Review: Jinkies! Another bad reboot

HBOMax’s Velma has been criticized for its forced representation and disgusting jokes



HBO’s new spin on the Scooby Doo franchise is a messy misrepresentation of the classic characters

Beth Brackmann, Contributing Writer

With the first season being released on January 12 of this year, HBOMax’s new show “Velma” by Mindy Kaling has been met with a very poor reception. With a 42% on Rotten Tomatoes and 1.4 on IMDB. Is this show worth the backlash? With its offensive jokes and topics to the unneeded and unwanted character changes, Velma’s poor reception is absolutely valid.

The show follows the story of Velma Dinkley as she tries to find out what happened to her missing mother along with the numerous murders of local girls, with herself being questioned in the murders. 

The show got a decent amount of media buzz for changing a few key character’s races (Velma and Shaggy), which by itself would not be an issue. The main problem with this show is not that the races of the characters have changed, but the fact that they are no longer themselves. This show has some of the most unlikable characters on TV. Not a single character in this show has a redeemable quality about them. They all act like so bland, it’s hard to relate or care about any of them. 

In addition to bland personalities, these characters look nothing like their original counterparts. This show pretty much scrapped everything about each of the characters. The main example of this is Shaggy, or Norville as they call him in the show. Making his character black isn’t a problem but when you design him to be the most stereotypical “black guy” design, rather than being representation, it comes off as pandering and ignorant. The character has additionally been met with criticism noting that the stereotypical portrayal of a black man leaves a bad taste in viewers’ mouths.  

The main draw of the original show, and the reason the Scooby Doo franchise is so big, is because of its main character Scooby-Doo. Due to the adult nature of “Velma”, Scooby was left out. According to “Velma” creator Charlie Grandy, “It felt like what made it a kids’ show was Scooby-Doo.” 

Though the focus of the show is on Velma, taking Scooby out takes away the appeal of the show for older Scooby-Doo fans. Along with that fact that this is the only Scooby-Doo reboot out of the dozens that doesn’t feature him in it.

The show’s main issue is that it attempts to appeal to too many people. It is an “adult” show but portrays itself with little seriousness, it has black characters but they’re more like caricatures, and its jokes are childish at best, pandering and simply unfunny at worst.

There are few good things to say about the show other than the animation is passable. The expressions on characters are good and this show had a good set up, they’re just executing it poorly. If they had the right writers, a stronger story line and a more defined identity, this show could have been okay.