Episodic Reviews: Mystery Inc. 1

Of all cartoon franchises out there, Scooby-Doo has got to be one of the more interesting, spawning quite the plethora of shows since 1969 and yet still maintaining a certain charm that keeps old and new viewers alike so enthralled. And while I’ve merely glazed over the show’s more recent incarnations, I figured I’d give Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated a try.

Seriously, who else but an anime character/an American character that got its mannerisms inspired by an anime character would pose like that?

Of course, the first thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the new art style for the series. It seems as if WB’s learned their lesson after the backlash they received from Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, keeping close to the original character designs, but deviating just far enough to be considered being new and edgy… or at least as “new and edgy” as you can, being the eleventh incarnation of a series that’s now 40 years old.

… and introducing who seems to be the overall foil of the series. While a cop acting as a foil to the crew isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it at the least makes sense. The fact that his voice is none other than Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove otherwise known as Mr. Barkin from Kim Possible doesn’t exactly hurt him, either… at least in the voice acting department; when your latest live action role this year was in a direct-to-DVD sequel, I don’t really know what to say.

Yay for a non-cheesy intro! The animation on the Mystery Machine’s very chic, as far as computer-aided animation goes. Still sticks out like a sore thumb like a to-be opened drawer in a Tom & Jerry cartoon, but I like it. Also, kudos to the Durarara character intros during the opening.

Woah, Crystal Cove? Quite the ways away from Coolsville, isn’t it? Ever since A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Coolsville has acted as a common thread of sorts, linking all the iterations of the series… live action movies included! Still, I feel like this isn’t exactly a bad move and may even be brought up later in the series as a plot point of sorts.

Serious brownie points for showing all the old-school baddies from the original series. Good to know there’s at least some sort of reference to the older works besides the characters.

Very interesting move actually giving the parents something of a role in this version. This decision alone really sets the series separate from the older series, which has been constantly mocked for being a show about some meddling kids going on crazy parent-less adventures with their English speaking Great Dane.

Don’t really know exactly how to respond to this, though. What I liked about the gang is that they only shipped one of the two possible couples. Now, it’s just… ugh. I’ve always hated that in American shows, any kind of platonic relationship is near impossible. The mere fact that they had to tweak Velma’s personality (and give her hair ribbons) to fit the situation is just rubbing me the wrong way. Though, I will say that her controlling personality with Shaggy plays off interestingly with Daphne’s more timid personality with Fred.

The first clue of the series and it ends up being a blatant declaration to some kind of overarching plot for the season? It’s something new to the series, I guess, and it does finally bring the series to the 21st century in terms of storytelling in cartoons. With other series like Generator Rex and the new Ben 10 mixing in flavor of the week villains with an overarching villain, it’s a logical step for the Scooby series to take.

“He appears to be in some sort of dehydrated stasis. I don’t quite know what that means,but I’m guessing it’s temporary.”

Best. Explanation. Ever.

So, because he’s a professor, viewers are to take in every word of his techno-babble and accept that the monster didn’t kill the innocent construction workers? Hey, as long as the writing pokes fun at its own dialogue, I’ll accept it.

With the gang hanging out in malt shops and the like in the old series, it’s good to see that they keep the same kind of camaraderie up with things like trips to the neither ice cream nor frozen yogurt frozen goods shop. As nasty as it is that the shop’s owner doesn’t even know what Fruitmeir’s actually is, I’m still kinda curious as to how it would taste, myself. I’m betting on some kind of mix between a smoothie and ice, based on the sounds made while Shaggy and Scooby were eating their fill.

The remainder of the episode plays out in standard Scooby-Doo fashion, with various hints at a definite person behind the monster suit, only to have the gang realize a different person last second. It’s all the same ol’ stuff we’ve seen before, but it’s that same ol’ familiar charm that will keep this series going for at least another season or two.

Add to that the Charlie’s Angels style phone call at the end of the episode, and I think we’ve got a respectable incarnation of an old series. Though, it’s completely obvious as to who this “Mr. E” is as well as at least a brief sketch as to his motive for wanting the gang to stay out of their meddling this time around.

External Sources:
– Mystery Inc Episode 1 streaming on CN’s video page (cartoonnetwork.com)

About daemoncorps
Gabe (daemoncorps) has been writing about anime and the like since 2005, but has been babysat by it for much longer. He primarily spends his days distracting himself on twitter or writing for Fandom Post until he realizes he has a weekly webcomic (tapastic.com/series/scramblebouquet) to work on. He also just finished writing his first full-length graphic novel about unemployment (https://tapastic.com/episode/293804).

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