SCOOBY-DOO!: MYSTERY INCORPORATED, VOL. 1
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The latest incarnation of the long-running “Scooby-Doo!” franchise is “Mystery Incorporated.” This first volume of the series includes the first four episodes of the show. Updated for today’s audiences, the series is slightly different. Not only does it have a more stylized look, but the characters are tweaked a bit. Shaggy and Velma are having a secret romance. Daphne is swooning over Fred, while he only has eyes for his mystery-busting traps. Scooby’s pretty much the same. As the gang tries to solve the mysteries in the town of Crystal Cove, there’s a puppet master named Mr. E always behind the scenes, pulling the strings.
WHAT I LIKED
Like Batman, I have enjoyed the Scooby-Doo series (well, most of them, at least) ever since I was a child. The show has had its ups and downs, but for every terrible incarnation (like “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo” and “Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!”), the series goes back to the well to discover what made it so good in the first place. The last time I remember this happening was with “What’s New, Scooby-Doo!” in the early 2000s. “Mystery Incorporated” is easily the best version since then, and one of the better ones made.
What clicks with this new series is that it can be watched by kids as well as their parents who grew up with the original series. In addition to the changes made to the characters having eyes for each other, there’s plenty of in jokes in the series. For example, whenever someone is caught, they purposely paraphrase the line, “And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”
We also get a chance to meet the gang’s parents, with some great voice casting of Gary Cole as Fred’s dad (the mayor of Crystal Cove) as well as Casey Kasem as Shaggy’s father.
Then there’s the ongoing storyline, which really makes this show pop. We only get four episodes in this first volume of the series, but we already see that there’s something happening to make a greater arc. This might fly over the heads of the kids watching at home, but parents can enjoy the longer form of storytelling.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The character design is a huge step up from the ridiculously angular Flash design of and “Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!,” but it still tries a bit too much to be edgy. Gone are the clean animation from “What’s New, Scooby-Doo!” and the relatively straightforward look of the original series.
Also, once you get into the ongoing story, it is a bit of a bummer to only get four episodes on the disc. I really wanted to watch more.
There are no special features on this disc, aside from a few trailers for other Kids WB properties.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Long-time “Scooby-Doo!” fans and their kids.