daphne as a kid due to an issue with her mother. It seems like they took that from the Daphne & Velma novels, because there's a backstory there of Daphne parting ways with Velma due to an issue with her mother.
Speaking of references, I found the references kind of interesting in general in these two episodes. It was surprising Mayor Janet Nettles from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated appeared in a picture on the wall. I thought that was a neat, obscure little references. Daphne calling a list of Hanna-Barbera characters to find out about her mom, including Mumbly, The Clue Club, Inch-High Private High, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Snooper and Blabber was also interesting to see. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but Daphne also has a poster on the wall that appears to be picture of The Hex Girls, although it says "Teen Angels." It's unclear to me whether that was a mistake, or if it was supposed to be the Teen Angels and they just happened to look a lot like the Hex Girls.
The next episode wasn't quite as bad as "Velma Kai," which I would honestly say would probably make it on my all-time worst list for the franchise. However, it still was not good and I had a lot of the same issues. The plot doesn't really make any logical sense. The police drawing that attention to all the hot girls by having a top 5 list of them does nothing to protect them (in fact, it would just encourage the serial killer). It was painfully clear they only did this plot so they could make a social commentary episode on beauty norms. While that's fine, the fact that the writers could not think of anything better than having the cops stage a beauty contest is bad writing in my opinion. The writers could have better introduced the exact same plot with a lot better writing that didn't randomly and nonsensically throw us into the "hottest girls list" plot.
The "shock value" humor was still very present in this episode, particularly Shaggy saying he remembers breastfeeding, and perhaps most notably, the high school girls acting sexy to distract the cops from watching Velma's stepmom giving birth. I'm positive the writers' motivation behind this scene was to shock and offend people, and make them say "oh my god, I can't believe those girls are being sexual/rubbing on things erotically while a woman is giving birth!" To be honest, I wasn't shocked or offended; I just thought it was dumb how painfully obvious the writers were being about trying to shock people. Although I'm not a fan of shock humor in general, I would argue it could be much better done than this. I feel shock humor should be an occasional thing, rather than constantly shoving it in the audience's face. The fact that the writers are obsessed with constantly needing to shock the audience gets cringey very quickly, and the fact that it's constant honestly makes it less shocking and more annoying. As an aside, Fred's animation for when he's horny is probably the most repulsive thing I've seen in this show lol.
The one thing I did really like about this episode is that the "everyone has different ways of being feminine, and that's okay" message. I thought that was nice and positive message to put out there, and it felt kind of wholesome. It actually surprised me a little bit in a good way that they put a message like this in there, given it was all shock humor and edgy stuff, but I thought it was great that they included this.
Sorry to be so negative in this review, but I honestly really did not enjoy these two episodes. If I were to sum up my issues, I would say it's slightly reminiscent with an issue I have with The Simpsons. For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of The Simpsons. Recently, I feel their episodes have been very hit or miss due to the huge amount of social commentaries and parodies. While The Simpsons doesn't intentionally pander to shock the audience, and I still love the show, I've noticed that the show essentially throws characterization out the window sometimes for the sake of the plot. The characters sometimes behave unlike themselves so that they'll fit the plot of the week, and are essentially empty plot vessels without strong character development. (I actually wrote an entire article on this, which you can read here if you're interested!)
Velma has a kind of similar issue, although to a much worse extent. I watched a review of the show the other day, and I thought this review excellently illustrated that the writers are obsessed with social identity, and the characters are written very two-dimensionally as a result. I agree with this argument, and I'd honestly even take it a little further and argue that the writers are using these "shock value" type jokes to the series' detriment, because there's so much focus on being "edgy" that there isn't much focus on character development, or compelling any advancement of the plot. I realize this is a bit of strong opinion and you're welcome to disagree with me, but this was a realization I came to when watching these two episodes.
All of that being said, even though I really did not like these two episodes, I still plan to see the series through to the end. I look forward to hearing what others thought of the episode, whether you loved it, hated it, or are somewhere in the middle.
1. The Candy Man
3. Velma Makes a List
4. Velma Kai
I just finished watching the first two episodes of Velma, and since the show is one large recurring plot, I think I'm going to do my reviews in groups of two as the episodes come out, rather than reviewing each of the individual episodes separately. I also want to highlight that this is a non-spoiler review, as I want people to be able to read this review if they're wanting a sense of the series even if they haven't watched it.
