The New Scooby-Doo Movies is a show I grew up with only because it was part of the Scooby-Doo syndicated reruns. (Remember when you could watch cartoons on normal television after school before all-kids channels and parent groups putting Saturday morning out of business and local networks showed something other than talk shows and infomercials?) It was an hour-long mystery that had the gang meeting various celebrities (usually voiced by those celebrities) or other Hanna-Barbera characters–or just licensed in the case of Batman and Robin or Josie And The Pussycats. The animation was bad even by what the internet thinks is HB quality and sometimes the celebrities were doing odd things like Tim Conway being a sports coach or Don Knotts having a side gig as an exterminator. Overall the mysteries were good and the guest appearances allowed the show to do something different.
The comics did something like this with Scooby-Doo Team-Up, one of the comics I miss being able to pick up every month, but the idea hasn’t been on television until recently. On Boomerang’s streaming service (that used to be the channel for classic toons and now you can only find them on the streaming service because the lady in charge of Cartoon Network and their various projects has some odd views about cartoons and the internet) they premiered the show’s spiritual successor, no pun intended, Scooby-Doo And Guess Who, which again features the gang meeting celebrities and other Hanna-Barbera or Warner Brothers characters. The show is now starting to air on Cartoon Network and I’ve seen the first three shows. I pretty much already told you the premise so let’s get right into the review.
The three episodes that have aired on TV thus far have the gang meeting basketball player Chris Paul, fellow mystery solvers from the show The Funky Phantom, and comedienne Wanda Sykes. Scheduled to also appear are other DC superheroes (I’m guessing in this show’s style but closer to Justice League Action in personality since Wonder Woman still has her sword and shield the New 52 forced on her), singer Sia, which may be the closest anyone’s come to seeing what she looks like, and even Jaleel White portraying Steve Urkel. Now that one I’m curious about. Last time we saw him Steve had won over Laura Winslow and they were getting married. How much you want to bet the show completely forgets that. I think it’s also the first time he’s played Urkel since the show, White wanting to show he could play other roles, and has shown himself to be a good voice actor. Other celebrities will also follow but I’ve only seen the first three episodes.
The show seems to be bringing the gang back to their 60s look, which has been going on since I think Mystery, Incorporated, as they changed their look starting with the direct-to-video movies, except for Shaggy because “why mess with a classic look?” as he once asked. However, there appears to be a bit of lampshading going on, according to the trailer and Ricky Gervais’ scene in the trailer. Remember how I said the celebrities would often have odd side gigs in Scooby-Movies? Well, that includes here. I can accept Wanda Sykes wanting to volunteer in a pet store, but Chris Paul’s story is that he’s doing a charity golf tournament to help support a bowling camp for kids that he created. Why all three? Why not a charity bowling tournament? Or teaching the kids golf? It’s rather odd choices even considering the original inspiration.
The cartoon visitors really get the short end on these episodes as well. And there will be a big spoiler for the Wanda Sykes episode in this paragraph, so look for that warning. When the gang meet the Funky Phantom Crew the Crew are jerks to the Scooby gang, with the Phantom having to come up with a way to get them to work together to solve the mystery and accidentally scaring Shaggy and Scooby. That same episode has a cameo with Speed Buggy and Scooby finds it funny that a car is talking. I get the joke, but in The New Scooby-Doo Movies the gang teamed up with Speedy and his friends to solve a mystery. In the Wanda Sykes episode HERE COMES THE SPOILER:::::::::::::::::: Mr. Peebles turns into someone who hates running a pet store and wants to shut it down just to be rid of the now mute Magilla Gorilla.::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::SPOILER DONE Then again they made a Blue Falcon crossover movie that ignored that Blue Falcon and Dynomutt are real superheroes in the Scooby universe and are trying to retcon as many real supernatural elements of previous stories as they can into being more fake monsters so their level of concern about continuity is at an all-time low. (Can’t wait to see how they explain away Mystery Incorporated.) Right now I’m pretty sure Doctor Who has stronger continuity and that’s a backhanded compliment if ever I wrote one.
The animation itself is pretty good, the mysteries are fine, the stories themselves are pretty good (except for the Sykes villain reveal), and it does feel like a Scooby-Doo story, just one that takes as many liberties and lampshading moments as it can. The Scooby fan wiki (because there’s a wiki for almost everything) only lists one more episode, a Sherlock Holmes crossover, along with the list of future guest-stars where they don’t have an episode title. So I’m guessing only those four episodes are currently on the Boomerang service (another paid streaming service) while the on-demand seems to have dropped the previous episodes so I’m lucky I stumbled onto this show at just the right time. I’m not sure if I can recommend the show or not. It’s good Scooby-mysteries but something is off with the stuff around the mystery. Maybe they’ll find their footing before the season is out, with a second season already announced. You might like it so I guess check it out. I’ll still be watching. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo surprised me in the end so why not this show?