Cartoon Review – “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated”

A mysterious event takes place, and then the opening titles roll. The gang rides into town and gets themselves involved in the mystery. Clues are collected and a trap is set, leading to a musical chase sequence. Our creep-of-the-week is unmasked, and is revealed to be someone they met earlier in the episode. Scooby-Doo does something funny, and the end credits roll. That, my friends, was the simple formula of the Scooby-Doo series for the past few decades. And it has worked well for their several years of crime-solving. While Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue did attempt to change-up the formula, it did so in a way that made it no longer feel like Scooby-Doo. The DTVs lampshaded the formula, and made homages to past incarnations, but they never truly broke away from the popular Scooby formula. And now comes Mystery Incorporated, which tosses out the old continuity and begins anew. Is deviating from the formula a good way to go, or would it have been better to stick with the tried-and-true? It is time to take a visit to a town called Crystal Cove, and check out…

There is nothing but silence in this misty fog...

Unlike past installments which had Mystery Inc. traveling the world and being praised for their work, this series has our main characters as teenagers living in a small tourist town called Crystal Cove. Instead of being applauded for their mystery-solving prowess, they’re disliked by the police chief and their parents wish them to cease this activity. All this group of teens (and their meddling dog) want is to solve and honest-to-goodness mystery, and it seems like they finally have their chance. To spoil a story-arc that already long spoiled by the sneak peek months ago, it becomes apparent that there truly is a deep-dark mystery behind this town. The characters are “stuck” in Crystal Cove, a hub for all sorts of paranormal activity. An idea like this isn’t necessarily bad: it forces creativity and can give way for some pretty interesting stories. Crystal Cove is a nice mixture of the 60s/70s and modern-day, with the general atmosphere being that of nostalgia; respect for the original series was quite evident.

That said, the character designs are reminiscent of those from Where Are You?, with the original outfits and such things are Shaggy’s dot eyes making a return. Unlike WAY, the characters are far less stiff and move smoothly across the screen. Nothing seems jerky with character movements, with the simple character models happening greatly with that. The entire show is colorful and vibrant: the background designs are wonderful, achieving a nice watercolor look. There is little I can say about the art: everything works, and works together well.

"Good thing we aren't in this to be liked."

The stories are episodic, but with each one building up to the climax: the reveal of the secret of Crystal Cove though the use of major clues recovered sometime past episode. Other than The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, this is the only Scooby series that has an over-arcing plot. Mystery Incorporated also shares something with What’s New Scooby-Doo, in that the characters have real personality beyond their base attribute. Shaggy is a big eater and coward, as he always was. But some insecurity and intelligence is presented at times, in his relationship with Velma and when it comes to making plans. Velma is more than a genius in this series, becoming a bit of a cynic and more prone to anger. Fred is still the man who comes up with the traps, but he is also more one-track minded and is oblivious to Daphne’s affection. We also see Daphne’s attempts to get Fred to notice her as more than a friend. SDMI is just as much about the human characters as it is about their Great Dane. The humor is well-done and the chase scenes are still decent, despite the lack of musical accompaniment.

Slime monsters invoke great dread...

At the end of the day, I find Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated to be one of the best installments of this series. If you weren’t a fan a Scooby-Doo before, then this series might be the one to bring you into the franchise. If you are a fan, then expect some surprises. And if you just the average viewer, then I greatly insist that you check out the adventures of these kids and dog at least once.

Posted on July 13, 2010, in Animation Reviews, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. There must be something wrong with you. The series is just wrong and needs to die. Velma’s trying to change Shaggy into what she WANTS to date. Dapne is shallow and has lost every shred of originality, becoming what is known as a MARY-SUE. The mysteries are predictable instead of well, mysteries.
    Remember in “What’s new Scooby-doo” when they were on that cruise ship solving predictable mysteries? That’s this entire series.
    It’s just a dissapointment.

    • In all fairness, the original series had mysteries that were FAR more predictable. With Velma’s behavior, the producer of the series explained her relationship with Shaggy in this interview. Daphne, a Mary-sue? The character has been like that since day one, and I feel that this series is actually attempting to change that by making a subplot with her relationship with Fred.

