Velma

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Velma
Velma.jpg
Let the real Velma arrest her and cancel her show.
Genre: Mystery
Adult animation
Comedy horror
Running Time: 26 minutes
Country: United States
Release Date: January 12, 2023 - present
Network(s): HBO Max
Created by: Charlie Grandy
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Starring: Mindy Kaling
Glenn Howerton
Sam Richardson
Constance Wu
Frank Welker
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 10


Velma is an American adult animated HBO Max series. This show is based on Velma Dinkley of the Scooby-Doo! franchise, and serves as the prequel to the Scooby-Doo! series. The show has received mixed-to-negative reception by the internet since before it was released, as early as October of 2022, when it was announced that Velma and Shaggy would be race-swapped, along with other controversial changes. Since its release, the show has so far been panned by the internet, especially from the Scooby-Doo fans.

Plot

The series serves as an alternate universe origin story for Mystery Inc., pitched as a "love quadrangle" between them. It primarily focuses on Velma Dinkley as she tries to solve a mystery regarding her mother's disappearance and the numerous murders of local teenage girls.

Why It's Not the Real Velma

  1. First of all, the concept of making a series that focuses on a particular character from his franchise who isn't the protagonist is, anyway, a good idea, because it can show many hidden traits and personalities of that character plus further character development. For example, shows like Ice Age: Scrat Tales or even Better Call Saul. However, when you have all the principal cast (Velma, Fred, Norville (Shaggy), and Daphne) yet not that one character who made the franchise so special, precisely the same Scooby-Doo, the show becomes tasteless and awkward, as well as offending fans and anyone who loves and grew up with the character.
    • For this reason, the title is misleading. You can think that the entire series focuses only on Velma and her plot, while leaving all the other characters behind, but includes even Fred, Shaggy, and Daphne, who are mostly irrelevant for the story, and can easily be replaced by random people.
    • Charlie Grandy, the show's developer, claimed the decision to exclude Scooby-Doo was to "differentiate the adult show from the family-friendly property that inspired it", which is just absurd.
    • Even more insulting is that the writers decided to use Scooby’s name to describe something else that has nothing to do with dogs. The way that is done is that a secret brain-swapping project that Velma and Fred’s mothers were involved in was called “Project Scooby”.
  2. Similar to his redesign in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, Shaggy's redesign has little to no resemblance to his old design, and he looks more like a stereotyped Jamaican, or a blackwashed version of Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender. At least the new versions of Daphne, Fred, and Velma look somewhat like the original.
  3. And addressing the other elephant in the room is its tone. Similar to many modern adult cartoons, the show contains a handful of unfunny adult jokes, such as two cockroaches mating, Daphne giving Fred an erection, and worst of all, Velma's dad's pregnant girlfriend Sophie posting an image of herself nude. And that's not the worst part. Eight minutes into "Velma", the very first episode of the show mind you, we have Sophie's unborn child posing alongside her nude mother to which viewers can see her outline on her stomach. And it wouldn't be this bad if it's not for the fact that this comes from Scooby-Doo!, a show that was made for kids. Sound familiar?
    • True, previous Scooby-Doo! shows do have some mature content, and a few adult jokes here and there, but the difference is, those never go overboard with such content and were usually creative and even funny, while Velma treats it like something out of a bad Family Guy episode.
      • Heck, even Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, a show that's much more story-driven and darker with its tone than Velma, it never goes that far with its mature content.
    • It also has painfully unfunny meta jokes, which come across as more mainly annoying than funny. It is not helping that they drag on longer than they need to.
    • One infamous joke was just made to insult viewers who dislike the show, as in the second trailer and episode two Velma is seen saying, "adults who still watch cartoons." as an insult that screams to the world that animation is only for kids and that if adults and teenagers watch it, then they're immature. Yes, cartoons have a level of complexity that is toned down for younger audiences to understand, but adults can enjoy a level of charm to it. We're at an age where many children's cartoons, including the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Likewise, many adult cartoons, both good and bad, have an unbearably large amount of violence, toilet humor, swearing, and jokes that are plain offensive to brag about how their shows aren't meant for a child audience (unless it is done right like Dragon Age Absolution).
      • This also comes off as very hypocritical of her, as she is saying this in an adult cartoon. In a way, this is a double standard and doesn't even work as a joke.
    • The humor relies on dated pop culture references and failed attempts to be hip with teenagers.
    • A insensitive joke that got a lot of backlashes was made in the first episode where they compared sickle cell disease to rudeness.
