Review: ‘Velma’ disappoints fans of Scooby-Doo franchise


On Jan. 12, the first episode of the show “Velma” was released on HBO Max. The show had 10 episodes in season 1, received many mixed reviews, and still has a high chance for a second season. “I didn’t originally plan to watch the show, but curiosity got the better of me,” Brooke Murphree said. “I was shocked watching the first episode alone.”

Editor’s note: this review contains spoilers for the show “Velma”.

Last October news hit the internet of the lovable Scooby Doo character, Velma Dinkley, gaining her own cartoon show. Immediate reactions contained awe and joy for the most part. After I watched the trailer, hope for the show went downhill, something shared by most viewers with “Velma” having a Google reviews rating of 1.3 and 7,997 reviews in total.

Since Episode 2 aired, the show had been rated as the No. 1 worst animated series on IMDB. The 10-episode show had been bad as I watched, and I won’t lie, I judged harshly. As a Scooby-Doo fan, I became moderately interested in a show showing Velma’s journey. Then I heard the reviews and saw the character designs. At that point my hopes dropped. My biggest pet peeve over the show is how my favorite gang of mystery-solvers ended up being depicted.

Starting with Velma, a main character who knows she’s the star, I can only describe her as brilliantly judgmental. Velma’s character is interesting for sure. She’s insanely smart, and she knows it. She strives to solve the story’s main plot line with determination. She’s a headstrong character who suffers from internal anxieties and doubts, not that it stops her from solving the mystery. Unlike Velma’s past, the iconic phrase of “jinkies” is an absentee of the show that I find disappointing in ways. Velma’s original character design from the Scooby-Doo franchise’s first release in 1969, is basically an introduction and representation of young girls to the arts of STEM.

Moving on to everyone’s favorite queen of style, Daphne Blake. Her appearance in the show is no surprise, seeing as her and Velma are usually seen as a duo, however within the first two or so episodes, it’s learned that the two are childhood friends and present day enemies. Kind of cliche, if you ask me, considering Daphne follows the popular girl stereotype and Velma is the freaky nerd of the school. This makes her and Fred’s relationship at the beginning of the show come off as stereotypical. Though, one similarity of our 2023 rendition of Daphne and everyone’s favorite live action version from 2002, is that she definitely has her fighting spark. It happens to be clear that having two moms played by legends like Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes, as well as her biological mother being played by Ming-Na Wen, it’s no shock that they wrote her character out fierce. My one true problem with Velma’s version of Daphne is her portrayal as a typical high school mean girl who dates the dumb jock.

Next would be Fred Jones going from a superman trap-lover who cares for others to a selfish rich boy without even the simple skill of feeding himself. His character change is something that angers me about this show. I grew up watching “Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc” and “Scooby-Doo Where Are You?” so, Fred falling behind and losing his status as the gang’s leader, feels almost like a mocking of his character. Within the show he puts up with his father’s ridicule and society’s infantilization of him with child-like fits and no idea what’s actually going on half the time. He got re-created as a total opposite of his original design and instead, transformed into a brainless jock.

Lastly, I present Shaggy, aka Norville Rogers, another slight annoyance to me. He’s the only decent character, but his existence is a little irritating. I say that because Shaggy and Scooby are one of my favorite duos, and instead of giving us Shaggy Rogers, we got Norville, an awkward teen with a crush on our main character. He’s a helpful character to Velma and gives off a modern-day hippie vibe. Not horrible really, but it’s a stray from our cowardly, not entirely helpful, snack-loving Shaggy.

However, the redesign of our favorite childhood characters is not the biggest let down to me. The biggest happened to be the fact that Scooby-Doo himself wasn’t a part of this Scooby-verse show. And, the fact that the show is Scooby-less, is the drop off the cliff, if I do say so. I definitely do understand why it’s seen as such a disappointment, to not only Scooby-Doo fans, but also to Velma Dinkley’s.