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Velma; The Selfish Show Made For No One

Scooby-Doo has been around for many years. Since its airtime back in 1969, our favorite talking canine, and his mystery solving friends, had many incarnations. From What’s New Scooby-Doo (2002), to Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated (2010), the series made its mark across history. Clearly, Warner Brothers knew what to do with the show, as numerous films, spin-offs, merchandise, and so on were made to cater to fans of the series.

However, their most recent attempt to make another Scooby-Doo spin-off really left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. Fair warning, this article will contain mentions of adult themes. If you feel uncomfortable about any of this, check out our safer content on our main site.

What Was Velma Even About?

Mindy Kaling as Velma. Image from forbes.com

Well, credit where credit’s due, the story had a pretty decent plot. Velma is the story of Velma Dinkley, and her life before Mystery Inc.. After she is framed for the murder of a local high-schooler, Velma has 24 hours to clear her name. In addition, her passion for mystery solving comes with guilt-induced hallucinations, all due to her mother disappearing when she was younger.

With a killer on the loose, and a number of suspects to point at, can Velma clear her name, or will she succumb to the sheer pressure of her past? And just what is Project S.C.O.O.B.I.? Sounds like a pretty decent plot, even for a Scooby-Doo spin-off, right? However, I digress. Despite the interesting, mature twist on the original series, it is vastly overlooked by the writing, pacing, and overall depiction of the show’s characters.

No Bars Back! What Were They Thinking?

Mindy Kaling as Velma. Image from insider.com

Believe it or not, Velma didn’t even receive any pushback from the producers of HBO, let alone Warner. It started two years ago, when this was originally pitched to the heads of Warner, but the company rejected the series, out of fear of backlash. However, now back in January, According to earlier interviews with Mindy Kaling (Voice of Velma), the series received all green lights, and was given full support from HBO, themselves. Even earlier concept art shows that Mystery Inc would’ve gotten a far different design than the ones we got today.

Secondly, it was also revealed that Velma’s character design would be matched with the appearance of Mindy, herself. Now, while this didn’t seem that bad, it gets worse from there, believe me.

Racism, Oversexuality, And The Destruction Of Fred

(Left ot Right) Norville, Velma, Fred, and Daphne. Image from xfire.com

It goes without saying that HBO’s Velma practically destroyed the very name of Scooby-Doo. Keep in mind, race-swapping is never a bad thing (Scoob’s (2020) Velma being a fine example), so long as the story and characters do well, and stick to an agenda. That being said, this show did NONE of that. Aside from the race-swap, the characters’ personalities are horrible:

  • Velma is racist, and often comments on how- pardon my French- ‘rich white people’ have it easy in life. She is portrayed as South Asian-American, and is modeled after Mindy Kaling. Viewers of the series have even commented that this could be considered Kaling’s self-insert, given the sheer volume of racial topics, and TV tropes.
  • Shaggy is not only now called by his “official” name of Norville, and race-swapped to biracial, but his running gag is consistently talking about drug use, and his denial of said use. Although he retained his eating habits, he’s no longer the cowardly “Shaggy” we all knew.
  • Daphne is now East Asian-American, and is the popular girl in school. She has a relationship with Velma, and sells drugs, in order to hire a detective and locate her biological parents.
  • And, last but not least, Fred Jones. Fred is horribly mistreated by the show. Reduced to an idiot, he became the butt of every joke, degraded about his manhood, and is incapable of cutting his own food. To top it all off, he has not only parental issues, but anger management problems as well.
  • There is no Scooby-Doo.

The show’s writing is also downright terrible. The cast of characters are minors, yet are heavily sexualized within the first episode. Secondly, almost every topic within the series either talks about politics, pop culture references, and gender norms.

Taking into consideration how each character is portrayed, and the lack of Scooby-Doo, it can be deduced that neither HBO, nor its producers really cared about how the series would be received by general audiences.

Who Was Velma Even Made For?

Image from adweek.com

My answer: absolutely no one. This show was solely made, it seems, to be more of a vent from Mindy Kaling about society and her interesting past. To make matters worse, HBO even made separate attempts to promote this show on Twitter. Despite this, the comments weren’t disabled, and the internet did not hold back on the insults. From degrading the show’s pacing to the downright character of Velma, herself, the comments showed no mercy for the HBO series.

Even many YouTubers made comparisons of Velma to the likes of Puss In Boots: The Last Wish (2022), noting that even a Shrek spin-off has better quality in everything it does. Needless to say, with Velma eventually coming to an end for their first season, only time- and a little wishful thinking- will tell if the show won’t have anymore runtime.

What’s your opinion on Velma? Do you think the show will have a season 2? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out our Facebook page, as we keep our readers up-to-date on the latest happenings. As always, Stay Geeky!

N.B. We made an update regarding Shaggy’s “official” name of Norville now being used thanks to feedback provided by our readers.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Softpaw

    February 9, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    The article was spot on except for one thing. Shaggy was ALWAYS named Norville, Shaggy is a nickname Norville is his actual first name.

  2. Ian K Loren

    February 10, 2023 at 2:48 am

    Tiny thing: Shaggy is Not renamed “Norville” that’s actually his Government name/Name he was Born with.This writer should have did a bit more research

    • Courtney Thomas

      February 12, 2023 at 7:15 am

      Actually no the writer didn’t get it wrong, you just lack reading comprehension skills. They said “shaggy now goes by his official name “norville”. They never said he changes his name, they just said he’s now going by what his official name always has been instead of his nickname.

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