04 January 2014

DVD Season Set Review: "What's New, Scooby-Doo?": The Complete First Season

Rated: TV-Y7 (US) / G (Canada)
Starring: Frank Welker, Casey Kasem, and Grey DeLisle
Released: September 14, 2002 - March 22, 2003 (TV premieres) / February 20, 2007 (DVD)
Synopsis: The Mystery, Inc., gang is back in town! Scooby-Doo and his human pals Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred once again travel the countryside--and the world!--solving mysteries wherever they can find them.  Whether it's the supposed ghost of a deceased baseball player, a sea monster attacking a resort community, or evil clones of themselves that are hitting their hometown, it's up to "those meddling kids" and their insane Great Dane to find the culprit!
Features the voices of Frank Welker and Casey Kasem, who lent their voices to the original cartoons, as well as guest appearances by singer Lindsay Pagano, baseball player Mike Piazza, and *NSYNC's J.C. Chasez.

Artistic Merit

Plots: 4/5
Of course, the plot is generally the same in every episode, but it's still entertaining nonetheless.  This takes everything that was great about the original cartoons, eliminates everything that ruined them in their later years, and places them in a modern setting.  Fans of the old-school favorite who still despise shark-jumper Scrappy to this day will find plenty to love about this show.

Animation: 5/5
With all of the recent animated TV shows that have succumbed to the influence of anime, it's nice to see a fairly new cartoon that features traditional-style, well-done, American animation.  I believe Hanna and Barbera would approve.

Voice Work: 5/5
Of course, when you have two of the original voices, you know it's going to be great, right? Well, it's more than just that; Frank Welker--who originally only voiced Fred as well as "additional" characters--does great as Scooby.  (Don Messick, who originally voiced the animated Great Dane, died years prior to this show airing.) The other voice actors and actresses did great, especially Grey DeLisle, who voiced both Daphne and other random characters, yet made each voice sound different.

Soundtrack: 3.5/5
This is where it went down a bit for me.  The theme music is great; however, though most of the chase scene music is good, one or two songs were rather annoying.  The movie-esque soundtrack is adequate, but nothing special.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Scooby and friends use determination, intelligence, deductive thinking, and teamwork to solve every case.  They also put themselves in dangerous situations in order to save others in the group.  Additionally, the moral of pretty much every episode is: Crime doesn't pay!

Sex: 4.5/5
Nothing worse than a bit of kissing and flirting.

Nudity: 4/5
Some episodes show women--including Daphne--in bikinis or bare-midriff outfits.  Shirtless guys are also seen a time or two.

Language: 4.75/5
Occasional name-calling.

Violence: 3.5/5
Of course there's no blood or gore, right? Still, what would the adventures of Scooby and friends be without chase scenes? Not only that, but, as mentioned above, the gang--and others--are placed in perilous situations.  (Spoiler: Nobody dies.) Also present is cartoony action, mostly from the likes of Shaggy and Scooby.

Drugs: 5/5

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2/5
Though every monster ends up being nothing more than someone in a suit, some of the "fakes" sound and/or look quite scary at times.  Even I was surprised at how frightening a few of them were.  If you have kids who are easily scared, you might want to screen this before showing it to them.  To most teens and adults, though, it'd be nothing.

Other Negative Elements: 4/5
A bit of crude humor--belching and such--is present.  Also, the gang holds a séance, though it is clearly shown to be a fake.

Final Score: 4.25/5
Me and Scooby-Doo have an interesting history.  I discovered it thanks to my brother-in-law just before graduating from fourth grade, and ended up being a huge fan of it for the next two years.  Though my obsession with it subsided, I still liked it, and watched some episodes of the cartoon--including ones from this series--and a few of the movies--mostly the live-action ones--over the next several years.  While watching this first season, though I recalled some parts of a select few episodes, I was amazed at how new it all seemed to me.  Maybe it's because I understand it better than I did when I was a kid; regardless, I really enjoyed watching this.

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