I haven't done much posting here on Fanpop lately, however I wanted to take the time to post an opinion piece that involves a subject that I know well(at least one that I've known well since the mid 1990s or so).
This subject is Scooby Doo; as you're probably aware of, Scooby Doo is an animated television series about four teenagers and a talking Great Dane who solve ghostly mysteries. The first Scooby Doo television series(known as Scooby Doo Where Are You?) aired on CBS beginning on September 13th, 1969 on Saturday mornings.
Over the years Scooby Doo has aired with titles like the aforementioned first series, The New Scooby Doo Movies, The Scooby Doo Show, Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo, The All-New Scooby and Scrappy Doo Show, The New Scooby Doo Mysteries, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, A Pup Named Scooby Doo, What's New Scooby Doo?, Shaggy and Scooby Doo Get A Clue and the most recent series(ending in 2013): Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated.
Scooby Doo has also appeared in over 20 or so Direct-To-Video films as well, plus 3 made for television animated movies in the 1980s, two live action feature films in 2002 and 2004, and two live action made for TV movies in 2009 and 2010.
Before I continue though I would like to tell briefly how I became a fan of Scooby. I stayed in an Econo Lodge in the city of Sequim, Washington on vacation back around 1996 with my folks. During the time we spent in the motel, my dad turned on the TV and as fate would have it he stopped on the Cartoon Network, which was airing The Scooby Doo Show episode Scared A Lot In Camelot(at least, that's what I found out later).
I remember watching the episode and thinking “You know, Scooby Doo is a pretty fun show, I think i'll watch it more when we get back home”. When we did get home from our vacation, I began watching Scooby Doo reruns on TBS and TNT(when they still aired cartoons), and later on Cartoon Network(when our local cable system added the channel).
Later I began watching reruns on Boomerang on a local cable system and DirecTV(during the time we had TV service from that particular company). I also remember watching the made for TV animated movies on Disney Channel when they had Hanna Barbera produced movies; then, around 1998 I learned that there was a new Scooby Doo movie coming out and it would air on Cartoon Network.
It was called Scooby Doo on Zombie Island, and on October 31, 1998(a Saturday evening), I sat down in front of my bedroom TV to watch this new Scooby movie on Cartoon Network. Right from the start(at 8 PM Pacific Time) I was astounded, amazed, and overall pleased with what I saw; the characters I had seen only in reruns were back in the 1990s.
The movie's plot was wonderfully done, the characters were fleshed out and talked and acted like real people instead of cartoon characters. The animation was stunning, the colors were nothing like the old repeats I had watched in the last couple of years, the voice casting was truly something to behold, in short it reaffirmed what I had known previously: that Scooby Doo was a wonderful series and truly fun to watch. The perfect blend of mystery, comedy, adventure, and supernatural, along with some slight horror mixed in for good measure.
I then had to watch each succeeding Scooby Doo movie, and began reading fan created stories(as this was around the time I became aware of the internet, using it quite regularly). I would later learn this was called fan fiction, which I became hooked on(and started writing later); in 2002 I learned Scooby was coming back to Saturday mornings with the Kids WB series What's New Scooby Doo. Again, I enjoyed the same characters I had enjoyed for years, but in modern times using items that I used quite often(video games, the internet, laptop computers and so on).
To make a long story short, I have had a lot of fun with Scooby over the years, including watching episodes on DVD/Video that I have purchased, talking with other fans and getting to know more about Scooby's history.
Over the years I watched other cartoons, TV series and listened to new modern radio mysteries, but Scooby Doo was still my favorite.
Fast forward to the present... 2015. Scooby Doo as a franchise has spawned TV series, movies, records, comic books, merchandise by the thousands, and has gained more fans then you could shake a stick at.
However, the Scooby Doo franchise has been around for 45 years and will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2019... only 4 short years from now. Alas, at this time, as much as I hate to admit it: it may be time to cease new productions with the familiar characters, or to do along the lines of Star Trek: mainly to marry off the gang and introduce a new Mystery Incorporated.
First, let me explain that because the Scooby franchise has been around for 45 years already, there are more then enough TV series, books, comic books, DVDs, movies and fan fiction for myself and other fans of Scooby for years... possibly decades to come.
I believe it is time to either maybe give the old gang a rest, or to marry off the characters(Fred getting together with Daphne, Shaggy getting together with Velma, Shaggy getting together with another girl outside the gang, Velma doing the same with another guy outside the gang, and so on).
In my opinion, it is also time to maybe have Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby Doo retire from mystery solving and allow new characters to take over the spotlight. I mention Star Trek because it is another popular franchise created for television in the 1960s and 20 years or so after the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted with Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
This new series was an instant hit and spawned other new series like Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, with new characters(most of which were and still are enjoyed by fans to this day). For Scooby Doo, this has not been the case; numerous series have been produced with the same five characters... over and over and over again.
