HBO Max has just released a reimagined version of the popular children’s show, Scooby-Doo. Although related to the Hanna-Barbera original, it is marketed as “adult” and features severed limbs, one of the main characters going to a strip club with her father, and two teenage boys graduating at their high school.
The results were panned by viewers and critics alike. It currently holds a 50 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a more bleak 9 percent from fans. The series is broadcast on the cable channel broadcast service. In a sign of the upcoming negativity, the company has suspended comments on the trailer on YouTube.
The YouTube description of the trailer hints at how this new series differs significantly from “Scooby-Doo” versions before by describing it as “adult” and “colorful”: From Velma Dinkley, the nameless and irreverent brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang. An original and humorous spin revealing the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most devoted puzzle-solvers.”
Gwen Ehnat, film critic for The Wrap, said, “Based on long-running speculation about [Velma’s] nationality.”
But she added, “You have to wonder, in the development of ‘Velma,’ where did things go so wrong?” Ehnat complained of “pointless nudity, gratuitous violence and gore”. In fact, the show’s first episode begins with a high school girl being brutally murdered and “her brains cut out from her bleeding corpse.”
Variety also wanted to like the show’s modern tendencies, praising the importance of gay teen identity in Velma. But, in the end, critic Joshua Alston concluded, “These characters are genuinely unpleasant to spend time with, and he starts at the top with Velma, whose selfish and misanthropic tendencies are not blunted by her moments of vulnerability.”
On Twitter, Father Miller, a Catholic priest, noted this moment in the show’s trailer:
Another Twitter user wondered, “WTF going on” to a scene where one character’s leg is brutally cut off and blood squirts all over the place.
The show’s contempt is shown left and right. Popular Twitter handle “Bad Writing Takes” panned the series, saying, “Velma…not very good. It reads like a right-wing YouTuber’s clumsy understanding of what a ‘variety’ show is.”
Although the critics’ reviews are poor, the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes was even worse with most giving it half a star (out of five). One viewer called it “extremely offensive to the Scooby-Doo fanbase”. Another noted, “So current year. This culture is so bad.” Shen Pei concluded, “It’s every horrible thing about modern Hollywood wrapped up in a horrible reboot that no one asked for.”
The show is executive produced by and stars “Office” alum Mindy Kaling. On Twitter, she described her new experience as “hilarious” and “scary sometimes”. in December, Kaling seemed to show some hesitation about the enduring popularity of “The Office”, saying that most of the characters would be “canceled” today. She added that she may never introduce the program to her children.