Warner Home Video has done the right thing with the new DVD release, Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated – Season One, Part 2. The first half of this rebooted Scooby-Doo cartoon series was parceled out at four episodes at a time over the course of three DVD volumes. This new release consists of the final fourteen episodes of the season on two DVDs. Short of a full, complete season set, this is the way to do it. Some hardcore fans have carped about various changes made to the classic characters in this new incarnation – such as romantic involvement between Fred and Daphne as well as Shaggy and Velma. Maybe if I was a hardcore fan, I would care. But honestly, I don’t see these developments as a problem for Mystery Incorporated.
Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their talking canine pal Scooby-Doo live in the town of Crystal Cove. This town capitalizes on its reputation as “The Most Hauntedest Place on Earth.” The spooky goings-on are the town’s financial bread and butter, roping in curious tourists from all over. Scooby and company, collectively known as Mystery Incorporated, are super sleuths with a habit of solving Crystal Cove’s various mysteries. This has the side effect of reducing the town’s lucrative tourist industry. Distinguishing Mystery Incorporated from previous Scooby-Doo series, there is a story arc that develops throughout the series. The team receives messages and clues about the curse of Crystal Cove from the unknown, mysterious presence known only as “Mr. E.”
While all of this transpires, Fred and Daphne’s relationship becomes quite serious, climaxing with the couple becoming engaged. Shaggy and Velma carry on a rocky relationship, with Shaggy’s loyalty to Scooby coming between them. This particular story thread seems to especially enrage some of longtime Scooby fanatics. If you’ve been on the fence about Mystery Incoporated, consider yourself warned if this sounds like a deal breaker. Regardless of on-going romances and Mr. E’s involvement, most of these episodes feature engaging stories in their own right.
Voicing Shaggy is none other than the character’s live action counterpart in the two theatrical Scooby films, Matthew Lillard. He was perfect for the movies and his voice work here is similarly effective. The Facts of Life’s Mindy Cohn continues to voice Velma, as she has in previous incarnations of the series. Veteran voice actor Frank Welker, one of the most successful voices in the industry, continues to play Fred. Welker was the very first actor to voice Fred on 1969’s Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. Grey DeLisle continues to voice Daphne, a role she first took on in 2001’s direct-to-video animated feature Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase. The supporting voice cast includes such notable actors as Gary Cole, Vivica A. Fox, Lewis Black, and Casey Kasem.
Cartoon Network is scheduled to begin airing the second season this May, so now’s the time to get all caught up with Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated – Season 1, Part 2. It looks a little different from Scooby shows of the past, but the consistently good storytelling and engaging voice acting keep it very entertaining.