For today’s fan spotlight, we have the former administrator of Scoobypedia with us: James Dixon. James was the admin at Scoobypedia for 11 years, before recently stepping down in December 2020 to pursue another Grifkuba project. I’m excited to introduce you to James via his fan spotlight below:
1. What is your name?
My name is James Dixon. I've also been known to use the FANDOM handle of Anythingspossibleforapossible aka Possible (for another certain fandom, I actually barely scraped the online surface of) and then TheAtomicLight when I eventually decided that the former handle wasn't for me anymore.
2. How did you get into Scooby-Doo?
When I was young, I watched a handful of episodes from across the franchise that popped up on TV (all of which were pre-2001). I never at any point made a conscious decision to search for it on TV. What got my full attention, though, was when Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost came on TV. I thought they were both very well done, as dark as they were.
And then on January 1, 2010, I made the big leap into the fandom and joined Scoobypedia, which led to me being put in charge until I left at the end of December 2020.
3. What is your favorite Scooby-Doo episode and film? Why?
I can't exactly nail down my favourite episode. I have a handful of episodes I like from each series. From the original series, I particularly like the moment in "Bedlam in the Big Top" when Shaggy and Scooby turned the tables on the Ghost Clown and used his own weapon against him, which was profoundly different from just accidentally knocking the ghost over.
Another great episode I think is "Beware the Beast from Below," the first episode of Mystery Incorporated. It's a great departure from the silly tone of what had come before (despite still having some great jokes), and was a great template for the entire series of which, unfortunately, I don't think it always matched. Fred in particular was great to watch and he made a decision that he thought cost a teacher's life.
As I said above, when I was younger Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost captured my attention more than anything else. Zombie Island is my favourite film of that era, and still is, because it was so fundamentally different. As a kid, I found it to be "edgy" in a sense, but it still holds up because everything about the series has been kept the same, but matured in a way that is still completely accessible. It's more serious, but not too serious that it doesn't know how to have fun when it needed to. The boundaries are being pushed further than before because it's made by new people with a new mindset pushing the boundaries further than they have ever been before and being 1997/1998, it was the perfect time. There's a three-dimensional quality that was never there before. The songs were also incredible; they were the perfect choices.
I also really like Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster. While Zombie Island had upped the stakes, Loch Ness Monster is my favourite take on the more "traditional" version of Scooby-Doo, especially after Legend of the Vampire and Monster of Mexico, which were both dull tributes to the original series. With or without Loch Ness Monster, there would've been more DTVs, but Loch Ness Monster made the film series worthwhile again, at least for me.
4. What ways are you involved in the Scooby fandom online?
My real interest and love of the fandom grew when I found A Pup Named Scooby-Doo airing one morning on in the last week of December 2007 (yes, I have an acute memory of this, I guess because it quite possibly led to a life changing experience in becoming a part of the fandom). I was a casual viewer, but this time in my life I actively sought out to watch it and be mindful of when it was on.
5. In your opinion, what is the best series or era of Scooby?
I'd like to give a shoutout to Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! It doesn't get as much love as it should. What's funny about that series is that it's quite literally every other series you've seen just with Scooby's name slapped on. It has elements of Inspector Gadget and Bill & Ted, and some other stuff. Despite the unusual character designs, the absences of Fred and the girls, and weird villains, none of this actually puts me off. I like what it brings to the table. I think a lot of it is because of the talent of voice actor Jeff Bennett. That series would not be as good without him.
I've found the eras of SDMI and BCSD interesting to view as they've come and gone. They definitely sparked a lot of debates.
6. What one Scooby-Doo series or film would you want a sequel to someday?
What was so great about the new story of Zombie Island was that Daphne was the host of her own travel show that could've provided a convincing reason for Mystery Inc. to discover new mysteries and ghosts to track down. Instead, the creative team ignored that (along with Daphne intending to reveal to the world, along with Detective Neville's help, that the supernatural was real) and just had them conveniently stumble across a mystery. That's the biggest mistake they made. So, I would like to see (but never will) a return to that original concept in Zombie Island.
That era would've been nice to see again, but after having seen Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island, possibly the worst Scooby-Doo film of all time, which was hellbent on retconning everything from the original, instead of being just being left alone, I know this would never be possible. Even though we all know that "Scooby-Doo is just for kids," Return to Zombie Island's press release was targeted towards the fans of the original film, but then the film itself is a kiddie b-movie spoof. The film is irredeemable as both a sequel and a film that stands on its own two feet.