I went into the show remaining open to whatever it might be, and to be completely honest, I didn't love it. The show feels like Scooby-Doo done in the style of Family Guy. I'm not really a big fan of Family Guy personally for its "edgy for the sake of edgy" tone, and I must say that this struck a very similar tone. That being said, I'm not just going to stop watching the show and say "it's garbage" or "the franchise has been ruined!" At this point in time, I can safely say that the show isn't quite my cup of tea, but I can definitely see how the show would appeal to some people.
I did like Velma as a character. I think Mindy does a great job voicing her, and even though she's a bit edgier and sassier, the character development feels natural and she still feels like Velma. With Daphne, the character development doesn't feel quite as natural because Daphne acts very stuck-up and entitled at times; however, she was like this in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and that YouTube fan series that I like, Mystery Incorporated. I didn't feel her entitledness was overbearing, and it honestly reminds me a lot of her characterization in the YouTube series. I thought Constance Wu did a great job with voicing her.
With Norville and Fred, I was not as big of a fan of their characters or voice actors. Both of them felt like almost entirely different characters. Norville was the better of those two characters, but besides the fact that he has a cooking YouTube channel, nothing about the character really screamed "Shaggy" to me. His voice actor did a fine job, but the fact that it felt like a completely different character kept me from enjoying it as much as I could have.
Fred's character is very odd, and I don't love his voice actor. He's very childish in his demeanors and can't do anything for himself, even things such as cutting a piece of steak. I will outright say I did not like the recurring joke where he's made fun of for not hitting puberty and having a tiny penis. I know society likes to make fun of people for that, but that's not something that can really be helped, so I feel making fun of someone for it is quite mean and immature. If it were just one joke, I could have ignored it, but it seems they are milking the joke for all it's worth, and I'm sure we haven't heard the last of those jokes. In general, Fred's character is kind of annoying and thus far, I'm not really a fan.
The other characters are fine. I don't have a lot to say about them since they haven't appeared much, but the couple standout characters for me were Daphne's moms. I thought they were quite amusing, especially with them immediately rushing to help Daphne with a sick cat.
I don't have much of a comment about Fred or Shaggy's parents, other than Frank Welker does a really good job as Fred's dad.
Velma's dad is interesting, and I'd say my favorite aspect of the show is the mystery of Velma's missing mom and sister. I'm definitely fascinated by where that plot point is going, and I can't wait to see more about it and why the murderers are happening. I also like Velma's fear of mysteries and panic attacks being represented as physical monsters attacking her. I thought that was a really neat way to still incorporate monsters into the show, even though the show does not actually have a monster-of-the-week.
Velma's first mystery being the discovery of her mom being a smoker was a bit odd, and the stuff about giving her mom "idea juice" (aka hard liquor) was a bit much, especially in the scenes where Velma gets drunk off her mom's alcohol as a little girl. Velma being voted "most revengey" in the yearbook was funny. As another aside, I liked the social commentary where Velma says she'll give Daphne's text a "thumbs up" by Monday was hilarious. Personally, I don't understand how people can just give texts a thumbs up without responding, especially when it's a direct question, so that part really amused me.
I thought the references to the Creeper with that mask, and the pictures of Redbeard, the Ghost Clown and Carlotta were neat.
Like I briefly mentioned at the beginning, the humor is not my cup of tea in most cases, though there were a few funny jokes, namely Velma saying all of her money is tied up in streaming services, Shaggy's blog about Lil Wayne, and the literal humor that came with Velma actually spray painting "Daphne is a huge bitch who ditches people to be cool" and signing her own name haha.
Granted, I want to underscore that the humor is not objectively bad. I can absolutely see the appeal for that type of humor, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with liking edgier, more mature humor. Personally, I just don't enjoy humor that is "edgy for the sake of being edgy," which a lot of this seemed to be. Stuff like the two bugs getting intimate and Shaggy trying to cut out his own kidney was a bit too much. There was also some humor I just didn't find funny, like the joke where Shaggy says "420" means adults who still watch cartoons, since that's basically just drawing upon a bad stereotype that cartoon-watching adults are all burnouts sitting on their mom's couch in the basement.
