I just checked out Velma, the new Scooby gang origin story, and I have lots to say! First of all, it’s not for kids! If you’re watching this show, make sure there are no young kids in the room. Teens are okay and might be needed to explain things to you. But this is definitely not your parents’ Velma. In lots of ways. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
As you’ve probably heard, this is the origin story of the brainy Velma Dinkley. And you’ve likely heard they’ve made some changes. The biggest one is that Scooby isn’t in this, which is pretty well known. And really, considering the adult themes and situations, not to mention the MURDER… this was the right call. Scooby is aimed at kids and this, despite being a cartoon, is definitely not for them.
There have been complaints from some about the diversity of the Scooby gang. Well, if that kind of thing bothers you that much, you will probably hate this show. Honestly, whenever a known property such as Scooby Doo is rebooted and characters change ethnicity or gender, just accept that it’s an alternate universe. The original incarnation still exists and you can watch it at any time. But this is a glimpse into another reality. And trust me, these characters are very different from their kid-friendly incarnations.
I found the story very enjoyable, even though I was only privy to the first 8 episodes, so I have to wait for the last two to form a full opinion. It was easy to see this as an alternate Scooby Gang because they were so different but in a fun way. Previous versions of Velma were timid. This one is not. Fred has always seemed well-meaning and relatively smart. Scratch that for this one. (well, he might eventually become well-meaning) Daphne is far different as well. And Norville, aka Shaggy… enjoys snacks but apparently not for the same reason we assume the original Shaggy did.
The story has been a fun ride, though I’m sure those who dislike the thought of representation and diversity or think white privilege is a myth will really not like this show. But the sharp dialogue, comedy, and mystery will definitely entertain everyone else.
There are a host of other characters in this series and I love the fact that the original voice actor for Fred, Frank Welker, is now playing Fred’s dad. That is an excellent nod of respect to the original. I actually wasn’t aware he was part of this until I watched the show, and then I recognized his voice. Which is pretty amazing, considering how many of them he has.
So, I’m going to say this was enjoyable and give it a 9 out of 10. It was a little more cartoony for a mature cartoon, and without any spoilers, I do find it amazing how characters survive falls and incidents that would definitely injure or kill regular humans. But putting that aside, it’s a fun story with lots of twists. There’s a mystery, relationships, love, chases, fencing… wait, there is a sword, but no real fencing. It’s not The Princess Bride. But it’s definitely a worthwhile watch.
Velma stars Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) as Velma Dinkley, Sam Richardson (The Afterparty) as Norville aka Shaggy, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) as Daphne, and Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) as Fred Jones.
Velma premieres on Max (the new name for HBO Max) on January 12th. Check it out.