Jinkies! It’s an Honest Review of the New Show “Velma”!

Luz Analitis, Writer

The reputation for the new adult animated TV show “Velma” has far preceded itself. Before the show even aired, a dark cloud of criticism and controversy loomed around its premier. As someone who frequents TikTok, it was difficult to avoid people voicing their preconceived notions of this show on the app. After hearing a few thoughts though, I really wanted to watch the show for myself with an open mind in order to form my own opinions on it. With this said, I have watched the first four episodes so that either you do no’t have to, or at least you can know what you are getting yourself into if you do.

“Velma” is a loose interpretation of the classic “Scooby-Doo” show and its loveable characters. I say loose because “Velma” vastly changes key characteristics of both the cast and general feel of the original show. If you want to know more about these changes and are curious about my thoughts on them, please check out my opinion piece on this topic that is also featured in this issue of the Independent. I have too many thoughts regarding those changes to be able to squeeze them into this one article.

To very briefly summarize, this show is targeted toward adults and follows the titular gang in their high school years on a comedic, murder-mystery plot. In theory, that sounds like an intriguing premise. When I first learned that the 2002 live action “Scooby-Doo” film was originally intended by screenwriter, James Gunn, to have more adult humor and dark tones, I have since been hoping and dreaming to have that adaptation realized. “Velma” on the other hand took those hopes and dreams, crushed them and then swiftly threw them in the trash.

Before I get into why those hopes and dreams are now in the trash, I do want to sprinkle some positivity into this review. Again, on paper, I appreciate the premise of the show. I love a good murder-mystery story that includes some raunchy adult humor. And like a lot of people, I have been a “Scooby-Doo” fan since I was a kid, so why not revamp it in a way to now enjoy as an adult?! There was room for a lot of opportunity here, and I respect the guts it takes as a creator and writer to try to make something of your own, especially when it comes to reboots/remakes. Although in my opinion they rarely work out, I can say I at least give them an “A” for effort. I also have to admit that within the first two episodes, the show got a few chuckles out of me. I certainly did not let out any frequent or hearty laughter, but a few visual gags and jokes did make me laugh in the way when you expel a puff of air from your nostrils.

With that out of the way, let’s get into some of the issues I have with the show. Besides the changes as mentioned before, my biggest problem with the show was its comedic writing. “Velma”’s main approach at humor is geared toward hyper-wokeness and cancel-culture attitudes. It’s jam-packed with jokes about toxic-masculinity, white privilege, stereotyping, sexuality, feminism, meta-humor, etc. Which yes, there’s humor to be found in those issues, and sometimes comedy is a good way to address some of these serious societal problems. Unfortunately this show does it in a way that is so in-your-face that it loses all comedic merit. It feels like at the end of each joke, the writer is saying, ‘This is a funny joke. We are so woke. Please laugh at it!’, and that they are begging the viewer to see how coolly self aware they are. However, for this reason, the jokes have a completely adverse effect. Maybe if it was done in clever and subtle ways, the jokes would land better but they just fell totally flat to me. For example, episodes three and four are so full of these cringey jokes that they did not get a single chuckle out of me. Not even a quick nasal exhale.

This is all really a shame because the actual murder-mystery plot is kind of interesting. It involves Velma and the gang trying to catch a serial killer going around murdering students from Coolsville High. Alongside this, Velma is trying to solve the disappearance of her mom, while Daphne tries to find out more about her birth parents (she is adopted in the show). Again, I really enjoy mystery shows and movies, so these plotlines had the potential to be pretty intriguing to me. Unfortunately, I find that the plot is totally overshadowed by the poor writing of the show, as well as the questionable changes they made to the beloved “Scooby-Doo” characters.

To kind of back up everything I have said so far, I’d like to note that “Velma” as of January 25, 2023 has a 6% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 1.3 / 10 rating on IMDb. If I had to give it a personal rating, I’d give it a generous 1.5 / 5 star rating. 

Two new episodes are released every Thursday on HBO Max, and the series has ten episodes total. However after watching the first four, I will not be continuing or finishing this series, and it’s no mystery as to why.