Monday, April 11, 2011

What do you do here? Study? Party? Make traps?

I watched Scooby Doo as a kid,  like just about everybody born since 1970. I loved it, but looking back now, I see that it wasn't actually very good.

We're watching a lot of Scooby Doo lately. It's become a more sophisticated property than it was when I was a kid, with some continuity between movies. I was kind of half paying attention, and I mentioned that the one character in Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! looked like one from Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster, and I assumed that they had just recycled the character design, but apparently it was the same guy. Also, there's a funny scene where Shaggy, who is voiced by Casey Kasem, is broadcasting on the radio and he asks Scooby, "Hey, do you want to hear my radio voice?" and then speaks like Casey Kasem doing a Top 40 Countdown.

I was watching some episodes of the newest incarnation of the series (the tenth reboot of the series, if you can believe that) and it's really, really good.  It's smart without being cynical.  I particularly like the re-imagining of Fred as amazingly obtuse and obsessed with traps. (He subscribes to Traps Illustrated, but only for the articles.) Gary Cole is his dad, the mayor and he's just as great.  Matthew Lillard, who was Shaggy in the live action movies (a role that he was born to play) is the voice of Shaggy, and Casey Kasem, who had provided the voice Shaggy for the previous 40-odd years is the voice of Shaggy's dad.

It seems that it took some cues from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which in turn owes a debt to earlier incarnations of Scooby Doo)  in that it's mostly episodic, but there is also an overarching mystery for the season.

List of ten things that make the series great:

  1. Matthew Sweet composed the title theme.
  2. There was a character named H.P. Hatecraft, who writes Mythos stories "in order to gain access to the lucrative world of plushy monster toys" and is voiced by Jeffrey "Reanimator" Combs. His teaching assistant is named Howard E. Robertson. Harlan Ellison played himself in the same episode.
  3. It seems like the entire cast of Arrested Development is going to be on there sooner or later!
  4. Daphne's sister talks like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, complete with hoowas!
  5. There's a scene where Scooby gets in a forklift to fight off a robot dog in a scene that seems to be an homage to the power lifter fight at the end of Aliens.
  6. Fred wears his ascot even when swimming.
  7. Gary Cole is Fred's dad, and expresses his surprise with amusing exclamations, including at one point, "by Grapthar's Hammer, Fred!"
  8. The series features a super-intelligent parrot named Professor Pericles, who masterminds an escape from the pet asylum where he is being held. The same episode has Yogi Bear strapped to a gurney like Hannibal Lecter.
  9. It's a little thing, but when the lights go out when Daphne is alone in the library, she turns on her cell phone to use as a light source, which struck me as an entirely sensible thing to do.
  10. Velma's parents run a mystery museum and the exhibits are all monsters from the original series.  
"You want my autograph? Five dollars."

No comments:

Post a Comment