New information about Velma was announced today at Warner Brothers-Discovery's panel at Annecy Festival in France. Season 2 of the show has been confirmed to be in production. In addition, it was announced season 2 would be released sometime in 2024, although no specific date has been announced yet. The show was also confirmed to still be considered a Max Original, which debunks previous rumors that season 2 might air on the Tubi streaming service due to poor audience reception. You can read more about the other shows that were announced at the festival in WB's press release.
It's seemed like a switch flipped when Velma stopped airing and most everybody collectively agreed to cease talking about the show, but after four months, we have our first tidbit of news on the series. The first season of the series has been given a release on digital platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV and Vudu. Each episode is available for $1.99, or the full season could be bought for $14.99. Note that there was no direct link to the Apple TV page, as their main web browser page doesn't actually let you purchase anything. If you have the Apple TV application, you can search the series on there.
On a separate note, there are a few oddities/mistakes with the wide streaming release.
IGN has just announced that Velma for being developed for a second season on HBO Max. No further details or date has been given at this time. Velma is the most streamed HBO Max Original Animated Series on the app; however, it is worth noting that there are only four other HBO Max Original Animated Series currently released, so this is not as big of an accomplishment as some news outlets have made it seem.
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
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