All in all, while this show doesn't really seem like my cup of tea at the moment, I didn't hate it and I plan to watch and review the rest of this season. Even for people who thought it was the worst thing ever, I feel like there still isn't any reason to freak out about it. This isn't going to impact the rest of the franchise in any major way, and my guess is that this will only last one season, and by next month, the show will be over. I hope you enjoyed reading my review, and here are my rankings thus far of the two episodes:
1. The Candy Man
I wasn't really sure what to expect going into this one. Overall, I really liked it! Please note that this review will have spoilers, so if you have not had time to watch the film yet, I would recommend not reading this review until you do if you are looking to avoid spoilers.
The retcon of Coco Diablo being responsible for all the gang's costumes is interesting. I wouldn't want to just consider it official continuity for the entire franchise now, but I kind of think of it like Get a Clue. It works really well as a continuity on its own, but I don't think it really fits with the franchise. I liked the gang's plan for stopping Coco at the beginning of the film, but I feel it's a bit rushed. There's no real buildup where the viewer gets to be shocked like that amazing reveal at the end of "Wrath of the Krampus," it just kind of happens and then it's over with.
We have to get into the opening song next, because I got a really good laugh out that "no more ghouls and ghosts. Just helpin' folks!" line haha. I love that the gang is helping out Elias Kingston in the grocery store. How very wholesome of them lol.
I thought it was very interesting how Velma was crushing on Coco Diablo. It seems they were perhaps testing out what Velma plans to do in the kids' side of the franchise. From what little I've read online about fan reactions to the film, I do hope that there's not going to be some huge controversy about "omg Velma is a lesbian!" To be fair, Velma does not state she is a lesbian in this film; the film only confirms she is romantically interested in women. It does not retroactively say that her male love interests in the past did not happen, so it's also possible Velma is bi/pansexual as well. Regardless, it was neat they explored it here and I thought it was done in a very natural way.
The prison scene was quite intense. John Simms clearly has some anger issues if he has made a Scooby voodoo doll in prison and is poking it in the mouth haha. In the scene where the warden is shaking down Harry the Hypnotist, it looks as if the bars were so wide that the inmate could have fit through the bars. Speaking of that scene, the warden's veins showing in his arms as he's roughing up the inmate was an interesting thing to animate. Although the animation is rougher and more messy in this film than Guess Who was, I feel like it allowed for some interesting details to shine through, like the vein thing. I will say that all the snot jokes with Trevor were gross and unnecessary.
I really liked the villains, particularly the Misery Company. The fact that their guts and brains were exposed made them even creepier. Coco Diablo worked was as a villain too, and although I'm not always a huge fan of the "the heroes have to be helped by their old foe" type plots (because I feel they're often predictable), I thought it was done in a fun way here. I'll have to admit I did wonder for a moment if it actually was Coco when they were setting it up to look like it was undeniably her, so the fact that it was the warden was interesting. I love how happy-go-lucky the warden is about carrying out the plan, to the point of him kissing all the clues as he's leaving them. I think that's super cute lol. I also found it funny how he exclaimed "Hi Mystery Inc.!" in a goofy voice when he was caught. It was a shame that the one preview kinda ruined that reveal (although I did wonder briefly if it was Coco). I was also happy they included a more diverse selection of villains here, rather than just all Where Are You villains. It was interesting to see some New Scooby-Doo Mysteries villains that weren't even in costumes retconned.
I was interested by the fact they fell back on the "Scooby hates cats" plotline. I feel like they kind of use that trope when they want, but sometimes they drop it. And speaking of cats, it was cool they retconned the Catman. One retcon I was surprised about though was that we see Igor from "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle" among the inmates. That is a major retcon, since he was never arrested (in fact, the ghouls embraced what he did).
Just a random note, as I made quite a few of them as I watched the film, I would have been interested in knowing why Velma got detention lol.
Although I overall liked this movie, I LOVED how the last 20 minutes just divulged into random chaos. Random, absurdist humor is exactly my humor style, so it really worked for me.
I've talked in several posts about how I stan Sassy Fred, and we can now add Sassy Gators to my list of characters I stan for. I loved how those gators came up out of the sewer just to cross their arms and give the gang side-eye lol.
Although I am a cat lover, I didn't love Esteban, although the end had two great scenes with him. The fact that he had a cat computer was super funny. What I most liked though was Scooby rhetorically asking Esteban "do you like me?" to which after not speaking the entire movie, Esteban speaks in a deep voice and says "No!", but then they both agree that they don't like each other and shake hands haha.