      This may just be my opinion, but I share it with quite a few others: “Mystery Incorporated” is not only a great series, but also the greatest installment of the Scooby-Doo franchise. And it deserves being one of Cartoon Network’s highest rated series.

    • I definitely agree with you 100%. Scooby has been one of my favorite cartoons for so long, and now that they have completely changed the format of the show, there’s no way it will draw more fans than it has in the past.

    • oh u just hate changes!!!
      i know they r predictable
      but that’s not the real focus on the story

    • I agree. I don’t like this series, especially compared to What’s New Scooby Doo? There’s too much drama and I really don’t like what they’ve done to Velma’s character.

      Some reasons why I loved the What’s new scooby doo version better was because they got along so well and they were happily going to different countries on vacations and just getting along so well. It was happy and funny with really nice drawings and bright colours.

      The only thing I could say good about this one is that the soap-opera of Mr.E is interesting. I just wish they would stop with the Velma thing already.

  2. its nice to see the new series. I just completed a whole season and it got better with time, except for the dating stuff. Fred instead of a jock is now clueless with girls other than Daphne. Vemla is no long a genius, just a straight A student as were Fred, and Daphne. The chase scenes in the old series will never be topped. revisit the Creeper , Cave man and no faced zombie to see. little things are now changed. No Scooby snacks, why they never tried to franchise those as candy is beyond me. The did mention the phrase ” danger Prone Daphne” a plus. fred has yet to split the team old school style. Other Hanna Barbara toons routinely appear in the background, too many to even count. A Plus. Velma doesnt lose her glasses, or say Jinkies. The monsters are quite scary, not 1 of them has been African american since the entire series. BIG MINUS. Shaggy again eats meat, Daphne admits to not liking meat that much, but does eat in this series. in the old series , Velma or Daphne rarely eat.
    The mr E character, seems tagged on , as well as the Black female helper DJ, Where did she come from? Overall a 3 out of 5, but getting better.

  3. Great review. I think it is the best series so far, even if it isn’t perfect. I’ve been a fan of Scooby Doo for a log time, and what with the other shows that seem to be plaguing Cartoon Network, I think this is a step back in the right direction. Hopefully this will get the younger generation into the phenonemon that is Scooby Doo. The franchise has been inspiring me with my own cartoons, and hopefully I’ll be able to pay homage to them while creating something original when my time comes.

    • My favourite part of watching what’s new scooby doo is the beginning when the gang is rolling in with their van all happy. Please use that in your cartoons because it’s sooooo wonderful to see a group of happy people going on an adventure.

  4. The series itself sort of takes away from the classic ‘mystery solving’ and implements relationships way too much. It’s true that teenage life can generally relate, but it seems like every episode has a plot twist due to Velma and Shaggy’s relationship, Fred’s ignorance of Daphne’s desire to date him, and of course Scooby’s jealousy of Velma’s relationship with Shaggy.

    • Yeah that’s the worst thing – Scooby always loved and protected Velma. Once she went missing and then when she was found, he jumped all over her, licking her, so happy. Now I don’t like this not getting along and too much drama but I’m sticking with it.

  5. Scooby-Doo gives enjoyment to all age’s. I still like to watch it brings back times of family laughter. Though I have to say this NEW one is terrible I can’t get any laughs out of it. It has changed to the girls chasing after the boy’s and scooby + crime comes second.
    This is a cartoon for pete sake them don’t need to age them into a romantic relationships for any of the characters. No wander the spin-offs never make it there taking the Fun out of it with music + taking there friendships and turning them into couples! What next 2 Couples and there Baby’s oh and Scooby-doo? 10-thumbs down

  6. I kinda like this series. It is a definite step up from Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! because the villains were terrible. I love seeing all the gang back but I’m not happy with the way Velma has developed. I thought she was a smart, kind friend but I saw an episode where she meets a mermaid, believes it is a mermaid, tells the gang that the mermaid is her friend only and to back off her and then gets disappointed when she finds out the mermaid was someone in disguise. Its ridiculous. Also who came up with stupid idea that Velma and Shaggy should date? Shaggy prizes friendship over love, he’s always done that. Why would his morals completely change. Its cruel to Shaggy’s fans.

