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
Some early concept art for Velma has been shared, and it looks completely different than what we ended up getting. Earlier last week, artist Annie Wu posted some pieces of early concept art for the show on Twitter, which was covered in an article by CBR. In my opinion, this early concept art animation actually looks a lot better than what we ended up getting. You can view a few other pictures of concept art in the Twitter thread.
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
With only hours left before the show premieres, a trailer has been released for Velma. The trailer shows that a lot of classic villains, including Captain Cutler and The Creeper, will be making cameos in the show. You can check out the trailer above.
There's also an uncensored R-rated version of the trailer that can be watched on the official Velma Instagram page.
It appears Velma will be premiering a bit sooner than we thought...in three weeks! WB-Discovery put out an official press release with all of their January TV shows on their website, and listed Velma as premiering on HBO Max on Thursday, January 12, 2023.
TVLine has confirmed that two new episodes will be posted every week. Given the previous confirmation that the first season will be ten episodes, that means the first season will conclude on February 9, 2023.
In addition, an edited teaser has been released in Australia, and Fox 8 will be airing the show beginning January 15. However, the series will be able to be streamed on demand the same day as in the US. I imagine that the series will be treated similarly in other countries.
TVPassport has also confirmed all of the titles for the episodes in season 1 for us:
2. The Candy (Wo)man
3. Velma Kai
4. Velma Makes a List
5. Marching Band Sleepover
6. The Sins of the Fathers and Some of the Mothers
7. Fog Fest
8. A Velma in the Woods
9. Family (Wo)man
10. The Brains of the Operation
The website Vulture.com made a post earlier today about upcoming TV shows on HBO Max. Within this post, Velma is mentioned as having a January 2023 release date. There is no information about a specific date, but this seems to be our first clue to the month that the show will be released. However, it should be noted that no other sites have listed this release date; but Vulture tends to usually be pretty reliable, and at least for me, that pushes this beyond just being a rumor. I still wouldn't interpret this as being set in stone, though.
There's been a lot of news with Velma recently with the NYCC panel recently, so much in fact that there are a few things I've missed reporting on. Scoobylover amazingly compiled a ton of information about everything that's been released from the show, so I wanted to make this post to fill in the gaps and report on some of the information from the NYCC that I wasn't aware of until now.
During the NYCC panel on October 6, series creators Mindy Kaling and Charlie Grandy said the show could be best described as a crime show with elements of a teenage sitcom. Mindy also revealed some vague details about plots for two of the episodes. There will be an episode centered around prom, and another about a "fog festival."
Mindy mentioned that Velma will be portrayed as a high school outcast who is a bit snarky. She says that she is looking forward to showing an Indian father-daughter relationship in a different way than it has traditionally been done in the past.
A Twitter thread has also revealed the entire recurring cast, except for Ken Leung whose character is still unknown.
Thanks so much again to Scoobylover for providing all this information!
A teaser for Velma has been released following the panel at NYCC. The teaser is a parody of Scream, and wittily seems to address the online backlash to the series by having Velma complain to HBO Max about a fake series that changes Judy Jetson's character. Some other context clues can also be picked up from the teaser, that being that Velma's relative is missing, as a poster that says "Missing: Deya Dinkley" can be seen on the wall. A note reading "call Norville" is also on Velma's computer. The series will take place in Crystal Cove, as per a poster on Velma's wall saying "Crystal Cove Fog Fest." I have to admit, I give them mad respect for addressing the Internet hate the show is getting in such an amusingly satirical way. Particularly the line "If there's one thing the Internet agrees on, it's that you should never change anything ever!" is great lol.
For those who were worried about Frank Welker not being in this series, there was some good news announced at the panel. Frank Welker will be voicing Fred's father in this series according to the series page on Twitter.
There was also an interview conducted with Charlie Grandy and Mindy Kaling at New York Comic Con. They confirmed that there will be one overarching mystery of the show of a serial killer. The teaser trailer also announces that the show will premiere sometime in 2023.
The cast for the first season has also been announced on Deadline, including brand new casting for the entire gang. Constance Wu will voice Daphne, Sam Richardson is voicing Shaggy, and Glenn Howerton will take over the voice of Fred for this series. Jane Lynch, Russell Peters, Melissa Fumero, Stephen Root, Gary Cole, Ken Leung, Cherry Jones, Fortune Feimster, Yvonne Orji, Sarayu Blue, Nicole Byer, Ming-Na Wen, Shay Mitchell, Debby Ryan, Kulap Vilaysak, and Karl-Anthony Towns will play unknown voice roles in the series. Two guest stars from Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, Wanda Sykes and Weird Al Yankovic, will also be voicing a character.
Check out the interview below. For some reason, the first five minutes are just a static screen saying the interview will start soon. I don't know why they didn't edit that out of the final video, but regardless, just skip the first five minutes as there's no content.
A few days before the Comic Con panel, social media accounts for Velma have been created on both Instagram and Twitter under the handle @velmatheseries. The first post on Instagram features what appears to be a fan art drawing of Velma. The Twitter account features a sassy reference to Velma's catchphrase. Thanks to Scoobylover for sharing this information and links to these posts!
It's been announced that NYCC will feature several Scooby related events. (The full New York Comic Con schedule can be found here.) A special screening of Trick or Treat, Scooby-Doo will take place on Friday, October 7 at New York Comic Con at 5:15pm. Here's the official press release snippet:
Don your Halloween costume and celebrate the spooky season with Scooby and the Mystery Inc. crew! Join us for an exclusive Scoobtober treat (no tricks, we promise) – the premiere screening of the all-new animated adventure, “Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo!” Enjoy games, goodies, giveaways and more!
In addition, a panel will take place featuring Mindy Kaling and Charlie Grandy, along with some other special guests in which they will give the audience a sneak peak at the first episode of Velma. Here's the official press snippet:
From Warner Bros. Animation, Velma is an adult animated comedy series telling the origin story of Velma Dinkley, the unsung and underappreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang. An original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers. Join executive producer Mindy Kaling who voices Velma along with showrunner Charlie Grandy and special guests for a sneak peek at the first episode.
~ WildwindVampire ~