I really liked Trevor's Mystery Machine design! One thing I will say though, I am getting a bit tired of "the Mystery Machine blows up" plots. They've done it in Return to Zombie Island, Happy Halloween, and now this one. I wasn't really that bothered by it here; I guess I'm just saying that I'm at the point where I feel like they've done enough of those and should perhaps give it a rest after this film.
I liked the bit with the prisoners escaping at the end. The "I know but this is a family movie!" comment from the Warden was funny. Given this information, I can only assume he was going to shout the f-bomb if it wasn't a family movie lol. It was really neat to see the gang wearing the classic monster costumes. I'm unsure why Captain Cutler believed it was the real ghost of Captain Cutler...you could even see Velma's face through the costume lol. It was cute how Fred wore his ascot over the Knight costume. Speaking of which, I have so much appreciation for Fred's casually saying "Hey Mr. Wickles! What a night for a knight!" It gives off such casual sass and I love it haha. Speaking of Sassy Fred, I also think the fact that the Mystery Machine rearview mirror reads "Objects in mirror are probably Fred Jones" also has major sassy vibes lol.
One plotline I felt they could have expanded upon more was Daphne questioning her role in the gang. I thought it could have been a good plotline, but they just mentioned it once towards the beginning and it's never brought up again until the end. I wish that plotline would have been developed more.
The fact that Trevor was actually a random surfer dude in a costume was hilarious. Definitely the kind of random humor I enjoy.
The one joke I didn't really enjoy, other than the snot jokes, was Scooby breaking the fourth wall to say "this whole franchise is named after me!" That's more of a personal preference than anything and I don't think the joke was objectively bad, but it felt a bit cringey to me.
I realize I'm sort of divulging into random comments now rather than giving a cohesive review, but I have some remaining notes. It was cool how the 10,000 Volt Ghost costume looks kind of like Phantom of Vasquez Castle when it is just the suit that's not powered on.
I've got a long comment to end us off here about that wishing well lol. First of all...where did Fred get that wad of cash?!? Secondly, I love how the ending is just Fred and the gang laughing nervously as they throw dollar bills down a wishing well. I genuinely don't think they could have thought of a weirder ending and I just adore it haha. I absolutely get why they did it, but I honestly think it would have been even slightly better if there was no monster eye at the bottom of the well. The ending should have just been the gang aimlessly throwing dollar bills down the well as they slowly have an existential crisis lol. It'd be dark, but also random and amusing as heck haha. I can't make a GIF since digital download sites don't allow screenshots, but somebody needs to make a GIF of that scene of them throwing dollar bills down the well as they nervously laugh, and caption it "Capitalism be like..." hahaha.
Anyway, that's my review for the film! I really enjoyed this film even a bit more than I thought, especially the last 20 minutes of it for its random chaos. I don't think this is what I would have expected when we first heard about the Trick or Treat project in August 2021, but I am very satisfied with what we got, even if it's the only Scooby movie or show we get this year (and it likely will be).
I had originally planned to read this over the course of several days. However, I just couldn't help myself and I read the entire book in one sitting today. Overall, I absolutely loved the book and thought it was quite a fitting ending to this trilogy. It was definitely worth the two years of waiting. Although I will not reveal the culprit in this review, I will be discussing events that happen in the book throughout this review. If that's something that bothers you, I would recommend waiting to read this review.
One of the biggest things I enjoyed about this trilogy is the solid characterizations of Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy. All of them have very three-dimensional personalities, and each characters' emotions are well-written. You can definitely feel the emotional struggle present for each of the characters throughout the book, whether it be Daphne's insecurities about her parents' divorce, Velma's desire to be liked by others, and Shaggy's trust issues about being open with others. I liked how Shaggy's character arc from Mystery Begins was borrowed, where he struggles to make friends. Speaking of theatrical movies, I also thought it was interesting that Velma's family was Latinx in this book, which sort of feels like it was carried over from SCOOB!. (I will admit it's been a long time since I've read the other two, so if there was a brief mention of it in a previous book, I may have forgotten about it.)
