Did the creators behind the latest Scooby-Doo adventure ever think about the repercussions of what would happen if they tried to venture into the adult genre? James Gunn tried and failed when he wrote the 2002 film Scooby-Doo. While that film wasn’t necessarily bad, it did have some adult jokes, despite it being a family-friendly feature. Gunn said in 2017 on Facebook that there was an R-rated version of the film with Sarah Michelle Gellar revealing that there was a kiss scene between Daphne and Velma, but it didn’t the final movie. Also, Fred was meant to be gay, but it got cut, according to Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy.
Now, you might be wondering how this relates to the Velma series. Like the original script for Scooby-Doo, Velma dives into the more adult aspect of the Scooby-Doo franchise, but it misses the mark.
The series’s first episode hit Binge here in Australia yesterday. We forgot the show was going to drop until we saw it on our Binge home page. While it wasn’t on our must-watch list, we had to check it out due to our admiration for the mystery genre. Anyway, let’s begin with the race swapping.
There’s no harm in race-swapping the characters as it opens more possibilities storyline-wise. This is the same thing that the team behind Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did with April O’Neil. She went from Caucasian to African-American. In Velma, the titular character is Indian-American, like voice actress Mindy Kaling. Daphne is Asian-American like her portrayer Constance Wu and Shaggy, known by his first name Norville in the show, is African-American, like his voice actor Sam Richardson. The only character’s ethnicity that remains the same is Fred, who is caucasian and voiced by Glenn Howerton.
The characters have an odd dynamic. Norville is in love with Velma while she has a crush on Fred, who used to date Daphne, who has a complex history with Velma. Yeah, it’s messy, which is one of the reasons why some of the humour falls flat. Mindy Kaling isn’t all that funny. Also, there’s too much between the characters at one time.
Fred is the popular dude who is as dumb as a box of rocks. Velma is the brain as she always is and is oblivious that Norville has a crush on her. Daphne is the bitchy, slutty popular girl who wants to have sex with Fred. Norville is the group journalist and isn’t scared of anything like the previous incarnation.
The adult jokes fall flat and aren’t all that funny. There is plenty of nudity in the first few scenes, but you don’t see anything.
We will be tuning in for the second episode next week, but we’re not saying it will improve.
Velma airs Thursdays on Binge (in Australia) and on HBO Max in the US on Wednesdays, where it drops double episodes.