I’ve discussed the Scooby-Doo franchise extensively on this blog. It’s had a couple of misses over the course of almost 50 years but has had far more hits. And this list takes a look at the Top 5 Scooby-Doo incarnations.
5. What’s New, Scooby-Doo?
This is at the bottom of the list because at the end of it all it didn’t do much beyond going back to the show’s roots just with a modern edge. However, the show had good roots and for the most part they transfer nicely here. It helped introduce many youngsters (including myself) to the franchise and encouraged some to look at and appreciate the earlier incarnations as well.
4. The New Scooby-Doo Movies
The second Scooby-Doo incarnation had a weird gimmick by having the gang be joined by either celebrities or well-known fictional characters in solving their mysteries. However cartoon history has taught us that, weirdness has often led to brilliance and this show is an example of that. Some of the guest stars were in scenarios that didn’t make much sense and they sometimes came at the price of the spookiness factor, but the voice actors (in case of the celebrities often done by the very same people they are portraying) gave the guest stars a likable life, helped build on the show’s humor, give a unique way of storytelling, and build a nice sense of friendship. Not only did this incarnation serve as a precursor for several future properties crossing over with the franchise but also there is the fact the show has gone back to this formula as of this year.
3. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
Junior-fying popular cartoon characters seemed to be a trend for a while didn’t it? Scooby-Doo’s attempt to do so gave way to a parody-like nature and fourth wall breaking that helped give rise to the style of popular 90s cartoons including Tiny Toons and Animaniacs. The animation and storytelling were used in such a way that it was allowed to play around with the tropes and characters that the original show provided. Each episode also had unique chase music, which were catchy and funnily danced to by the characters. This show introduced Red Herring, whose name was a clever pun and led to a fun running gag with Fred often seeing him as the culprit. Considering that they recently released a conclusion movie to 1985’s The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo with a grown-up Flim Flam I wouldn’t mind seeing a grown-up Red Herring in the future.
2. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Ah where it all began. The animation was certainly rough around the edges but it did not prevent the show from giving us something special. The formula was the same for each episode but it was an enjoyable formula. The characters were one-dimensional but likable through and through. These aspects worked to the advantage of the show as it allowed viewers to immerse themselves in the mystery and help draw their own conclusions from the findings as the gang found theirs. In doing so it helped teach problem-solving skills through logic and deductive reasoning. The designs of the monsters have some amazingly spooky designs and the background colors did a good job of giving a sense of creepiness. These are aspects that none of the other shows have been able to replicate to the same degree no matter how good they may be.
1. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
This show broke the mold of the shows. It had the same fun with the goofy characters and the monster of the week but also layered it with over-arching storylines that would often build up and develop the characters. The theme song and the animation are far more different from the previous renditions with a more eerie look to it, which helped signify the over-arching storylines that involved the gang going into the unknown. And their searches often resulted in some major revelations leading to some emotional moments with the gang and even kill some characters off. The series ends on a deep note and gave some positive prospects about the gang’s future.
Are there any incarnations you’d like to put on this list? Any you agree or disagree with? Think should be re-ordered? Well leave them in the comments below.