The Reimagining of Velma

How an adult cartoon of Scooby Doo completely forgot the beloved franchise

The Reimagining of Velma

HBOMax attempted to reinvent the classic cartoon known as Scooby Doo but failed to remember one key player: Scooby Doo himself. Now this most likely wouldn’t be a problem if the characters stayed true to their personalities that made audiences fall in love with them since the late 60s, but this is sadly not the case. Instead, the rated R cartoon is considered a complete disgrace by many viewers, so much so that it became the worst rated animated show on IMDb. 


Produced and starring Mindy Kaling, Velma sounds like a great idea on paper. It is essentially a pre-Mystery Inc prequel that stars the sleuths in high school and includes racial diversity with not just Velma being South Asian but Shaggy (going by his real name Norville in the show) as Black and Daphne as Asian. The central mystery is intriguing at first too with a popular cheerleader being found dead in Velma’s locker with her brain cut out, thus framing Velma for the murder. Not only that, but it does explore the sexuality of Velma which has always been a hot topic for decades as many people support  her as a lesbian. This all sounds great, right? Well where previous iterations have been successful, Velma falls short by having extremely different motivations and characteristics that make them virtually unrecognizable.


 Daphne is a violent bully, Fred is a self absorbed jerk who lacks any real charm or smidge of intelligence, Shaggy sells drugs and a kidney on the black market, and Velma can be just as cruel and judgemental as Daphne. This could all be acceptable if there was character development but there’s virtually none and it’s insulting to the classic, beloved detectives that people grew up in. The audience can’t love these characters because there’s nothing to root for. Not only that, but the overwhelming amount of nudity, violence, and plot holes ultimately make no sense and can leave the viewer with a sour taste in his mouth. Now, there is nothing wrong with there being an adult version of Scooby Doo but HBOMax’s Velma takes it too far. 


Honestly, this show could be enjoyable and compelling if it centered around an original plot and characters because at many times, it felt like I was watching a completely different cartoon. However, because these characters are so special to many people of all ages, it  doesn’t seem to work well. I could barely make it through the first episode due to how cringeworthy the material is, nostalgia aside. The jokes fall flat and can be extremely shallow and the timeline is confusing as well. However, it is possible to make mature versions of cartoons that are not only popular but make sense. 


HBOMax actually has one of its own, Harley Quinn, which is a fun and camp interpretation of the villain and DC Universe that still has violence a woman’s journey of self discovery. However, the show stays true to its original source material and fanbase unlike Velma.


 If you truly are searching for a mature version of Scooby Doo, the Cartoon Network Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated series is an excellent adaptation that has relevant pop culture moments and fun references to previous iterations but stays true to the characters quirks while also delving deeper into their identities and relationships with each other. Additionally, it has an overarching plot woven throughout the two seasons that makes sense but also keeps the audience on their toes with the amount of plot twists and terror that’s present. 

Ultimately, when networks decide to reinvent a well known show, there is a fine line to obey. No reboot should be an exact copy of its original but it also shouldn’t completely reject it as well.