The New Scooby Doo Movies was the second Scooby Doo incarnation following the first ever one Scooby-Doo, Where are you! The show itself ran from 1972 to 1973 and was the only hour-long incarnation. Much like the original, it involved the mystery Inc. going around investigating what appeared to be supernatural sightings. And in some episodes the show would involve actual ghosts, monsters, and such. What each episode had in common however was a guest star. Each episode would feature either a real-life celebrity or a well known animated character to help the team solve the mystery.
One of the things that sticks out about the guest stars is that when the Mystery Inc. members sees them, they already know who these people are. This is understandable in the case of celebrities like Jonathan Winters, Dick Van Dyke, Don Adams, etc. since they are real-life famous people. But then you have the fictional characters from other TV shows like Batman and Robin and The Addams Family, which raises a lot of questions about how these characters exist in the same universe. With that being said the guest stars have legitimately entertaining roles and with each episode having a guest star never did it feel like the show was trying to sell out. And the guest stars in a sense led to the characters crossing over with other iconic properties (to varying degrees of success) in later years such as Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery and Scoobynatural.
One example of Mystery Inc. teaming up with a fictional guest star was them teaming up with Batman and Robin. It’s a very surreal pairing that happened multiple times and at even brought two of Batman’s most iconic villains Joker and Penguin into the mix (both of whom acquired a great deal of recognition through the 1966 TV show). Their mannerisms and evil plans from that show strongly transfer here, as do the mannerisms of Batman and Robin. Batman and Robin’s way of speaking on this show strongly resembles the dynamic between the Adam West and Burt Ward incarnations. This is a rather silly team-up looking back now but as a kid this was incredible. To see not only these iconic detectives teaming up and work off each other but also take on Batman’s greatest foes has a genuine charm to it that can’t be replicated.
Other episodes like having the team involved in saving Sandy Duncan’s production of Jekyll and Hyde and them being housekeepers for the Addams Family do lead to some creative, interesting, and fun moments. They would also help frame a monster in a unique way. Even with the laugh track often making it forced the show still delivers a lot of humor through the characters’ reactions to coming across the many environments they go through. The one episode guest starring Davy Jones has a uniquely colored chase song sequence that doesn’t feature Shaggy and Scooby. This is particularly shocking since previous and future chase sequences always involved these two characters.
There are sadly a couple of guest stars cast in roles that don’t often make sense. Examples of this include Dick Van Dyke as a carnival owner or having Don Adams as an exterminator. While the show has a lot of fun with including the guest stars it does sometimes come at the expense of spookiness factor even with the monsters having some interesting designs.
The New Scooby Doo Movies wasn’t as good as its predecessor. It didn’t have the same spookiness factor. But it used the guest stars in a very unique way to tell a story, give a sense of campiness, build on the camaraderie among our heroes, and still stuck to the general Scooby Doo formula. Having them interact with these various characters and in these environments also served as a precursor for the ideas of many future Scooby Doo projects. This and the fact that they are reusing this formula for the upcoming Scooby-Doo Guess Who series, still makes it relevant today.