It was almost two years ago that I reviewed the first volume of this series. As your resident, Scooby enthusiast, I had pretty much lost faith in the rest of this series to make it to DVD. To my surprise, the rest of Season 1 has finally arrived. Stating the obvious, it’s hard to maintain much momentum when you are two years to finish a single season of a show.
This two-disc set covers the disjointed history of this twelfth incarnation of the Scooby-Doo series. The first disc represents the episodes that aired on Cartoon Network from Christmas 2015 until March 2016. Then the series disappeared in mid-story. The second disc contains the final six episodes of the season that aired in a single block overnight on Boomerang in June of 2017. It’s hard to give a show legitimacy that the network that aired the show did not.
Reviewing my thoughts on the first disc of the series finds many of the same criticisms. The stories aren’t bad. They attempt to return to more single-episode mysteries of the original along with simplification of the relationships between the characters. One of the main ways to do that is just limit the interactions and stick just to the mystery and throw in a musical chase interlude in every episode. I don’t mind that and if executed well, I wouldn’t have much criticism. The animation remains pretty meh. It reflects the house style of Cartoon Network about five years ago and feels more dated now that it did even two years ago.
A few quick hits:
“Scary Christmas” is a bad start to the disc set. Daphne having an issue with her birthday being on Christmas seems like a detail not mentioned before and there’s a weird pterodactyl villain that has nothing to do with Christmas.
“Gremlin On a Plane” at least has good pedigree with the Twilight Zone episode and is probably the best episode on the two-disc set.
“Saga of the Swamp Beast” and “Be Cold, Scooby-Doo” are simple returns to ground covered in previous series and movies with the gang in New Orleans and a ski resort. The villains are predictable but comforting. Who doesn’t like a snow monster terrorizing a ski resort? It also marks the beginning of the end for the series as it circles back on itself with very little in the way of new ideas.
“Eating Crow” and “I Scooby-Doo Do” are the first of the second disc and return of the series in 2017. I gather there wasn’t a break in production because they look the same as the previous episodes but the quality is running out.
“The People vs. Fred Jones” is something that would be really interesting in a previous incarnation like Mystery Incorporated. Fred is accused of making up all the mysteries they have solved and essentially being a criminal mastermind. I like those deconstructions of the previous episodes. Here it’s not nearly as meta as it could be and falls flat. Symbolic of the rest of the series.
I was amazed to read that a Second Season has been released directly to the Boomerang streaming service. For such a long upstanding franchise, this feels like such a demotion. Cow and Chicken might deserve new episodes on a streaming service like Boomerang but not Scooby-Doo. The idea of teenagers and their dog solving supernatural crimes isn’t an idea that has run out of steam. There are plenty of opportunities for stories here and I’m not even faulting the return to more traditional mysteries. Two things would help – a return to more classical animation look and actual interesting mysteries not just rehashes. I hope I’m not writing my last Scooby-Doo review, that would be an ignoble way for this series to end.
This two-disc set contains 13 episodes and nothing else. I think that speaks volumes of how Cartoon Network views this franchise.