    Another thing I can’t understand is which movies and series do they include in their past? When Daphne and Fred go to the museum of their mysteries, there is a statue of Flim Flan and they mention he’s in jail or something which I had no idea of. Also there’s a statue of Scrappy Doo and they said they would never speak of him again. Are going from what happened in the live movie? Is that what they’re really doing? Why?

    • I do like this series. It’s one of the better installments in the franchise in my opinion. I actually kind of like the fact that they gave Velma a personality outside of being the resident genius, but I just wish that they would make her a little less obnoxious. Actually, the idea that Velma and Shaggy should be a couple has been prevalent since the beginning because people were shipping Daphne/Fred and paired up the remaining people as well. I don’t mind her dating Shaggy, just, once again, I wish she wasn’t so obnoxious about their relationship.

      I think that museum seen was more of a call back to past incarnations of the series with some self depreciating humor just to show how much the show has progressed. Flim Flam and Scrappy are the scrappies of the series (characters who the fandom almost unanimously hates), so refrencing those characters in such a way is kinda just like the writers poking fun at the less than great parts of the Scooby Doo franchise’s past.

  7. This show is awful, and this review is ridiculous. The characters are too bad to watch. Who can get behind the Fred character, they completely abused the traps “obsession”. The romance is just lazy and stitched together. None of the characters are creative or interesting, and there is really no comedy.

  8. TO MUCH ROMANCE I mean its a cartoon!!!!! You now how long Where Are You ran? A while. It had no romance. Why put it in now!! I mean I have looked around on the net to see if anyone knew the ending. On some sites such as Wikapedia I read the supposeable ending. Look at it on Wikapedia.If that’s the ending to it it’s horrible. Why not just have a nice family Cartoon? I know Wikapedia isn’t that trusthworthy. But i mean I have Watched all the episodes! It sounds like the ending it would have! LOOK AT IT ON WIKAPEDIA NOW

  9. All could be forgiven if Velma wasn’t a #itch, at one point she calls Scooby a dumb dog, and not as a joke, she ment it. Im sorry but in one of the older cartoons when Velma was captured Scooby didn’t need a Scooby snack to go save her, they were tight like that.

  10. The show is awful, my brother refuses to watch it, and he’s a big Scooby Doo Fan. He’s endured all the other spinoffs saying it was a nice change for each of them, but when he watched this one, he watched 5 episodes, and hated it.

  11. Bah. People will ALWAYS whine about how they hate the changes. I’ve watched the old Scooby Doo growing up, and the old formulaic plot got OLD. This was a nice change, because the characters actually have personalities!

    • Giving them a personality would be fine if the personalities were not horrible.
      Fred is…insane
      Daf is boy crazy
      Velma is a bitch
      Shaggy…Shaggy is still Shaggy
      Scooby is…hardy there and if he is he is part of a love triangle

  12. I love the show. It’s a new continuity and a reboot of the characters with more depth. The Scooby world has always skated on the edge of absurdity, and now that’s pulled into the humor as well as the horror.

    Fred – I make allowances for his obsessions, given who raised him.
    Velma – too controlling, but teens learn by making mistakes.
    Shaggy – hiding things from his best friend, also a mistake.
    Daphne – in love with Fred as she always was, but now showing it.
    Scooby – less screen time but he can talk more clearly, so less time has to be spent in pantomime

  13. I don’t like this series at all. Shaggy and Scooby have always been best friends but now Shaggy’s too preocupied with Velma and they hardly talk! Velma’s character has completely changed…she’s not nice at all now and I agree with @PersonIam, all Velma seems to do is moan at Shaggy and try to change him. In one epsiode stating that through saying ‘like’ all the time, Shaggy is making himself ‘sound ignorant’. She then goes on to discuss how Shaggy should take more care over his personal appearance…what the hell! As for Daphne and Fred…I’m not even going to go there.

    I’d like to see a return of the longest and best relationship in the show…Shaggy and Scooby!!

  14. I hate this series!! (Not to be rude) I mean, what happened to slightly chubby Velma, now she has bows in her hair! And wasn’t Fred supposed to be in love with Daphne? Not really the other way around? This series needs to end. I mean, I liked all the other Scoob spin-offs, but htis, this is really bad. Are the producers trying to create war with thier fans???!!!!

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