Spotlight On: Scooby-Doo! Mystery, Inc.

Scooby-Doo! Mystery, Inc. is the eleventh incarnation of Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo animated series and in my opinion, the most beautifully animated, witty, and plot-oriented of any series yet. The series ended last April after two seasons of 52 episodes total. Luckily for viewers, the show wraps up the ongoing plot and leaves us without an annoying cliffhanger. Since there have been so many versions of Scooby-Doo, what makes this one so special? Read on and find out why I think you should be watching Scooby-Doo! Mysetery, Incorporated.

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The original Scooby Gang with Cassidy Williams.

First off, we have the characters we have all come to know and love but made even better. The first few versions of Scooby-Doo gave us one-dimensional teenagers (and a dog) out to solve crime. As the years went out these 5 characters- Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and of course Scooby- have become fleshed out and individualized. Scooby and Shaggy still eat everything in sight and still often act as the bait. Fred is obsessed with traps (even hiding “Traps Illustrated” magazines under his bed) and is the leader of the group. Daphne usually finds clues and Velma almost always reveals the villain. As with previous installments, the team works together to solve mysteries but in Mystey, Inc. they have more developed personal relationships and emotional reactions to situations.

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This version of Scooby Doo shows our characters as well-rounded and hormonal teenagers.

And speaking of emotional reactions, we actually get some typical teenage behavior. Daphne and Fred couple up, as do Shaggy and Velma for a while and the four of them deal with their relationships during their mystery solving. Even Scooby-Doo gets a girlfriend named Nova. Other types of relationships are explored as well including the characters’ issues with their parents, teachers, and the local sheriff who hates how much they meddle. We also finally get a main character who isn’t white; Cassidy Williams, a sassy DJ stuck in the 70’s who helps the gang solve mysteries. Getting acquainted with the fun, mysterious, and sometimes sinister reoccurring Crystal Cove townspeople makes the show flow so much better than previous series where the group was inexplicably in various places solving random mysteries.

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The original members of Mystery Inc, whose disappearance the gang investigates.

And that brings me to another reason why this show is above and beyond any other Scooby-Doo series; the ongoing plot. Up until now, each episode in a series would have its own mystery, villain, and location. Mystery, Inc. does this too but with an underlying mystery that stretches throughout the entire series and leaves the viewer constantly wanting to know what comes next. The big mystery has to do with the disappearance of  the original Mystery Inc. from years ago. The gang soon gets caught up with the case (helped by the faceless Mr. E) and it leads to more and more intrigue. In each episode they discover more answers and more questions.

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Some of the many colorful villains from Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated including The Freak, the Manticore, and Crybaby Clown.

On top of the ongoing mystery, there are individual episode arcs as well featuring highly creative and creepy villains. After so many years of writers and animators coming up with a different villain for every episode, you would think they might run out of ideas. Thankfully, this is not the case. Mystery Inc. features a slew of original creeps and creatures that cause mayhem in the gang’s home town of Crystal Cove. Not only are the villains great, but the supporting characters are as well. Mystery Inc. often draws from pop culture with characters and plot points that spoof Vincent Price, Paula Deen, the Twilight phenomenon, and more. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc. is not just a kids show; there are numerous jokes and references that will keep adults laughing throughout.

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The animation in this show is beyond gorgeous.

If everything I’ve said so far isn’t enough to get you to check out this show then watch it simply for the animation, which is amazing. I can’t talk enough about how beautiful the show is. It uses bright neon tones to give everything an eerie quality. The attention to detail is superb, with textured backgrounds and intricate attention to even the most minor elements. Check out the video below of the show’s intro for a taste of how the animators use color and pattern to make everything come alive.

I could rave about Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc. for hours. It takes the same classic characters and spooky mysteries as the old series and revamps the formula to add layers of depth and humor that makes it fit right in with today’s technology and pop culture-based society. With clever dialogue, beautiful animation, and an awesome ongoing mystery this show managed to keep viewers hooked for all 52 episodes. It’s only a matter of time before we see another Scooby Doo revamp but  it will be hard-pressed to beat this one.