7. What direction would you like to see the franchise go in the future?
I know what direction it shouldn't go in: Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? Scooby-Doo has only lasted as long as it has by taking chances to see what else can be done with the franchise. Even if some of those ideas don't turn out to be a good idea, they are still worth it. You could tell that Warner Bros. severely regretted Be Cool Scooby-Doo! when they made Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? as bland and boring as possible, apparently to satisfy old time fans who were upset with Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! But the problem is, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! makes up for its stiffness with a certain kind of charm and likability.
So, what I think we should see in Scooby-Doo is more chances being taken with new story ideas and a better understanding of who each member of Mystery Inc. is. A lot of the times I feel the gang are only there to serve the mystery, unlike Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! which felt like the opposite. This is why I haven't liked seeing guest stars in recent years, because it feels like an excuse to avoid focus on the gang which is what the audience comes to see. You can get Mystery Inc. to meet as many guest stars as you'd like, but if the gang aren't remotely likable or interesting, then the guest stars don't mean anything. Like KISS or John Cena.
This is why I'm cautiously optimistic about Velma. And if Velma does fail, then just try and doing something else new and see what happens there, instead of doing another Guess Who?
The only more guest stars I'd like to see more of are other Hanna-Barbera characters. Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. have always been reluctant in having Scooby-Doo crossover with other Hanna-Barbera-created series as if it would change the fabric of time and space if Scooby-Doo solved a mystery with Jonny Quest, or Tom and Jerry. If you watch the Jonny Quest episode "The Curse of Anubis" and the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too," you could almost see them as being connected.
What I found was the biggest missed opportunity with Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? is that there was only three HB-themed episodes; 2 in season 1, and 1 in season 2.
In the new Jellystone! series, which I recommend to everyone, all you need to do is have a cameo of Scooby Snacks, that's all, and it broadens the universe just a bit more.
I'd also like the comics to stop using stock art. You can call it original artwork if you want, but it's still amazingly talented artists to basically trace over WB's inherited art with the gang in several stock poses, which may be altered just a tad. It's 100% ineffective and turns all potentially great stories into terrible ones. If you look at the beautiful art Scott Jeralds used to do compared to what he does now, it's heartbreaking.
For the first 10 years DC Comics were publishing Scooby comics they had the most wonderfully drawn artwork which helped the stories, then WB and DC realized that they either shouldn't be wasting good money on merchandise that fans are going to buy anyway or WB had a fear that fans wouldn't buy something they would be anyway unless each member of the gang had the same 2-3 stock poses in every panel of every comic which had started subtly around 2011, and became dominant at least around 2014.
8. Who is your favorite member of the gang and why?
There is no easy answer to this. I don't want to just say Scooby & Scooby, but I like their observation of things. But I also really liked how Fred and Daphne were written in Be Cool. They both were suddenly filled with depth and character, although both of their character traits became somewhat problematic in the end.
9. What is your favorite villain? Why?
I liked Mr. E when he was an unseen figure who gave Mystery Inc. clues, despite being a potential threat. There should've been a bigger build up and done it at the end of season 1, instead of in the middle. When they randomly decided to reveal him sitting in that chair as this fat, hairy guy, it did nothing for me.
10. In your opinion, who is the best recurring (non-gang) character in the franchise?
I really liked it when Del Chillman was brought back a second time. Two times isn't enough! I'd also like more appearances of the Hex Girls. It's about time the Hex Girls had their own spin-off. The Hex Girls are Captain Planet and Jem combined, and those shows were huge hits, so doing a series about protecting the planet with rock and roll music seems like a no-brainer.
Miyumi only appeared once and I really liked the new dynamic she brought to the gang, and I would love to see her again.
11. Do you have a Scooby-Doo collection? If so, what’s in it?
My collection started off with DVDs of complete series (none of the single volume sets if possible), and in 2012 expanded to books, beginning with Jungle Jeopardy and a hardback of DC's Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! I've got several books now. I've also got the Blu-ray sets of Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies (for the latter, I feel like WB were banking on at least one episode not being available for the promotional value). That would've been it for my collection, until last year I finally relented after several years and hunted down some Scooby-Doo Funko Pops. I have the whole gang, Scooby Dum, and Scrappy.
12. What do you think has made the franchise so popular that it’s still going strong after 50 years?
I ask this myself many times. Everybody loves reading or watching fictional detectives whether they be Sherlock Holmes, Jessica Fletcher, or even Scooby-Doo. It's fun to watch these kids solve mysteries in the formulaic way they do, with all the tropes that have defined it along the years, particularly in those first two years of the original series. It's one of the biggest pop culture influences in entertainment. There's also genuine humour in what Shaggy and Scooby do.
