Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scooby Dooes It

Back on July 20, I gave my initial thoughts on Cartoon Network's new Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated in this post.  I've now seen seven episodes of it.  I thought I'd give an update.

It turns out that, yes, the obvious had been/is true - this Scooby Doo adventure is contiguous.  The never-be-seen-in-a-Scooby-show idea of creating a story arc not only is happening, but it's being done to fantastic results.  It's an arc that is always lurking, but not in your face.  They're doing a great job of stringing a thread through each episode, while still creating stand-alone pieces.  Of course, that cannot entirely be the case, but the referential bits to other shows are not so clandestine that someone just jumping in will wind up lost for that episode.  But don't let that fool you - it's not as if they're over-simplified either.  I'm quite impressed with how the overall elements are woven into the single stories.

I'll be honest - twice now it has thrown me for a loop.  It utterly suprised me with a twist or two.  That's a rare thing in a Scooby show, don't you think?  It's a nice and even balance to the "I can guess what the mystery is" of the original series.  Since it can often be a bit of a let down when you already are already steps ahead of the Scooby gang, how exciting and cool is it to have an myserty that spans over all of them that you are hard pressed to solve?  P.S. - That "Mr. E" charatcer is heating up!

On to my other concerns... the kids' parents and their "relationships."
It turns out that having their parents/siblings does lend itself to some poignancy.  Whereas before we wondered what the deal with thse "teens" had been driving around aimlessly in a van finding people in costumes everywhere they go, we now have a 'base' for them.  They go to school together and the like, so having their parents concerned (or not) with what they are doing creates a dimension also unhithero seen in Scooby cartoons.  Sure, their folks might be just a peppering (which led me to wonder why they even had them) but the truth is that it is a spice nevertheless.  And it's becoming an acquired taste.

Now, the thing about Shaggy and Velma being a secretive couple... although ultimately it still doesn't sit right with me, I am warming up to it.  Why?  Because it's not just "there."  It factors into the storylines, such as their strain affecting the outcome of a successful capture or creating a 'mystery' among the gang itself.  (e.g. perhaps Fred wonders why Velma isn't where she's supposed to be - and it's because she's been spying on Shaggy instead...)  So, it's not just a wacky add-on, it's a full-fledged story element.  Daphne has always been sweet on Fred... but now, there's depth to it.  When have you (besides the movies) ever seen a Scooby character be anything more than 2-Dimensional in terms of personality?  Yep, it's done here in Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated.  Not just in their potential hook-ups, but of their lives in general.  This Scooby gang learns and grows and holds grudges and... you get the idea.

Lastly, it pays homage wonderfully.  It's just like watching old-school Scooby, but fresh and with 21st Century markings.  They even make fun of the original in a loving way, such as variants on the "And I would have gotten away with it to, if it weren't for you meddling kids."  So far (I think) none of the 'villains' has actually said those words.  Instead they tweak it so as to be included but different.  For example, one of them had been known to be studying Latin earlier in the episode.  So they say it in Latin instead, with the remark of something like 'Loosely translated that means:  I would have succeeded if not for you interfering young people.' (Not exact, of course.)

So on the whole, what had been a little scary about the new version has been unmasked.
Looking forward to more - and finding out the answers to the mystery of the old-tyme Mystery Incorporated!  (I speak of a clue from Daphne's locket...)


Anonymous said...

They RUINED the oringal Scooby Doo.

Prof.Plum said...

they ruiend the oringal scooby doo