Geek Shriek: Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated



The gang is back!

Although I've never had anything against the Scooby-Doo franchise, I've never really felt it lived up to its potential. There's plenty of monsters, madmen and cheap thrills to go around, but in the end its all proven to be a fabrication of some bumbling criminal or high school revenge plot. Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated sets out to change that with plots that, while admittedly just as cliche, are authentically spooky and surprisingly well written.

As the eleventh incarnation of the franchise, following an embarrasing string of live action films and the simply abhorred Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, Mystery Incorporated seems to be both a reboot and an homage of the original 70s cartoon series. All the mainstays are present (Shaggy, Scooby, Velma, Daphne and Fred), though they've been given a facelift in terms of visual appearance and characterization. For instance, in the first few episodes it appears that Shaggy and Velma are having somewhat of a "secret romance" (*gasp*) while Daphne swoons over a clueless Fred with 75% less vanity than any previous version of the character.

The new series finds the gang living in Crystal Cove, the "most haunted town in the world," where mysteries abound, but aren't necessarily begging to be solved. You see, being the most haunted town seems to have proven a killer tourist attraction and so no one seems to mind a little mischievous with the exception of a certain group of meddling kids and they're dog. Undeterred, the gang sets out to solve these mysteries while simultaneously uncovering a possibly more sinister subplot courtesy of the enigmatic Mr. E who has some sort of affiliation with a group called Mystery Incorporated (a predecessor of Scooby-Doo and the gang).

The real thrill, and testament to the strength of the series, are the writers' (Mitch Watson and Tony Cervone) understanding of the iconic monsters of the original series. It's this appreciation for the history of the series that shows in the designs for the new monsters as well as several throwbacks to fan favorites like The Creeper, Miner 49er and... wait for it... yes, even Vincent van Ghoul! That's right, the ghoulish Prince of Shadows returns and is featured several times in the show thus far, though never in as a character in direct relation to the show itself. Finally, solving mysteries is cool again!









8 comments:

  1. Bubbashelby said...:

    I agree - this series is, like, groovy, man!

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    Haha, good one, Eric. I'm digging everything from the character designs to the coloring all that's inbetween.

    The only thing missing? Scooby Snacks.

  1. ladracul said...:

    Personally, I'm surprised that in addition to some pop culture references (Like the Griswolds popping up in one episode with Beverly D'Angelo* as 'mom'), there's actually a story that gets you hooked. What does Angel (The DJ loosely based on the one from "The Warriors") know about this? Is that actually her as one of the former Mystery Inc. kids? I'm totally hooked on what will unfold.

    *Beverly worked for Hanna-Barbera years ago as a background painter, and now she does a guest spot in one of their most famous cartoons. :)

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    @LaDracul: I was thinking the same thing about Angel, she definitely knows more than she's telling. As for D'Angelo that's pretty awesome, I never knew she was a background artist. Very cool.

  1. Jay Amabile said...:

    I've seen all the episodes and I think the last two new eps that aired were the best so far. The style and colors are amazing. A lot of fun although I think it would benefit if it was a tad bit more scary since it does air at night.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    @Jay: I definitely get more hooked as the episodes progress. They could probably crank up the fear factor a bit. The way the stories are written/paced reminds me a lot of the old 'Goosebumps' or 'Are You Afraid of the Darl?' tv series.

  1. Jeff Allard said...:

    I just came across this series and as a longtime Scooby fan I've been mostly digging it. Although I had to scratch my head at the episode with the Creeper's daughter. It has a flashback showing her as a little girl watching her dad get hauled off to jail after being busted by the Scooby gang but yet this girl is now supposed to be the same age as Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy. So how did she "catch up" to them age-wise? It's possible I missed something as I watched it with my five year old who loves to talk. Or maybe it's just that Scooby Doo has become too complex for me to follow!

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    @Jeff: Nice to hear from a new face, Jeff, welcome to the clubhouse! I think that the episode you're referring to had some "creative liberties" with continuity. In the new show they simply say that The Creeper was imprisoned, but not by who exactly.

    My thoughts are that it has something to do with the "original" Mystery Incorporated crew. And the plot thickens as they say... mwhahaha!

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