I also thought it was an interesting touch that Velma and Daphne displayed brief overtones of jealousy towards one another. In Velma's chapter, she thinks “She twirled a lock of her perfect hair and stared off into the distance.” Later, in Daphne's chapter, she says “She twirled a lock of her perfect hair and stared off into the distance.” This part felt like a good representation of how it often is for people in high school. In high school, people often wish they were something more than they are, whether it be prettier, cooler, smarter...but the reality is, the other person is probably just as insecure about somebody else as you are about them. In high school, it's all kind of a popularity contest where everyone is trying to be the most well-liked (and social media has only made that worse). However, once you get out of high school, you begin to realize that maybe being the prettiest or the coolest, or whatever it may be, doesn't really matter all that much...it matters much more that you are unashamedly yourself. It may be a cheesy sentiment, but I feel like it's true, at least in my opinion. That being said, it was a nice little detail that really made it feel true to what high school is often like.
On the same subject, while I've never really had any complaints about this series in the past, I have to be honest that I didn't really care for Velma pining over Fred. Granted, I'm absolutely not saying that these parts were poorly written or that they detracted from the plot in any way. I completely understand that as someone in my 20s, I'm not exactly the target audience for this young adult book series. I thought the romantic pieces were certainly better done than Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, where the Shaggy/Velma relationship felt toxic and overshadowed the plot. I'm just not into teenage-like romantic drama, even if it fit the genre well in this case. Something about the hopeless pining of "Does this person who I'm madly in love with even notice me?!?" does not appeal to me at all, because it feels unnecessarily dramatic and angsty. Even though I didn't like this piece, I wouldn't say it made me like the book any less, nor would I say Morgan did a bad job with it. I think she did quite a good job of keeping it at a minimum where it wasn't completely consuming the plot. If I'm honest, there's no way I would have enjoyed it because I guess I just find that sort of teenage romantic pining to be a bit cringey, such as Velma's comment "I dashed up the steps, cursing my heart for its insistence on beating double time whenever I saw him!" I know Taylor Swift told us to embrace the cringe, but how much cringe can one take? haha
Even though Scooby didn't talk, I liked how his personality kind of came through too, when he gives Shaggy an excited look when he says "quibble" (mishearing it as "kibble"). It was a nice, subtle way to allow Scooby's personality to still shine through a little bit, and I appreciated it.
The plot of the book felt more high-stakes than the previous books, especially in the sense that a character was murdered, and the culprit tries to kill Fred and Addie by trapping them in a fire. I already thought Morgan did a good job in the other two books with creating suspense and tying in horror elements, but Silas Mohl's ghost felt even creepier than both of them. The description of him having no face was quite creepy. In addition, the scene where the ghost confronts Velma in the woods and only whispers "shhh!" was incredibly vivid and terrifying. The writing perfectly described the imagery in a way that set the stage for a super creepy moment, which can be hard to do when it's not a visual piece of media, so I give Morgan major props for that.
I also want to comment on what a great job Morgan did with including very snappy phrases in her writing. Among my favorites were "Sometimes Daphne was blinded by her Blake privilege - all that new money and fame," as well as "He was capitalism in action!" to describe Shaggy's father. Perhaps my favorite was "Lots of people got phone calls. Not my friends of me, of course, because nobody under the age of forty talks on phones." It's just such a sassy line (and a great social commentary about how phone calls are now seen as being only for old people) that I can't help but love it haha. Speaking of teenagers, do teens actually say "bee tee dub" instead of "by the way" now? I'm genuinely curious now given Fred said it in this book haha.
Speaking of remaining "hip" amongst the youth, sadly, our Official Bougie Count stays at one. I was really hopeful they'd say it again, since it was said in the second book and I figured this book would be the best chance of updating it, but alas, it was not to be. I can only hope that someday someone will say "bougie" again in the franchise so I can update it lol.
I liked that Shaggy got more of a part in this book than he had in the past two. Although we never got any part of the book from his perspective, he felt like much more of a main character, as opposed to the previous two books where his appearances were much lessened. His character arc with struggling with the fallout from his rich dad's company was also very intriguing.
