Sunday, May 8, 2022

Cooler Kids Will Live Forever

Until Belghast mentioned it a couple of days ago, I had no idea there was a live action reboot of Scooby Doo in the works. Maybe that should be a re-reboot. Or a re-re-reboot. I've lost count of how many versions there've been so far.

Bel noted the new one "appears to have taken notes from the modern Archie/Riverdale CW Series", something that literally every article I could find on the web also chose to mention. Turns out it's more than just a few notes.

"Inspired heavily" is how the team behind the crowdfunded project put it. The first episode is the result of a successful, now-closed, campaign that ran a couple of years ago on Indiegogo, (not Kickstarter, as the Nerdist article link that took me to the pledge page suggested.) 

That goes a good way to explaining two things that puzzled me when I watched the show on Friday. Firstly, why it was free to watch on YouTube and secondly why it seemed just slightly not as slick as you'd expect for a property with this recognition level.

It does raise another obvious question, namely how come the rights owners are letting it happen? I can only infer from the FAQ that the plan is to keep the whole thing "unmonetized" so everyone (Warner Bros., Hanna Barbera and the CW are mentioned.) leaves them alone. Since the first episode is up still, I guess maybe it might even be working.

Although the Indiegogo campaign was just for funding to make Episode One, the pitch says they mean "to build an entire 10 episode season." The IMDB page, linked in the proposal has a dozen episodes pencilled in for the main characters.

Having watched the only episode available so far, I hope they succeed in making another nine or eleven or however many they can manage. I didn't think it was especially well-acted or written and the special effects were on the pre-revival Dr. Who level, but for anyone who loves the characters and the storied history of the Scooby gang, this take is nothing but pure fun. I loved every ridiculous minute of it.

All the central characters are solidly recognizeable, with Daphne looking almost exactly as you'd expect, Velma close, Fred not so much and Shaggy... well, you really wouldn't want a real-life version of the cartoon Shaggy, would you? Scooby doesn't get to do much other than sit in the Mystery Machine but he certainly looks the part. I'd say he was the dog's bollocks but that's actually where he doesn't look quite like the Scoob we all know and love.

A lot seems to be being made of this being a darker, more adult vision but on this very limited evidence I'd like to refer those people to the 2010 series Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which I've mentioned occasionally in the past. That was a subtle and thoughtful reworking with some properly adult themes, although you did need to stick with it for the whole three season run to appreciate the subtext.

I just hope the new series, if it does get made, doesn't emulate Riverdale too slavishly. Much though I love that show, it is totally batshit crazy. I don't mind that at all but I do mind the horror elements becoming so disturbing. I have literally had to stop watching Season Six because it was giving me nightmares. Yes, really. At my age!

So long as the homage goes no further than Jingle Jangle being the drug du jour in Coolville I think we'll be okay. More than okay, actually. The metatextual connection gives an unexpected frisson to my JJ tee! I shall wear it even more posily now!


  1. Considering I have the DVD set for the entire original 1969-1970 run of Scooby Doo Where Are You, you'd think I'd be the target audience of this. But I'm just happy with the originals, thankyouverymuch.

    1. You should definitely watch the 2010-2013 series. It's recognizeably the original, just better.


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