The Michigan Daily discovered in November 2004 that several articles written by arts editor Alex Wolsky did not meet the newspaper’s standard of ethical journalism. Parts of these stories had been plagiarized from other news sources. Although the article below has not been found to contain plagiarism, the Daily no longer stands by its content. For details, see the Daily’s editorial.
Unlike other studio animators of the time, Chuck Jones scoffed at the cheap look and craftsmanship of Hanna-Barbara’s cartoons. However, the original “Scooby Doo, Where Are You!” is still enduring. For decades, “Scooby Doo” was a staple of Saturday morning programming, and it was a smash-hit for CBS when it aired.
Mystery Inc., the traveling band of young sleuths, captivated audiences for nearly four decades in “Scooby Doo.” Riding around in their flower-laden van, the band chased down goblins and ghouls who eventually turned out to be foolish old men in masks.
The first two seasons of “Scooby Doo” are representative of the show at its early peak, stopping just short of the show’s downward spiral. In the future, “Scooby Doo” would be wrought with ill-advised spin-offs, celebrity cameos and new characters, notably Scrappy Doo and Scooby-Dumm. This creates a sense of purity in the first two seasons.
Viewing the first seasons of “Scooby Doo” reveals the depth and complexity to which the writers put into each story line. In time, the writers created multiple villains in cahoots with minor bad guys, sub-plots, backstories and various companions of Mystery Inc.
The original episodes have been significantly cleaned up, although in time, the coloring has become washed out. But short of a digital restoration, the collection represents the best possible production. The set falls short significantly in the features. There are no audio commentaries and no “making of” featurettes typical of large-scale DVD releases. Instead, the discs are complimented by a trivia challenge, an inside look into three hyperactive “Scooby Doo” fans and a collection of insignificant interviews.
Despite the poor extras, “Scooby Doo” is representative of Hanna-Barbara at its artistic and creative peak and becomes an essential addition to the already booming TV-on-DVD movement.
Show: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Picture/Sound: 2 out of 5 stars
Features: 1 out of stars