It’s hard to believe that Scooby-Doo and Mystery Incorporated have been unmasking ghosts and monsters for 52 years.
Now, The CW is taking an hour of primetime for a much-deserved tribute to the Scooby gang with “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You Now?” a special that somehow manages to be both stupid and entertaining at the same time.
The premise of the special is that Fred (voiced by Frank Welker), Daphne (Grey Griffin), Velma (Kate Micucci), Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) are actually actors who have been playing the characters we’ve been watching all these years. Warner Bros. brings them together for a reunion special, although as Velma says, it’s not really a reunion when they’ve never really been apart. Janel Parrish serves as host, reminiscing with the gang about their screen tests and their favorite episodes. But when a new version of the classic Snow Ghost appears at the studio, the gang finds themselves trying to solve a mystery for real. Interspersed with clips of the reunion are interviews with historians, animators, producers and actors sharing tidbits about the show and the characters.
The special is clearly meant for adults who grew up watching Scooby-Doo and not current young fans, as the “reunion” is totally tongue-in-cheek. The hour takes aim at many of the sillier conventions of the various Scooby-Doo series, including Velma losing her glasses, Fred’s elaborate traps and the ridiculous unnecessary laugh track. The Scooby crew even gets in a few shots at TV reunions and Warner Bros. itself. But the concept of the gang actually being actors is just plain stupid. It does allow a few good Hollywood jokes, but the reunion would’ve worked just fine with the actual characters. And the new mystery is almost painful to watch with some way too talented people doing some pretty embarrassing things. Though I did laugh at some of the humor, I found myself cringing much more often.
The special is not a total loss as we learn some interesting facts about how the show and characters came together. And it’s never a bad thing to relive the classic ghosts and monsters we all know and love. So despite its many comedic misfires, if you grew up on Scooby-Doo, this special is still a fairly entertaining must-see. But I am holding out hope that sometime in the future, Scooby and the gang will get the quality documentary they deserve.
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You Now?” airs at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, on The CW.
Now, allow me to share a quick few words about the passing of Peter Scolari. I was a huge fan of Scolari’s as his Michael Harris on “Newhart” was one of my favorite ‘80s TV characters. I was also an avid watcher of “Bosom Buddies” reruns and even though Tom Hanks was the bigger name, I always felt Scolari was the true reason to watch. The huge outpouring of condolences from those who worked with him show what an incredible talent he was. He will be sorely missed.
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for HD Media. Contact her at email@example.com.