HBO Max has released the first two episodes of “Velma,” its adult animated prequel comedy reimagining of “Scooby-Doo” and the reaction from both critics and audiences have not been kind.
The series focuses on Velma Dinkley and the rest of Mystery Inc. before their official formation in a revisionist take. Mindy Kaling and her “The Mindy Project” collaborator Charlie Grandy are behind the project with Kaling voicing Velma in the series.
The show paints Fred (Glenn Howerton) as a lascivious airhead, Daphne (Constance Wu), who was Velma’s former pal until Daphne became ‘hot’, and Norville (Sam Richardson) before he took drugs and became ‘Shaggy’.
So far the series has scored a mere 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and a woeful 9% audience score. It’s not much better on Metacritic where it snagged a 57/100 from critics and a 1.0/10 audience score. Here’s a sampling of review quotes:
“You have to wonder, in the development of ‘Velma,’ where did everything go so horribly wrong?” – Gwen Ihnat, TheWrap
“Look past the copulating cockroaches and anatomy jokes that hinge on baby carrots, won’t you? Velma is a supernatural spoof at its most beautifully chaotic.” – Lauren Mechling, The Guardian
“It’s been done before, and much better, using unique takes on the gang that maintained their essence, so Velma is never as groundbreaking as it seems to think it is. More than that, these characters are just really unpleasant to spend time with.” – Joshua Alston, Variety
“Sporadically witty but ultimately rather tedious, the HBO Max comedy leverages more than a half-century of name equity to yield an animated prequel that’s definitely not for kids, meddling or otherwise.” – Brian Lowry, CNN
“Velma is an often funny take on the classic Scooby-Doo series with plenty of risque humor. But it’s unfortunate that most of what makes Velma funny is completely unrelated to the character who gets a starring role.” – Brittany Vincent, IGN
“A hodgepodge of ideas that never connect, especially in its humor. The comedy lands when it veers into absurdism with visual gags and everything Howerton’s Fred says. What falls flat is the frustrating meta approach it takes.” – Randy Jones, Paste Magazine
The first two episodes of “Velma” are available now with subsequent episodes coming weekly.