The ending of this was certainly surprising, and I didn't expect the culprit to be who they were. I wasn't really upset by this, but I was surprised that the series kind of ended on a cliffhanger. I would have understood if it were left it open to reader interpretation, but it wasn't. It just ended on Daphne and Velma going to search for the map. I sort of wonder if this means another book was planned to wrap things up, but Scholastic pulled the plug before that could happen. I didn't really mind that it ended without us finding out what happened, but it felt quite abrupt and it surprised me, because I was expecting this book to wrap everything up. I wish we would have gotten to see how the overarching plot ended, given it was so prevalent throughout all three books. Although that part of the ending wasn't left open to reader interpretation, I will say I think it's really cool how the culprit claimed that they did not chase Velma in the woods. Given the culprit confessed to murder, there would be no reason for them not to confess to chasing somebody, so to me, it seems like maybe that was the real ghost of Silas Mohl.
Looking back at the trilogy as a whole, I really enjoyed this series. The characterizations of the gang, especially Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby were really well done. Fred was quite unlikeable with his womanizing and toxic masculinity, but that's exactly what the book were going for. Even though I didn't like the character, I still thought the characterization was good. The villains were all great, and Morgan did an excellent job building suspense and horror all throughout this series. The other thing I really appreciated was how well Morgan pulled in various pieces of continuity from the franchise, and creatively interpreted it to fit the story. For example, Shaggy's cousin Jack was a likely nod to Dapper Jack from Shaggy's Showdown, they carried over Daphne's parents names and one of Shaggy's parents (although it's his mom instead of his dad) being a policeman from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Shaggy's dad's name is Samuel like in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Daphne's sisters names are carried over from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, etc. Morgan easily could just made up new names/details for all these people, so the fact that she took the time and connected all of these details from various incarnations of the franchise definitely deserves praise. I'm definitely sad this series has ended, but I think this made an amazing addition to the Scooby franchise.
So I originally had no plans to do this review, and I don't want to commit to doing reviews on anything else since I'm not entirely sure I'll have the time. In fact, this review is so random that even I didn't know I was doing it until like 20 minutes ago lol. I've never really liked this episode, tbh. Even though my favorite series is The New Scooby-Doo Movies, I just could never quite get into this one. The lack of presence of the villain and obvious culprit always bothered me, and Jerry's involvement in the episode didn't feel as strong as most of the other guest stars in the series. A few people in the comments have been suggesting I rewatch this episode for quite a while to see if my thoughts have changed, so I wanted to give it a fair chance not having seen it in years. I thought about just responding to those people in the comments, but since my review was so long, I thought I'd just share them with all of you, since others might enjoy reading my thoughts as well.
As much as I wanted to gain an appreciation for this episode after all these years, I really couldn't get into it. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely elements here that are enjoyable, but several things brought this episode down for me. I like the spooky atmosphere of the country music hall, and the gang searching for Jerry was a fun plot. The gang having to follow the sound of Jerry's voice to figure out what room he's in made for a very unique storyline.
However, I think revealing the culprits were Bertha and Ben Bing right away took away from the spookiness of it (I don't even feel bad about putting this spoiler right here, because they literally make it so obvious within the first few minutes with Bertha and Ben talking about "getting rid of the snoopers"). I've read other reviews that mention they like how "The Phantom" isn't really a physical threat that you can see, and I think this would have been a much cooler concept if they hadn't told you who the culprits were so early on. I think the "non-physical threat" idea would have been more enjoyable if the audience would have had no idea who or what could possibly be doing this. There are some cases where I don't really mind when the culprit is made kinda obvious before the actual unmasking, like it works in "The Loch Ness Mess" since they'd already built up such a good mystery. However, here, with without a strong villain, revealing the culprit so early on made it kind of a weaker episode in my opinion.
Going further into the villains, I felt like the whole "The Phantom could be anywhere" trope also would have been better if that was the only villain. Instead, we also get the Viking and Davy Crockett, which were not very good villains in my opinion. They popped up a couple times watching from the background, but it wasn't in a particularly creepy way. The scenes were always them just walking from room to room, rather than lurking around or trying to sneak up on the gang. Neither of them didn't feel spooky or memorable at all, given they were barely there. The gang doesn't ever see them until the trap at the end. There's definitely a way to do the "you never know where the villain is lurking" plot well, but this didn't feel like the way to do it. The villains felt barely present, making the stakes feel not as high as a typical Scooby episode.
