The Scooby-Doo franchise has had various incarnations throughout the years with each one having a different gimmick. And it all started with this one show in 1969. Although the cartoon is a tad rough around the edges it still proves to be unique. The premise was simple and one that continued in virtually every incarnation: Mystery Inc. made up of Velma, Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and their talking great Dane Scooby went around their Mystery Machine van solving mysteries involving humans disguised as monsters wherever they can.
The episodes didn’t have much in the way of complexity and followed mostly the same but enjoyably silly formula: The gang find themselves on vacated property, a monster haunts the place, the gang splits up to find clues, Shaggy and Scooby find the monster and it chases them, the gang sets a trap, the monster is captured and turns out to be a human and is arrested saying the popular phrase “And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” Each episode ended with the gang continuing on their way for more adventures. While it was repetitive it helped ease its audience in but gave a good scare with the monster once in a while. It helped the viewers immerse themselves in the mystery and draw their own conclusions as the characters drew theirs.
The animation was one of the shorter points of the show often being repetitive and unrefined. You can see the specks of lab dust on the animation with the characters and the backgrounds. The colors are well done but it does look faded. The audio is also somewhat off. The dialogue amongst the characters was often soft which was a sharp cry from the loud laugh track that often played throughout the show. The movements also felt a little rough often overshadowed by the cartoon effects and it is easy to tell where they reused the same animation.
With that said, the show had a unique charm to it. The monsters for starters had some amazingly spooky designs that even future versions of the show could not replicate. Examples of these included the Green Ghost and the Ghost Clown. The background details also gave a sense of creepiness in each episode. The show also had a good mystery in each episode and taught youngsters problem solving skills through logic and deductive reasoning.
The characters were given one-dimensional but enjoyable personalities. Velma was the team brainiac, Fred was the leader, Daphne was often clumsy and danger-prone, and Shaggy and Scooby were cowards who always loved to eat. They all had something about them that youngsters could relate to. And Scooby-Doo himself was a lovable talking dog and just as much a member of the team as his fellow humans.
Scooby Doo where are you had some rather subpar animation but it knew how to entertain its viewer with its characters and writing. It is repetitive but it provided a formula that worked back then and carried through into its subsequent enjoyable incarnations.