The same ideas have been rehashed in movie after movie, TV series after TV series. The most recent movie for example: Scooby Doo! Moon Monster Madness, was yet another rehash of past Scooby series and a movie entitled Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders.
I have spoken with other fans in the past, and we all agree that maybe it's time to either let Scooby retire and have some new characters step into the gumshoes of Mystery Inc., or to try some new, different ideas with the characters. Ideas that aren't likely to be messed up by incompetent writers, idiotic network executives, and most importantly: rehashes of old ideas that have been used time and time again that have proven to not necessarily be that great.
To give some examples of some ideas that would breathe new life into the Great Dane and his friends, I suggest(in addition to the above), bringing back a darker, edgier approach to the franchise. Something along the lines of Scooby Doo on Zombie Island, or Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost... or possibly something along the lines of the live action TV series Charmed and Supernatural, or the comic book series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
What I mean by this is having Mystery Inc. deal with real supernatural foes more, and having them possibly have some narrow escapes in a mystery or two. In addition, I believe not knowing at first whether the ghosts, witches, monsters and so forth that the gang has to deal with are real or not; plus(to spice things up a bit), have the characters meet ghosts, werewolves, and so forth that are nice, that are not evil, and that if the group got to know, might become friends with(like the characters from the movie Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School for example).
Another good approach to have would be along the lines of an idea I saw on the website Toonzone Forums once(I have to credit the Toonzone member Hobbyfan as well as other Toonzone members for coming up with this one). The idea being have the gang still working together, but each in separate outposts, with each member using different skills to help solve mysteries.
Specifically Fred being a private investigator or an aspiring mystery writer in say: Los Angeles, or Boston or New York; Daphne being a journalist and using her inquisitiveness and reporting skills.
Another thought brought up on Toonzone was to have Fred and Daphne operating a detective agency together with Velma being like Abby on NCIS(if you've ever seen the show, you know what i'm talking about), or perhaps her bringing a CSI approach to case, while Shaggy and Scooby stay in Coolsville and take over Shaggy's uncle Fearless's detective agency, while Scrappy Doo(yes, Scrappy) would be utilized as someone who stays behind at the gang's headquarters and is brought clues to analyze and works on a solution to the mystery like the rest of the group(or could be brought in later to provide insight into the final solution).
This is all thoughts from myself and other fans, but I believe these points are very valid and could be something that if done properly could make for a very exciting story or TV series or movie.
Another item that I think should be utilized in future Scooby productions is the romance factor. I know I’ll get some complaints here, but let me explain; in pretty much every Scooby production(with the exception of Get A Clue, most of the series/movies in the 1980s and a Pup Named Scooby Doo), there has been hints of Fred and Daphne getting together as a couple.
This is a wonderful idea, as they could be the Scooby version of Miss Piggy and Kermit, or Homer and Marge Simpson, or Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable; a couple that are pretty much destined to be together and could make not only a good boyfriend/girlfriend team, but a fine detective team as well.
I can think of a number of radio or TV series that mixed mystery with romance quite well, and were all the better for it(Hart to Hart, the old Mr. and Mrs. North radio series, and probably others that I can't think of right now). Problem is, the writers of Scooby series past are chickens when it comes to writing romance; when they try and pair Fred and Daphne together, the latter ends up usually trying to get the former's attention, or there's jealousy in one of them or the incredibly lame excuse of “There's No Chemistry”.
As someone who has watched a lot of Scooby Doo over the years(and other TV series as well), I can tell you these two have a lot of chemistry and should be paired together.
There however is also the problem of what about the other two human members of Mystery Inc.: Shaggy and Velma.
I have no problem with Shaggy and Velma being together(in fact I support the pairing wholeheartedly). All I ask(and some fans ask as well) is don't do it like Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated did it; don't have Scooby be jealous, and please, please for the love of you know what: don't have Velma try and change Shaggy at all, he's fine the way he is.
If the writers only keep the characters the way they were in the classic series, Shaggy and Velma would be a very cute couple and would work terrific alongside Fred and Daphne. Or perhaps the writers could try having Velma and Shaggy with a boyfriend/girlfriend outside the gang(and before you ask, I don't buy Velma being gay or a lesbian; I've never bought it since I became a Scooby fan and I never will buy it, so just stop that whole argument).
However, there are problems with this as well; mainly the fact that while Shaggy and Velma have had numerous admirers and boyfriends/girlfriends, the writers really haven't had the guts to give one or both of them a boyfriend/girlfriend and keep him or her around for longer then oh... one movie or one half hour TV episode.
If you want to have Shaggy or Velma or both have a girlfriend/boyfriend, just give each of them one or both of them or whatever and leave it alone.
And with that, I close things up(as far as this opinion piece).
I hope that other fans will read this and consider what I’ve written, as I would hate for Scooby Doo to celebrate his 50th anniversary, only to have the status quo be what the franchise will be known for for years to come.