I have to comment on Fred, because his reactions to things were interesting in this episode lol. The chemistry between him and Jerry in particular was really strange. Multiple times in the episode, Jerry would make a normal comment and Fred would respond as if he wasn't even listening to what Jerry said lol. For example, Jerry says "Boy am I glad to see you!" when he's rescued, and Fred just says "you're welcome!" haha. In another part, Jerry says "If we don't find my guitar, there ain't gonna be no opening!" Fred simply replies "True." I hadn't noticed it in any previous rewatches, but I was amusing myself throughout this whole episode with how Fred just seems like he's vaguely listening, and he's hoping whatever he says kinda half fits whatever Jerry's saying lol. Later on, after Fred says he's fit as a fiddle now that Jerry rescues him, Jerry jokes "but what I need is a guitar!" In the most serious voice imaginable, Fred replies "Yeah, I know." Besides Jerry, Fred also has quite an extreme reaction to Shaggy at one point. When Shaggy gets frightened by a statue's head tumbling down the stairs and jumps in Scooby's arms, Fred shouts "You oughta be ashamed of yourself!" It seems like the situation did not require such an intense reaction to that lol. What in the world was Fred going through in this episode? hahahaha
While it wasn't a significant issue, I have to say I'm not here for the weird sexist comments in this series. Towards the end, when they're trying to figure out who's the bait, Shaggy suggests Daphne be bait instead of him, and Velma simply replies "a girl can't do it!" I guess it's not as inappropriate as Fred's horrific "how is a woman like a desert?" joke from "Ghastly Ghost Town," but I'd say it's right up there with Fred saying it's too dangerous for the girls to go with the guys to trap Bigfoot in "The Ghost of Bigfoot." Although I would honestly say it's a bit more sad here, since it's Velma herself that says it.
Besides Fred and Velma, Shaggy also had a bit of a rough time in this episode with some of his animation. It's pretty well known about how that frame where Scooby looks evil was accidentally animated into "Mine Your Own Business." I'd never noticed it before, but we also get evil Shaggy when he's playing the xylophone. I think the animators were just trying to make him seem focused or whatever, but with the weird grin, he genuinely looks kinda evil here to me. Like he's about ready to beat that xylophone up lol.
I don't even know how to describe these other ones, other than WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? hahahahaha
There were quite a few other animation errors in this episode, including the villains for some reason exiting the room twice towards the end. Another notable error was that Shaggy comments that "10 pairs of eyes are better than four," when it should have been "5 pairs of eyes" or "10 eyes." (Thanks Jayden for pointing these out!)
Even if the episode didn't grow on me like I wanted it to, I actually had a lot of fun writing this and noticing those little things I hadn't before. This remains my second-least favorite episode of the series, only behind "Mystery in Persia." I don't really know if I'll do something like this again, but it was a fun spontaneous thing to do and I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I did writing it.
Admittedly, I originally didn't plan to check this out right away, but I decided to check this out after a few people had recommended it to me. I must say, I was really pleasantly surprised about how great this was. The acting was excellent, the plot development was engaging, and they really did justice to the characters here. It felt almost like Scooby-Doo done in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The following review is semi-spoiler free; this meaning that I do reference specific events that happened in the episode, but without ruining any part of the ending.
Starting off with the characters, I found them all to be really well written. One of people's main complaints about fan-made content is that the character personalities are completely different from the source material. While there was some creativity in expanding the characters beyond the scope of what's been explored in the franchise, all of the character development felt logical. None of the changes were out of place or shocking.
Shaggy's character was quite interesting. His portrayal as a misunderstood loner reminded me of how he's characterized in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. The scenes of him being bullied really made me feel for his character. Moreover, the plot point of him buying drugs for bullies in order to prevent further harassment is a fun twist on the popular notion that Shaggy is a stoner. While we're talking about this, I found it fascinating that Flim Flam is a drug dealer in this. My jaw dropped a little when Shaggy asked for the strongest drug he had, which is quickly revealed to be Flim Flam's signature Joy Juice. For those reading this that haven't watched the show, I realize this may make you think "what the heck is this crazy show?" However, I thought the decision to make Joy Juice a drug was quite an interesting way to include Flim Flam in the show, and it fit with the plot surprisingly well.
I thought the decision to go with A Pup Named Scooby-Doo's canon of Shaggy's father being a police was an excellent inclusion. It amused me when Shaggy's dad harped on Shaggy for using "zoinks," referring to it as a gibberish slang word. Given this show is a more mature, realistic interpretation of the franchise, I thought that little detail was good. As a random trivia tidbit, we find out that Shaggy is a Harry Potter fan. If you look closely, you can see Shaggy has Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone displayed in his bedroom.
