Since it debuted in 1969, Scooby-Doo! has always been about snacking, solving mysteries, snacking and unmasking phony monsters (except for a few excursions into “monsters are real” territory that are generally best forgotten). And did I mention the snacking?
But the latest entry in the mythos, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, is a different animal. While the basic foundations of the characters are unchanged, the show now has a story arc that goes beyond the monster of the week, along with a witty self-referential streak that will reward longtime Scoobyphiles for their fanaticism. And there’s also romance in the air — but it’s not between Fred and Daphne.
This Saturday, you can catch up on the new Cartoon Network series with a marathon viewing of the first eight half-hour episodes (check your local listings). You’ll learn why the adults in our young sleuths’ lives would prefer the children mind their own business, and you’ll be introduced to a shady new character, “Mr. E,” who hints at a dark fate for the last group of meddling kids to come out of Crystal Cove. In this “most haunted town in the world,” nothing is quite as it seems. If you haven’t seen Mystery Incorporated, fire up your DVRs and get ready for a wild ride in the Mystery Machine.
In other Scooby news on the horizon, Sept. 14 will see the latest direct-to-DVD release, the feature-length Camp Scare, with the same voice cast as the new TV series (longtime Fred and Scooby Frank Welker, recent Velma and Daphne voice talents Mindy Cohn and Grey DeLisle, and Matthew Lillard, who played Shaggy in the two live-action feature films and has taken over the cartoon role from the now-retired Casey Kasem).
October will bring us Curse of the Lake Monster, a live-action romp on Cartoon Network that reunites the cast of last year’s The Mystery Begins, which served as a prequel to the live-action movies of 2002 and 2004.