When Velma—Mindy Kaling’s new HBO Max Scooby-Doo spin-off—was first announced, making the brains of the Scooby Gang the main character sounded like an intriguing idea. Alas, the new trailer for the adult animated series reveals a comedy take that feels decidedly retro... as in outdated.
Velma was recently featured in her queer glory in an unrelated-to-this-series Scooby Doo animated film, which was refreshing and pure joy for the character. We were hoping for more of that without her questioning her sexuality through crushes on her friends as part of the comedy—which looks to be a step back in this upcoming series.
Truly, it feels like the show’s energy is a decade too late, with the mean-girlification of Velma Dinkley (voiced by Kaling) and everyone having crushes on each other being the punchlines while she assembles Mystery Inc. You almost forget they’re about to look into a school murder. It’s so oddly off-putting how mean the high school versions of the gang are to each other—it feels very late aughts comedy as opposed to Kaling’s more modern and relatable high school crew on her hilarious live action series Never Have I Ever. We’ll wait to see more and hope to be proven wrong, because the voice cast that’s been assembled for the series is top notch: Sam Richardson (Hocus Pocus 2) is the future Shaggy, Constance Wu (Hustlers) is Daphne, and Glen Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) fills out the core group as Fred.
Here’s the HBO Max synopsis: “Velma is an adult animated comedy series telling the origin story of Velma Dinkley, the unsung and under-appreciated brains of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. gang. This original and humorous spin unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers.”
Velma streams on HBO Max January 12.
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