  4. The majority of the characters are difficult or near-impossible to like and/or one-dimensional, and the main characters have been butchered. When adult cartoons are based on pre-existing material, writers need to make the characters still feel like themselves while playing up their most eccentric traits. It can be tricky to find the right balance, but some shows managed to do so successfully by taking those traits in a logical direction. The same can't really be said for this series:
    • Velma herself suffers from the absolute worst personality change out of all the characters, as she goes from the brains of the group to a loathsome and insufferable jerk, who has the "I'm so smart" attitude.
    • Fred Jones has a history of being privileged, like how in Mystery Incorporated, his father is the wealthy mayor of Crystal Cove with authority over the police, and yet, he's remained consistently kindhearted, despite his status, and likely wasn't even aware of how privileged he was. His obliviousness could have been portrayed in a funny way, but the show goes in a mean-spirited direction with it by making him shallow, entitled, and racist, for no good reason.
    • Shaggy, renamed to Norville, went from a cowardly, yet likable character, to a one-note pathetic cretin who lusts for Velma and hates drugs.
    • Daphne went from a quirky hopeless romantic, to a mean girl stereotype, Thankfully, she redeems herself within two episodes, which is pretty short compared to ten episodes.
  5. The animation, while not awful, is usually pretty slow-paced at best, except for Velma's hallucination scenes.
    • On that note, its animation style looks as if it was stolen and plagiarized from the more well-received adult cartoon, Final Space. This is shown through the eye designs and facial features of the characters as Velma's eyes and lips resemble that of Quinn Ervin’s, while Fred’s face whenever he exaggerates his lips when taking a selfie looks ripped off from Gary Goodspeed’s facial expressions. These uncanny resemblances caused viewers to blame Velma for the cancellation of Final Space.
  6. Another main problem of Velma is how incredibly surprising and generic it is when compared to the previous Scooby-Doo! shows. With the removal of Scooby-Doo himself, it is just another run-of-the-mill mystery show with Scooby-Doo! skinned onto it for profit. Therefore, you could replace Velma, Fred, Daphne, and Shaggy with different characters and would basically stay the same, considering the lack of Scooby-Doo! elements. Sound familiar?
  7. Similar to them being recast in Scoob!, Fred, Velma, and Daphne have been heavily recast from their original actors to the point where they sound nothing like their original counterparts, especially Fred who sounds extremely whiny and annoying when compared to Frank Welker who gave him life and character for his personality in general, considering that in Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated, he gained character development had an obsession with traps, and was a lovable goof whereas in this show, he is a spoiled brat, and his voice makes it more obvious. It is also hypocritical, because Frank Welker is still in this show, and was a missed opportunity for him to reprise his role as Fred, but is instead voicing William Jones, Fred's father. This is also indeed comparable to when they replaced all of the original voice actors in the 2019 version of The Lion King except for James Earl Jones as Mufasa.
  8. Shockingly bland soundtrack that sounds like stock music, and rarely has the same eerie atmosphere as the older iterations of Scooby-Doo has, since it sounds like music from every other adult animated show out there like Family Guy and Rick and Morty, but worse by comparison.
  9. It tries way too hard to be hip and trendy with the 2020's audience, such as having mobile phones and memes, but it fails, due to most of them being poorly implemented in the show, and they try to modernize the Scooby-Doo franchise more fashionably, but it fails to the point where it doesn't feel like the same series anymore, since all of the material is so modernized, that nothing in this show feels like Scooby-Doo and instead, like a generic unfunny Murdoch Mysteries rip-off that is animated in flash, and has the Scooby-Doo brand pasted onto it. Furthermore, if this show wasn't related to Scooby-Doo, then nothing would be different, and it'd still be the same bad show as it is now.
  10. Poor world-building. The mysteries don't have anything to do with the Scooby-Doo universe's signature premise — villains hiding their misdeeds and identities by faking supernatural events. Plus, the mystery aspect of this series is extremely flat and pale in comparison to the previous iterations of Scooby-Doo since it's rarely focused on throughout the show, and it tends to either focus on random stuff that just happens, or just do nothing at all, which is not what Scooby-Doo was all about, since the mystery element made the series so iconic in the first place, and each iteration at least focused on the Mystery, Inc. gang solving mysterious and figuring them out to see what's happening within the situation, whereas this show, the only mystery that is focused on is Velma trying to find her long lost mother, and the murder of a school girl that was revealed when her dead body fell out of the locker she was placed in after she was murdered, and that's it. While taking creative liberties with an existing setting is okay if done right, the writers behind the show don't seem to understand and appreciate what makes the Scooby-Doo universe special. Between the out-of-character behavior and the run-of-the-mill world-building, it might as well be an original show.
