Back in 1979 the Scooby-Doo franchise was in a rather rough spot. While it still had fans, many were tired of seeing the same formula. With a low budget and low ratings ABC was heavily considering cancelling Scooby-Doo outright. Thus to prevent cancellation Joe Barbera introduced Scooby-Doo’s nephew, Scrappy-Doo into the mix.
The premise is still the same. The gang is going around in their van solving mysteries at all sorts of various locales. Their designs as are their personalities are still the same. From Velma’s brains, Shaggy and Scooby’s cowardice and love for food, Fred’s absent-mindedness, to Daphne’s klutziness. With all that said, these were likable characters back then and they still proved to be enjoyable all throughout the incarnation. The only difference was the inclusion of Scrappy.
Scrappy is commonly seen as a classic example of Cousin Oliver syndrome where a show adds a cute kid in the roster. The show seems to focus a lot more on Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy and not so much Daphne, Fred and Velma. And while Shaggy and Scooby are fun characters on their own and Scrappy’s courageous and feisty nature can sometimes be funny it goes on all throughout an episode and it gets old fast. What made the previous incarnations unique was that each gang member provided one unique aspect that made the team a team. Here, they cram all of Fred, Velma, and Daphne into Scrappy, which is what makes him wear thin.
The series also makes a lot of clever puns and tributes to popular feature films. Such examples include The Night Ghoul of Wonderworld, The Sorcerer’s a Menace, and Twenty-Thousand Screams Under the Sea.
With that being said Scrappy didn’t take away from the heart of the series. And to his credit he cares deeply for his fellow Mystery Inc. members (a far cry from his behavior in the live-action movie). Even though Daphne, Fred, and Velma weren’t focused on as much they still had the same likable natures. The gang still went to unique locales and the monsters still had some spooky designs and the look of the locales itself has a unique combination of the backgrounds from the original and the New Scooby Doo Movies.
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy Doo, like most 80s incarnations with Scrappy isn’t looked at nearly as fondly as the ones without. But it along with its subsequent incarnations up until a Pup Named Scooby Doo saved the franchise from extinction and without Scrappy we may have not had any other incarnations we like today.