“Scooby-Dooby-Doo…where are you?” No, really…where is he?

The latest victim of an attempt at updating and giving a modern, unnecessary spin to a beloved IP is the animated, adult-oriented series VELMA. Just like the end of an episode of SCOOBY-DOO, behind the failed execution of the show, pulling off its mask will reveal that it’s merely a vanity project for comedian and series creator Mindy Kaling.

The show follows “the gang” before they became Mystery, Inc., yet does nothing to inspire any sort of camaraderie between these unlikeable characters. It asks the question, “What if Mystery Inc. were more like the kids on EUPHORIA?” The thing is, no one wants an answer to such a stupid question. If you changed their names and outfits, they would be entirely unrecognizable as SCOOBY-DOO characters. I’m not referring to their colorblind representation; I’m all about that. But their personalities and motivations resemble nothing that made them iconic and lasting over half a century after they first appeared.

It’s a real shame that this is the modernized interpretation of the property that made it to the mainstream. The celebrated fan-created live-action YouTube series MYSTERY INCORPORATED successfully set a tone similar to that of RIVERDALE while the novel MEDDLING KIDS by Edgar Cantero shed them in a light somewhere between DOG MEETS GOD and THE DEER HUNTER. Both are examples of subverting the property while staying true to who these characters are. In VELMA, we have direct references to RIVERDALE in a tired attempt at being meta. The episodes aren’t entirely without the occasional laugh. However, these laughs are so occasional it feels overly long at a mere half-hour runtime.

The show’s biggest transgression, and one the internet is not willing to forgive, is its complete absence of Scooby. You can turn Daphne into a drug-dealing Mean Girl, showcase Fred as a privileged man-baby, and take away anything likable about Shaggy, but for god’s sake, give us the dog! Scooby was the glue that held the gang together. I’m assuming the season’s finale will bring him into the picture as a cliffhanger for season two, but at the rate these poor reviews are coming out, it doesn’t seem that our cowardly canine hero will make it that far.

VELMA is available to not watch on HBO Max.

Ricky J Duarte

[He/him/his] Ricky is an actor, singer, and writer in New York City. Passions include: theme parks, Disney villains, and watching horror movies with his cat. He's also the host of the RICK OR TREAT HORRORCAST podcast.

Latest from Ricky J Duarte