  11. It has no theme song, since it's just the title of the show being shaded into pure orange, and only music plays in the background, which is a major downgrade from the previous iterations since they are known for their iconic theme songs and the original Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? series theme song has become a meme at this point and is a pop culture landmark in animation history, and it's disappointing that this show decided to scrap an iconic tradition that we've gotten used to, and it didn't need to happen and was unnecessary at best.
  12. Bad First Impression. The first scene of the first episode, that episode being "Velma", showcases underaged teenage girls taking a shower in the restrooms and some of them fight with each other. They are shown to be fully naked without any clothes on and uncensored, which is not only creepy, but also pedophilic, since most of them are still in high school whose students are mostly 13-17 years old, and considering that all of them are girls by the way, it makes the writers come off as sexual predators, since they're trying to sexualize young girls. Some of them have been around for 50 years at this point, which is disrespectful to the legacy of Joseph Barbera and William Hannah, who made their shows to entertain both kids and adults, and had good intentions when it came to writing and creating their content, and this show is the complete opposite of that. Many have criticized this scene for being a bad beginning for the series and shows how creepy the writers are when it comes to shows like these and makes this show come off as not only flat, but also outright disgusting too. Granted, many other shows, such as Riverdale and other high school dramas, also used nudity and sexuality as part of the plots while also trying to keep it realistic, but even those won't go too far, and to a lesser extent, not even Riverdale.
  13. Despite Velma being a prequel to the entirety of the Scooby-Doo! series, this show has barely any impact on the latter Scooby-Doo! shows, as plots have been retconned in this show in particular with other plot elements that never even happen in later actuate Scooby-Doo! shows. You can watch any of the Scooby-Doo! shows and movies, and yes, even crappy ones such as Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! and Scooby-Doo! Return to Zombie Island, skipping Velma entirety, and anything too importune will not be missed.
  14. Since this is an adult animation, this show has lots of unnecessary swearing, while not entirely a bad thing as some shows made this funnier such as American Dad!, here it comes off as forced.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The art style and animation are pretty decent and colorful, especially the aforementioned scenes of Velma's hallucinations.
  2. The voice acting is also good, and, while not as great as Velma's previous voice actresses, Mindy Kaling did a good job voicing Velma, in which she can put her spin on Velma's voice, not just an imitation of Velma's previous voice actresses, despite replacing the original voice actors, except for Fred. Weird Al's voice performance as Dandruff Tuba is funny, and because of that, the lines that he spewed out are funny thanks to Weird Al's performance.
    • Fred's voice has also received praise due to moments where he isn't whining and also because of how hilariously it can be compared to Dennis from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, due to both being portrayed by the same guy.
  3. The concept of an origin story about Velma and the mystery gang is pretty interesting. However, its poor execution causes the show to fail.
  4. The concept of the mystery gang solving murders is also a good concept that allows them to transition into adult animation, although that is poorly handled.
  5. The only likable character in this show and one of the best parts of the show is Dandruff Tuba, despite him being a punching bag.
    • Norville can also be seen as a likable character, depending on your point of view if you get past his characterization in the show, as at least he didn’t get dumbed down into a cruel and selfish jerk like the other characters.
    • Fred is only main character whose race hasn't changed and he did receive some character development.
  6. Despite some of them being unnecessary and disturbing, the parts where Velma gets her comeuppances including the "Marching Band Sleepover" as she gets arrested for violating curfew and insulting the police while Sheriff Cogburn was driving are considered the only good parts of the show given that Velma is extremely unlikable and seeing her get her comeuppances is very satisfying. She is finally called out by Norville in episode 9, in which he points out her hypocrisy and cruelty, which is also very satisfying.
  7. The scene where Velma’s baby half-sister, Amanda attempts to poop on Velma during the season finale, while it's a bad thing, and is disgusting, feels earned, due to how unlikable Velma is in the series.
  8. The jokes that aren't sexual might be funny.

Reception

Velma had mixed reception from critics but was panned by internet users and long-time Scooby-Doo fans. The show currently has a 1.6/10 on IMDb,[1] a 39% critic score and a 7% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes,[2] and a 54 critic score and 0.5 user score on Metacritic.[3] The show is criticized for its unfunny humor and its extreme derivation from the Scooby-Doo formula that past shows in the franchise have followed and the absence of the titular character of the franchise, Scooby-Doo. Some people have even declared it to be even worse than Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! It is by far ranked even lower than High Guardian Spice and Santa Inc. and it is currently the third lowest rated TV show in IMDb history.

References

Videos

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