Reviews are flying in for HBO’s adult animated comedy Velma, a spin-off of the Scooby-Doo franchise centered on Velma Dinkley, but things aren’t looking good. After the initial reactions came flooding in, Velma struggled to claim higher than a 14% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, which has since raised to a measly and oh-so-telling 18%. Among the many, many bones that Scooby-Doo fans have picked with Velma Dinkley’s solo venture, there’s a matter of representation that needs to be addressed. From what we remember of the old-school Scooby-Doo shows like Where Are You! and Mystery Incorporated — airing from 1969 to 1978 and 2010 to 2013, respectively — is that Mystery Inc. are all unique, relatable and — above all else — likeable individuals whose crime-solving misadventures have entertained youngsters for generations.
HBO’s Velma series was announced in February 2021 with the official cast announcement coming in October 2022. In this raunchy, gory, and uncensored twist on Velma’s origins, many of Mystery Inc.’s memorable gang are notably raceswapped, a decision backed by showrunner Mindy Kaling, who also voices Velma. Race isn’t the only drastic change to come from Velma, a spin-off that — in almost every way imaginable — disrespects the true biography of these pop-culture icons. In Velma reviews, call-outs and rants all across the internet, the HBO adult animation is being compared unfavorably to Mystery Incorporated, the Cartoon Network television series and eleventh incarnation of Mystery Inc. in Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo franchise. This tongue-in-cheek series became an instant hit, solidifying itself as many a Scooby-Doo fan’s favorite.