The first note I have written for Fred is "woah, Fred is ripped!" haha. I thought they did a great job making Fred's character three-dimensional, showing that he has a lot of internal struggle around his parents' death. I was glad they avoided making him just stereotypical muscle-bound jock. I was amused he had his lawyer programmed in his phone as "Idiot Lawyer" lol. The one minor criticism I had with Fred, along with several other characters, is that they did not particularly look high school aged. I'm not sure how old the actor playing Fred is, but he looked to be about 25-30 years old, if I had to guess. Several other male high school students throughout the episode looked to be much older than high school age as well, particularly during the party scene. The instance of this that amused me the most is that there is a guy at the party who looks to be in his late 30s or 40s (picture included below). Either he just wanted an excuse to attend a high school party, or he's really not done well in his classes lol. That being said, I have nothing against this series in particular for it. It seems very common in media that people in their 20s are often cast as high school aged characters, and it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine. If a lot of famous Hollywood films have done this, I can't fault this series for it, and regardless, it didn't bother me overly much.
I thought the bond between Fred and Velma was really sweet, and I look forward to seeing how that develops. Speaking of which, I liked Velma's character overall, but I would have to say she's probably the character I enjoyed the least. It didn't feel like we got to see as much of her personality as we did with Fred, Daphne and Shaggy, but I could definitely see her growing on me. I found it interesting that her mom owns a book shop, and wondered if it was a reference to Dinkley's Mystery Books from Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. Her mom being interested in the occult seemed to be a subtle nod to Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
Lastly, I would say Daphne is my favorite character. Don't get me wrong, she's very stuck up and bitchy, but the scene at the beginning with her mother was a clear window into why she acts the way she does. I was really happy this was included as the opening scene, as it was very direct and immediately explained to viewers why she's like this. Daphne's mom telling her “Envy is a simple and powerful tool, and it’s right at your disposal. Use it!" was extremely powerful to me, as it demonstrates her parents have put a lot of pressure on her, and made her feel like she needs to be the best at everything. Moreover, it shows that her mom has made her think that the way to make herself feel good is by putting others down. It's really heartbreaking, because you can tell that Daphne doesn't even realize how horrible these philosophies her mom is teaching her are. It's sort of hinted that Daphne wants to try to be a better person, as we see with her stopping Ophelia from drinking the spiked drink, which really makes you feel for Daphne and wish she could see how wrong her mother's ideals are.
There's not too much to say with Scooby since he's just a regular dog who doesn't talk, other than he's a cutie lol. Speaking of side characters, I liked that The Hex Girls were included. Their rendition of "Hex Girl" was decent. The principal was another interesting side character. I found his enthusiasm charming and hope we see him again at some point.
I really liked how they went for a darker, more serious tone with this series. The plot of the occult and the 13 Pillars seems like it's going to be super high stakes, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. The live-action demons looked super creepy, and I feel like they were even a little better than we saw in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. It was neat they had the Miner 49er and the Black Knight appear. The whole bit with Fred's nickname and his excited "you used the name!" line was adorable. I thought it was fun how they incorporated (no pun intended lol) a brief reference to Jonathan Jacobo. The backstory of a pterodactyl demon telling him to "cleanse the Earth" is terrifying!
Speaking of references, I thought this episode did a great job with including references to previous Scooby-Doo content. Asmodeous, Ben Ravencroft, and even Bucky (the deputy from "Dead Justice" in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) were all unexpected inclusions here, and it was fun to see them pop up. We also learn Coolsville is once again in Ohio, as has been canon in other Scooby content. It was interesting they gender-swapped Van Ghoul as a priestess here, even if it was just a mention. I wonder if she'll appear in later episodes.
Without ruining anything, the ending was absolutely heart-stopping! I enjoyed this show so much more than I thought I would and I can't wait for the next episode. Honestly, if the upcoming Velma series is anything like this, I think I'll love it! The production was excellent and looked extremely professional. I believe WB has authorized this show, although it's not an officially licensed piece of media (unless I'm mistaken). According to a comment the crew for the series made on the YouTube video for this episode, this is apparently the only episode they've gotten filmed, as they currently do not have episode 2 funded yet.
I hope you enjoyed reading this review! If anybody else has seen this and wants to share their thoughts, I'd love to discuss it with you in the comments!