I’ve always enjoyed watching Scooby-Doo while growing up, but I was never really a huge fan of the classic show. As the years went by and new adaptations of it came along, such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, and the more recent made-for-video movies that carried a little more serious tone to them, the show really began to grow on me. Now Warner Bros has released what I think is the best modern take on Scooby-Doo ever with the new Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated, the 11th version of Hanna-Barbera’s creation and a proper reboot. It’s everything you know and love about the Scooby-Doo gang, but with a bit more flavor to it, and now we’ve got Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1 V.1 on DVD.
If you’re unfamiliar with the popular animated show that spawned it, Mystery Incorporated features slightly-revised versions of the popular characters, yet manage to keep much of their appearance from the original versions. The monsters / villains are a lot more serious this time around, such as a trucker trying to run people off the road and over a cliff in the Secret of The Ghost Rig episode. And the gang actually has some feelings for each other, like Fred and Daphne try to get together while Velma tries to get with Shaggy, but he just wants to eat all the time and hang with Scooby-Doo. I also like how the humor is funny without being too over the top or corny like in the classic series. It’s the little things that keep it funny, such as when Daphne tries to snuggle with Fred or tries planning something romantic with him, only to have Fred start telling her about his obsession of making traps to catch villains, going to trap conventions, etc.
It’s also cool that the legendary Frank Welker is still voicing Fred after all these years and now talks for Scooby-Doo as well. Casey Kasem has passed the torch to Matthew Lillard who does a great job as Shaggy (appropriate, since he also played the character in the live-action movies), while Kasem now talks for Shaggy’s dad. Other noteworthy voices are Lewis Black as Mr. E, Gary Cole as Fred’s dad and Mayor Fredrick Jones, Sr., as well as Patrick Warburton as Sheriff Bronson Stone.
As much as I love the show, I’m disappointed that Warner took the miniscule approach to releasing it on DVD, as this first set is limited to just four episodes. They’re presented in widescreen, while the picture and sound are super sharp and clean, given the series is the first of the franchise to be broadcast in HD. There’s no special features here, either, which means that if you’re looking to start collecting now you’d better be ready for multiple editions, as Warner has, sadly, chosen to release their shows in volumes instead of full boxed-sets. I think I speak for numerous fans of Warner’s products when I say please stop doing this, as you’re just pushing your fans away, and doing wonderful shows like Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated a grave disservice in the process.
I love Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated, but not the way Warner Bros is releasing the series. While the four episodes on Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated: Season 1 V.1 does show folks what the rebooted and considerably more mature series is all about, its the fans’ pocketbooks that will be hurting the most, as this bare-bones sampler is less satisfying than a single Scooby Snack. A single DVD simply isn’t enough for a show that’s proven to be one of the best and most innovative in the series’ long history, and those wanting to see what all the fuss is about should catch it on Cartoon Network first, at least until Warner Home Video comes to their senses and decides to release a proper full-season boxed-set that does it justice.
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Warner Home Video