Friday, December 18, 2015

Be Cool, Scooby Doo...

Let's have a show of hands...has anybody seen the most recent revival of the Scooby Doo franchise? It's a series titled "Be Cool, Scooby Doo" and it airs in the United States on Cartoon Network. It debuted back on October 4th in the United Kingdom and Ireland and then October 5th in America and then on October 8th in Canada. It's the 12th incarnation of the Scooby franchise and much like the last couple of previous incarnations it offers something a bit different than the franchise's original premise. In this particular series the gang's all here: Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma, and Daphne...as is the Mystery Machine. The characters have all been redesigned and some of the character traits have been altered slightly. 

Fred's returned to being the all-American leader rather than being the clueless, oblivious moron that recent incarnations have cast him as being even though there are moments that see Fred revert to his clueless demeanor. Daphne, this time around, is portrayed as the goofy character...and that only adds to the mix given that Shaggy and Scooby remain goofy, nervous, frightened, and hungry. Velma is the one constant...although in this series the character gets a different voice actress, Kate Micucci. The previous voice actress, Mindy Cohn, continues to voice Velma in the direct-to-DVD animated projects and the video games but she doesn't reprise the role in this series. Matthew Lillard returns as the voice of Shaggy. Grey Griffin (formerly billed as Grey DeLisle) is once more on hand as Daphne...and the vocal God, Frank Welker, is on hand as Fred and Scooby.

Be on the lookout for monsters and villains that carry similarities with iconic monsters and villains from past episodes. In "All Paws on Deck" the gang is terrorized by a monster resembling the Beast from a late '70s episode titled "The Beast is Awake in Bottomless Lake". In the 2015 episode Velma has hydrophobia...something that isn't consistent with her history...for in several episodes in the franchise's history she clearly enjoyed being in large bodies of water and scuba-diving and so the need for Velma's hydrophobia is a plot-device. In addition to having similar looking monsters and villains there is the inclusion of the much iconic chase scene...something that appeared in the classic episodes (1969-1973) and in some of the other installments but mostly the chase scenes are identified as a hallmark of the original programs...each episode features a chase scene.

The publicity surrounding this series hyped the existence of 26 half hour episodes already completed...14 of those 26 have since aired on Cartoon Network. The last first-run episode to air occurred on October 28th. As you can see it's a daily series...having aired half of season 1 in a month's time span already. Ordinarily this is why a 13 episode half-season airs weekly for 13 weeks...that way it gives people plenty of time to get used to the series, enables promoters to advertise and hype the series, or for potential audiences to discover it during the 13 week rerun cycle. An episode of the series aired on-line on October 30th...but according to on-line sources it shouldn't have aired and it has since been removed (an episode titled "If You Can't Scooby Doo the Time, Don't Scooby Doo the Crime"). 

It has never, to date, aired on television yet but you can search for it on-line...I'm sure it's available for viewing somewhere out there. 

On December 10th a first-run episode finally emerged...titled "Scary Christmas". Technically this is episode 15 of the 26 that have already been completed (episode 14 has never aired) but in broadcast chronology the December 10th airing is listed as episode 14. The series is set to debut in other parts of the world on December 28th and so if it isn't airing locally in your geographic's then chances are it'll begin airing later this month.

Once I'm able to catch a full episode for myself I'll be a bit more detailed in my opinions. At the moment I'm going by the clips that have been posted on YouTube and those are just too brief to form an educated opinion. I could be like so many others and just say "yuck! ick! I hate it, hate it!!!" or "these can't compare to the originals...I hate it!!". I've never been that sort of reviewer and so I'll gather my thoughts and post more detailed about this series at a future date. Who knows, by that time, a DVD of Season 1 may be available for Amazon purchase!?!!

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