13. What is one fun fact about you in real life?
Last year, I started my Funko Pop collection. I was always impressed with how the Pops looked, but I wasn't certain it was something I really felt like I should buy and I didn't have the room. So, as I said above, I finally relented and bought my first two Pops, which included a sandwich-holding Scooby. Whether or not I had the space, it became kind of a fun hobby collecting them. For some reason I put a goal of 100 Pops in my head, and just this month of August, I finished that goal. It's weird that it's only been a year. I'm unofficially done with collecting them and now need to find the perfect display case for them all.
14. Please feel free to share anything else you’d like to here!
I've moved on from Scoobypedia to a great new Hanna-Barbera-themed project that is growing in wonderful ways that I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to do so. We've been covering heaps already and we're not stopping until we have everything. And for Scooby fans, we already have all the series pages, including the upcoming Velma. Even though there's much more work to do because it's more than just dealing with Scooby, I'm actually loving it even more, and it's become very rewarding discovering things that the internet has yet to properly detail. I'll share the link when I feel it's in the right place to get more attention.
Thank you so much again to James for being our fan spotlight today! I agreed with quite a few of his opinions, especially that Get a Clue is a bit overrated. Though the series was far different than any piece of Scooby media preceding it, I did appreciate it for what it was and it was quite enjoyable if you viewed it as separate from the rest of the franchise. I also couldn’t agree more with his point that experimentation within the franchise is often worth it, because it allows the franchise to grow. While I did enjoy Guess Who, I did feel it played it a bit too safe at times and I wouldn’t want every Scooby series to be like it.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for another fan spotlight!
9/11/2021 11:38:09 am
Thank you so much, WildwindVampire.
9/11/2021 11:55:12 am
Thank you for being one of the fan spotlights! My apologies about the mistake on where the project is being hosted. I just fixed it in the post.
9/11/2021 12:54:04 pm
Tom and Jerry meeting Scooby-Doo is definitely on my Scooby bucket list, but I do still definitely agree that experimentation and refreshing takes are what keeps this franchise going and crossovers being used very frequently are not ideal
9/12/2021 10:56:10 am
I've never been a huge Tom and Jerry fan personally, but similarly to Courage I think a lot of people would love if there was a crossover. However, as you said, the constant crossovers do get a bit tiring after a while, so it'd be nice if they could take a break from those for a bit (especially after we just had an entire series about them).
9/12/2021 01:26:01 pm
I really don't think a Tom and Jerry crossover ie ever likely to happen. let's be honest here Tom and Jerry chase each other all the time and scooby and the gang solve mysteries. so I don't think there would be any real story to tell in such a movie, I for one apprecite Tom and Jerry the way it is and I think it should stay that way.
9/12/2021 02:08:05 pm
It's be interesting if they did, because it worked out surprisingly well with Jonny Quest, but I definitely wouldn't hold my breath.
9/12/2021 02:53:27 pm
in addtion to what I said, I would like to point out that the Tom and Jerry franchise has been know to use some rather violent cartoon gags ever devised in theatrical animation. Tom has used axes, hammers, firearms, firecrackers, explosives, traps and poison to in attemps to kill Jerry. and they been know to have a rather destructive formula in fact, one of their movies ended with them quite literally destroying and brining down a house. therfore I for one would be hestint to use and combine such a forumla in a Scooby/Tom and Jerry crossover movie in all honesty and I think some others may feel that way also.
9/13/2021 04:42:27 am
I mean, that is MGM violence your talking about.
9/13/2021 10:23:00 am
I'd assume they'd tone it down if they did choose to do a crossover.
9/14/2021 09:04:43 am
Actually, one of the WBA movies did end with a house being destroyed. I think it happened in the space or race movie. But it would work if they had one of those spooky mansions collapse and Mystery Inc. had to escape. They have to escape lots to avoid death.
9/14/2021 02:18:21 pm
They also did it with "Where There's a Will, There's a Wraith" from Be Cool, though that was a bit different haha.
9/12/2021 06:13:54 pm
Great answers! Nice to see some love for Get A Clue; I don't think it's as bad as people say it is. And I agree with you on Guess Who. I feel like it doesn't have its own voice. No flavor.
9/13/2021 04:43:01 am
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~ WildwindVampire ~