I saw a lot of different Scooby-Doo cartoons when I was growing up. Once my cable company added Cartoon Network, I started seeing the first Scooby-Doo cartoon, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? again. Since I still enjoy cartoons, I've picked up several of them on DVD in the last few years. I recently picked up Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? - Seasons One & Two.
Recommend this product?
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? began airing in 1969 on Saturday mornings. The show ran for two years. More episodes featuring the characters were made in 1978 and they have been released on DVD as the third season of the series. The characters have been featured in several other cartoons as well as a few live action movies. The success of this first cartoon also lead to Hanna-Barbara developing more cartoons, several of which sort of follow the same basic format of a group of teenagers ending up dealing with different adventures. I don't think any of those other cartoons became as popular.
The half hour cartoon is focused on four teenage friends and their dog. The friends call themselves Mystery, Inc. and drive around in a van called the Mystery Machine. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo end up working on different investigations in each episode. The mysteries seem to involve different supernatural elements, like ghosts or monsters, but by the end, they discover that a normal person is behind whatever is going on. The plots for the each episode are rather simple, but they are still entertaining.
While some of the same things happen in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, there is enough different in the episodes to keep things interesting. The kids are usually on their way somewhere at the beginning of each episode. Then they see something they think is suspicious or will have some kind of trouble with the van. After that, they end up somewhere that is supposed to be haunted or is having trouble with some kind of monster. They decide to investigate, over the objections of Shaggy and Scooby-Doo who would rather spend their time eating. They usually break up into two groups to look for clues and end up in a chase before ultimately figuring out what is going on. The show definitely follows a formula, but it works.
Every episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? features a different mystery that the kids end up investigating. They are all resolved by the end of the episode, so they are fairly simple. Since the show is a half hour long, there just isn't enough time for more complex mysteries to be properly dealt with.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? has a touch of the supernatural to what is going on since the investigations the kids get involved in seem to involve hauntings or monsters of some kind. That makes Shaggy and Scooby very jumpy and afraid. They try to avoid finding the monsters or ghosts, but usually run into them. When things are resolved, it comes out that a person is dressing up like the ghost or monster. Even though it ends up being people dressed as the monsters or ghosts, I still like the supernatural elements that are used in the episodes. They make things interesting and entertaining. It is fairly easy to figure out the mysteries, though younger children may find them a little more challenging to figure out. There really isn't suspense to what is going on and some of what happens is predictable. A few scenes have a bit of non-graphic violence.
I do think there is a decent amount of humor in the cartoon. Shaggy and Scooby go to great lengths to attempt to avoid possibly running into a ghost or monster. Those things add several funny moments. All the kids end up in various amusing situations, though I do think Scooby and Shaggy end up adding the most humor. Every episode made me laugh, though some are funnier than others. There is a laugh track, something I'm not that use to with cartoons even though I have seen some others with them. It is just a little weird to me. Sometimes the laugh track is used at points that aren't really funny.
Music is used in most of the episodes. A lot of it is the same short pieces used over and over. Some of it may have also been used in some of the other Hana-Barbara cartoons. I don't know for sure, but I think I remember hearing some of the music in one or two other cartoons. For some episodes, songs are used during the chase scenes. The music does fit with what is going on and isn't distracting. The theme song changes slightly, I think with the beginning of what is considered the second season of the cartoon. It sounds like someone different is singing the song and something does sound a bit off to me about it.
The animation for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? is done well, especially considering when episodes were made. The backgrounds do look more flat, but that doesn't keep the show from being entertaining. The characters are always wearing the same outfits and have the same hairstyles. Each character walks a certain way and tends to stand in the same position. I don't know for sure, but I think it is possible that some things like that might be reused in more than one episode. In one of the early episodes in this set, Fred is missing a hand briefly. The picture quality is good and I do think it has been cleaned up. Some small imperfections can still be seen at times.
Fred sort of seems to be in charge of the group. Daphne and Velma at least look to him to make decisions. He is the one that drives and he comes up with plans to trap the various monsters or ghosts. Something tends to go at least somewhat wrong with those plans. I've always just thought his name was Fred, but all the others call him Freddie most of the time. Daphne doesn't seem to do as much as the others. She is a bit of a klutz at times and she ends up in danger more than once because of that.
Velma is the brain of the group and develops various theories in different episodes. She is usually the most logical. Shaggy is a huge coward who would rather spend his time eating. He has a more laid back attitude overall, though he does panic quickly. He and Scooby are best friends. Scooby is also a huge coward who prefers eating to everything else. Even though Scooby is a dog, he does sort of talk at times and all the others seem able to understand him easily. Different characters that are tied to the investigation turn up in every episode, though none of them are that developed.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? - Seasons One & Two has twenty-five episodes on four discs. From the main menu on each screen there is an option to play all the episodes, one after the other, or to play them one at a time. Three of the discs have a few short extras that are interesting. I did recently read that there is a plan to release an eight disc set in November of 2010 in a special case that is made to look like the Mystery Machine.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? is a fun, entertaining cartoon that has held up very well. The show led to several others featuring the characters, which are still extremely popular today. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? - Seasons One & Two is a really good DVD set for fans of the cartoon.
Scooby-Doo ~ Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed ~
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