crew has been
going strong (and not growing older) for over 40 years now – in a run that
has included eleven cartoon series, two live action films, dozens of made
for video (or cable or whatever) movies, multiple comic books and many video
Therefore, it may be a little tough to bring something new to the
franchise. Still, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This series has had a
tendency to run afoul of extreme reimagining (Scooby Dumb or Scrappy Doo,
anyone?). It works much better if they just tweak what is already working
for the times.
Mystery Incorporated –
created specifically for
Cartoon Network – obviously loves the original series and understands what
made it special. They have stylized retro-looking drawings and have
returned the gang to their original classic outfits (Fred just isn’t Fred
without an ascot, sorry…) after some recent attempts to spruce the look up a
of the sprucing up here is done in the characters. Mystery Incorporated
is trying to make the kids more relatable to modern fans. Don’t worry;
no one got a nose-ring or tattoo. However, for example, Velma appears to be
grumpier than ever before, Fred seems a bit dim here and totally obsessed
with his traps and Daphne seems to have some self-esteem issues. And what’s
this deal that Shaggy and Velma are apparently covert make-out buddies?
Still, even with new personality quirks, it is a pretty bulletproof formula
– four high-school-aged kids and their dog searching for monsters.
There are also some plot-changes as far as the basics of the storyline. The
kids are a bit younger – they are now high school age when previous
incarnations usually were around the early-to-mid 20s. Also, instead of
traveling the world in search of monsters, they mostly stay in one town –
Crystal Cove – where the monsters conveniently come to them. Because they
are younger and living at home, we get to know the kids’ parents, voiced by
a savvy group of actors including Gary Cole (The Good Wife), Frances
Conroy (Six Feet Under) and – in a nice touch
– original TV Shaggy and legendary DJ Casey Kasem plays Shaggy’s dad.
kind of clever voice casting extends to the rest of the series. Live-action
film star Matthew Lillard returns to his role as Shaggy, as do long-time
Scooby video actors Fred Welker, Grey DeLisle and former sitcom star
Mindy Cohn (The Facts of Life) as the other kids. Other fine actors
on hand include Vivica A. Fox as a funky local disk jockey, Patrick
Warburton as the local sheriff and Lewis Black as Mr. E, a mysterious
benefactor (and possible threat) for the team. The distinctive tones of
John O’Hurley, Kevin Dunn and Beverly D’Angelo show up as guests.
like the recent series of best-selling videos, Mystery Incorporated
is much more self-aware than the earlier series. The Mystery Inc. kids
recognize that most of the monsters are people in costumes – and thus, the
criminals have to work harder to impress them. Therefore, the generic
monsters of the earlier shows – Dracula, the werewolf, Frankenstein, zombies
– are replaced by made up menaces like slime mutants, gator people and man
storytelling is tight, the scares are good and the laughs are frequent – all
you can ask in a Scooby-Doo! franchise.
only major complaint there is about Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated –
Season One, Volume 1 is that it is simply much too short. The video
included four half-hour episodes. A Volume 2 is coming soon, also
with just four shows. Since there are only sixteen episodes total, why not
just offer a full season in one single package rather than making us break
it down into four small purchases?
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted:
February 27, 2011.