I just finished watching this special live, and I absolutely loved it! This special exceeded my expectations. It felt like a parody, homage, and 'making-of' type production all in one, and I thought it was done wonderfully. If you haven't watched this yet, you may want to avoid reading further than this point until you do, because this review does include spoilers!
The humor in this special was hilarious. I know there was some worry from fans that the special would be overly adult and raunchy, but they did a great job working in humor for adults without making it too inappropriate for kids. I have to say my jaw dropped a little when Velma said "Scooby's a nudist!" Daphne dating Captain Caveman was quite amusing as well. My favorite joke of the special though was Janel warning Scooby about saying Snagglepuss's catchphrase because "Snagglepuss is extremely litigious!" hahaha. One of the only two jokes I didn't care for was where Scooby said he peed in Snagglepuss's suit. I'm not a big fan of bodily humor, as it feels a bit overly childish. The other joke I didn't care for was the Scrappy one. I was really disappointed the moment they brought Scrappy up, because I could tell it was going to be them bashing him again. Honestly, it made me a little sad, because it wasn't even a single "What's a Scrappy?" type joke; it was repeated bashing and just felt unnecessary, particularly the comment about Scrappy defaming Scooby in AOL chat rooms. Scrappy's nowhere near my favorite character, but when they've been making this same joke over and over again since the 2002 live-action, it becomes a bit tiring as a fan to see. This was definitely a small part of the special and it didn't bother me as much as this semi-long explanation might make it sound, but I do think WB needs to move on from making the "Scrappy sucks haha!" jokes.
I'm not typically a huge fan of animation/live action hybrids, but I really enjoyed the contrast between the two here. It felt almost The Scooby-Doo Project-ish, especially given this special was a parody of sorts. I didn't even mind the corny-looking Snow Ghost, in fact, I thought it fit well with the special. Speaking of the villain, I did think it was hilarious how the villain was a sixth character who was written out of the show. I would have loved to see an episode with the mechanic as a main character, especially given the episode they edited her into was "The Mystery of Haunted Island."
I thought all the guest star additions were great. All the Hanna-Barbera (and DC) characters having cameos throughout were cute. All the guest stars worked really well, and I especially enjoyed Karamo. As a huge fan of The Simpsons, it made me smile to see David Silverman. Janel Parrish was a really good host. I wasn't familiar with her, but she did a nice job hosting the special. However, I don't think most people were as excited for him as I was, but did anyone notice Iain Armitage's absence? It was really strange because he was announced as a guest star, but he just wasn't there.
One of my favorite parts of the special was all the various writer/animation historian stories throughout. Even if I knew almost all of the behind-the-scenes stuff about the show, it was fun to learn a few new tidbits about the franchise. It was really sweet that all the voice actors talked a bit at the end. I particularly liked hearing Frank Welker's stories...and also hearing him say "Put your hands in the air like you just don't care!" lol. It was quite unexpected and therefore funny haha.
I enjoyed the little flashbacks, though there is a bit of an asterisk to that. It bugged me that they spliced in new audio in old scenes. I believe Kate Micucci re-recorded one of Velma's lines, and nearly all of the monster roars were re-recorded. I wondered at first if it was because they couldn't get the rights to such old content, but even the Slime Mutant's roar was re-recorded, and that was a very recent villain. I really don't have much knowledge about how copyright works when they're trying to use sound effects from old content, but it would be very strange if they weren't able to. I can't imagine anyone's going to take them to court and say "You used my monster roar without my permission!"...well, unless it's Snagglepuss haha.
I thought it was quite mean of Scooby to use someone who was clearly idolized him as his "spit bucket cleaner." That's so cruel!
The history of unmaskings at the end was interesting. I wouldn't have chosen some of the more obscure villains like the Sky Skeleton or the president ghosts as the most famous unmaskings, but I thought the montage worked well. I looked closely because I had a feeling they were going to get some of the years wrong in the history of unmaskings, and I was right..."A Night Louse in the White House" aired in 1984, not 1983; "Scooby Dudes" aired in 1988, not 1990; and "Mystery 101" aired in 2015, not 2014. It's possible they were going by production years on "Night Louse" and "Mystery 101," but it wouldn't explain why they were two years ahead in Pup. Kate Micucci also mentions she started voicing Velma in 2014, which would back up my production year theory, but it doesn't make sense why they wouldn't be consistent, or why they'd be two years off on "Scooby Dudes."
The last thing I wanted to talk about was the music. Firstly, I didn't mind that they reused "Scooby Abracadabra Doo" for the chase song. It didn't feel like they just forced it in where it didn't fit like with Scooby-Doo Adventures: The Mystery Map, where they reused a bunch of old songs from recent DTVs. It felt almost like a callback to an old chase song. While I love the Anarbor What's New, Scooby-Doo? cover...wow, they've used that version so much lol. They even have used it on a bunch of DVD menus. There must be some WB executive that loves that version of the theme, and is like coming to every Scooby production meeting excitedly seeing if they can somehow work it in to yet another Scooby movie lol. That's my headcanon, at least haha.
Overall, I absolutely loved this reunion special and am really happy they did something like this. It was a cute, quirky 60 minutes of fun and I felt, with the exception of a few small things, it honored the franchise wonderfully. :)
Also, this is the second Scooby-Doo production in a row to end with a dance party. Is every Scooby production just going to end with a dance party now?!? haha
~ WildwindVampire ~