Earlier this week, I made a post about my impressions on The Legend of Genji, a fan-made Avatar (the one with Aang, not the blue people) comic book. The day after I discovered that project from a YouTube video, the algorithm gods decided to bless me with another fan-made piece of media.
The description of the show reads:
Set in the small town of Coolsville, OH and inspired heavily by shows like “Supernatural”, “Riverdale”, and the original “Scooby-Doo” cartoons. We enter a world where monsters are real, demons guard every crossroad, and spirits lurk in the dark.
As was advertised, Mystery Incorporated is a darker take on Scooby-Doo in the vein of Riverdale—at least that’s what everybody says. I haven’t really seen Riverdale, but from what I’ve gathered from pop culture, I think that’s a pretty accurate description.
So far, there’s only one 50-minute episode out titled “Welcome to Coolsville”. The episode starts with Fred Jones’ parents getting murdered in the middle of the night. Awakened from the commotion, he runs down to the living room to find a dark cloaked figure standing over his parent’s bodies. This begins Fred’s investigation on the occult to figure out what happened to his parents. Along the way, he meets Velma, whose mother had seen a similar figure when her father was murdered a few years back. Although skeptical towards the existence of the supernatural, Velma helps Fred with his research and they accidentally summon the Miner 49er (I already know what the porn parody name for this guy is), one of the franchise’s classic baddies.
I’ve been a fan of this franchise since forever. It was even my introduction to the mystery genre. It’s many shows and movies were a big part of my childhood, and I have very fond memories of them—even though I don’t actually remember the stories. I’ve even seen all of the live action ones except for Daphne & Velma as that movie was released way after my Scooby-Doo phase. Also, does anyone else remember “Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!”? That was a weird show.
Semi-recently, Scoob! sparked a bit of outrage among fans when the current voices of the characters in various incarnations weren’t cast in the movie. Instead, they opted to cast celebrities like Zack Efron and Amanda Seyfried, another of many spits in the face of the voice acting community. I didn’t even obther to watch that movie as it wasn’t aimed at old fand anyway. This, however, is. Mystery Incorporated was made for Scooby-Doo fans who had grown up and are now looking for a newer and darker take on the show. Suffice to say, I was excited—albeit a bit nervous.
It was okay.
It’s an fan-made show, what did you expect? The writing isn’t that great, not to mention the underwhelming script. The acting wasn’t amazing either. What’s more, it’s filled with actors, who are in their late 20s at least, playing high schoolers. The director, Dante Yore, seems to have made a few horror movies before. Though, they don’t seem to have been particularly well received—all three of them having a rating between 3 and 4 on IMDb. To show’s credit though, it’s production value is pretty good for a low budget fan-show. The camera-work isn’t the best, but individual shots look pretty darn good—you’ll see in the screenshots I took.
As I said, the writing isn’t the tightest. An one point Fred and Velma decides to read a random incantation from a demonic book just to see if any of it is real. After it results in them summoning a monster—the aforementioned Miner 49er—, only then do they decide to check what the incantation actually does. Come on, Velma. I thought you were smart!
Don’t expect any of the scenes from the trailer to actually appear in the episode and maybe even in future episodes. It’s a concept trailer, so none of the footage were actually used in the episode. One big difference you might see is that the gang doesn’t even actually get together during this episode. You know, despite being 50 minutes long.
Despite the gang not getting together, they were all in the episode. It just so happened that Daphne and Shaggy were kinda just had their own thing going on for the entirety of the 50-minute runtime. They don’t really interact with Fred and Velma. Well, there are two (incredibly cheesy) scenes near the beginning and near the end where Fred and Daphne walk pass each other and give each other the slow-mo romance look. I dunno guys, I think these two might get together.
Daphne, I think, is the weakest character of the bunch. She has a very weird, and kinda dated, popular rich girl act going on. Shaggy was the one I was most excited to meet—mostly because he’s the best character in the franchise, and also because it was suggested in the trailer that he would actually be a stoner this time. Although that wasn’t really shown in this episode, he probably is a stoner since it turns out that he’s the school’s resident dope dealer. Although he is trying to quit.
You might have noticed that I haven’t even talked about Scooby-Doo himself. That’s because, although he was there, he doesn’t actually do much. He doesn’t even talk. He really is just Shaggy’s pet dog who gets brought along every now and then. It doesn’t seem that this show is going to give Scoob too much attention. That’s probably why they didn’t have his name on the title.
Another major difference from the traditional Scooby-Doo stories is that the monsters here are real. While other installments to this franchise have also explored this idea, most monsters were still always just regular people in disguise. I mean, that’s kinda Scooby-Doo’s thing. At the end of every episode or movie, we unmask the baddie and say, “Hey, it was [insert name here] all along!”. Then they’d say, “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”
It’s even harder to watch this knowing that there’s already a fantastic entry to this franchise that fans consider to be the definitive Scooby-Doo show. That show being the aforementioned Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which I still haven’t watched in its entirety. Watching this just makes me want to revisit that show and finally watch it from beginning to end.
I don’t want to shit on fan-made projects—I mean, I just praised The Legend of Genji earlier this week—, but a live action series is just a lot harder to pull off than a comic. You can even get away with more cheesiness (which this first episode is filled with) in a comic format. Being a film medium, there’s also just a lot more that can go wrong. I actually touch on that a bit on a post I wrote about about anime adaptations—which may or may not have already been published by the time you read this post. Overall, I’m not sure I’m going to continue this series. Although, despite my problems, this episode was actually relatively painless to watch. It might actually be a fun guilty pleasure. I might have to check how enjoyable this show is with alcohol.
There’s definitely an audience for this. In fact, the comment section is filled with positive feedback, and the show’s Indiegogo campaign seems to be pretty successful too. The campaign for the second episode has already even passed it’s goal of $15,000 (although, this goal is only to produce the first 15 minutes), with that episode slated to be released on July this year. I was already going to be biased against this anyway since I’m not a fan of these type of high school shows. I’m more of a high school anime kind of guy. If you’re a fan of Scooby-Doo and you like shows like Riverdale, consider giving this show a shot. At the end of the day, it’s a show made by fans for fans—and that’s something I want to support.
Watch the first episode of Mystery Incorporated right now on YouTube.
Rating: 6.5/10, decent and watchable. Worth at least giving a shot.