Welcome to Crystal Cove, the hauntedest place on earth. Or at least, that's what the tourist market and town government of would have you believe. In reality, the Crystal Cove revenue is largely built off of proven hoaxes of various criminals preying on the superstition of the town residents generally as a way to make money. As much as the town government hates it, every time a real monster seems to have appeared, it's proven to be a dude in a suit with gadgets by a group of meddling kids!
Scooby-doo: Mysteries Inc. is a soft reboot that starts from scratch though it does reference older series with the implication those investigations happened during previous summer vacations. The show follows the Scooby gang in their senior year of high school as their usual mystery solving leads them to discover a dark conspiracy in the town of Crystal Cove in what I find the best western cartoon since Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Seriously, this show is great. It's surprisingly well-plotted and paced for a kids' show and while it does occasionally get a little too callback-heavy for my tastes, it all flows into a feeling of continuity for the show. Not only that, but now being run by fans of the show, this has actually given Scooby to be the kind of show that kids thought it was. If you're like me (or some of the writers of the show) Scooby was probably one of your gateways into the horror genre and it shows that a lot of the people here actually have a knowledge of horror history.
That said, let's meet the cast!
This is Fred Jones, voiced by voice acting legend Frank Welker. Fred has often been (rightfully) derided as the most boring character of the old series and that's something that this iteration quickly fixes. Instead of being the generic every-leader, Fred is now an over-enthusiastic and socially oblivious investigator with a literal fetish for traps. He even has a subscription to Traps Magazine. (which he reads for the articles of course) Beyond that, while every member of Mysteries Inc. has a dysfunctional family in some way, Fred's take center spot revealing someone with deep insecurities due to his father's emotional abuse and disdain for his passion. It's the rare cartoon that a character as boring as Fred and turns him into someone who actually deserves his leadership position.
Meet Daphne Blake voiced by Grey DeLisle, the youngest of several children of a rich estate. Daphne is still somewhat ditzy but nowhere near the damsel in distress she used to be. Daphne is very similar to her earlier incarnations with some important distinctions. Her ditziness is played up and contrasted with moments of lucidity and instead of simply sharing vague romance with Fred, she's actively interested and frustrated at his prioritizing his mystery solving 'career' and earning the approval of his father. Daphne herself is very focused on her family, particularly her emotionally damaged mother who is also implied to be a drug abuser (It's never said and it's pretty much always played for laughs) Also played up is the fact that she is the emotional tether that helps hold the group together, making her the group's chick in a more solid way. Yes, I'm using a TV Tropes term, Suck it up.
This is Velma Dinkley, voiced by Mindy Cohn. She' always been the clear, rational, inquisitive, and vaguely jewish one of the group and the new series has decided to both logically upgrade her to a computer whiz and contrast it by making her more emotional in social situations. While Velma is skeptical in matters of boogey men and vampires she's more of knee-jerk responder when it comes to people. She also has a humongous crush on Shaggy Rogers who is anything but emotionally stable enough for a girlfriend. Of note is that while her home life is disruptive, she's the only character who seems to have parents who actually care about her. They're embarrassing and they're into new age mysticism and homeopathic medicine but they are seen being actively interested in her. Velma's mom even reads her blog, which is so totally embarrassing! They're also the people heading the tourist business in Crystal Cove, making their money off of scamming the superstitious. This puts Velma's rationalism in a more contextual position, having her insistence on logic and a search for the truth be a response to seeing her parents manipulate people with superstition.
This is Norville 'Shaggy' Rogers, voiced Matthew Lillard. Shaggy hasn't changed much since his original appearance, which is understandable since he was always part of the most fun duo in the old show. The only real change to his character is that his cowardice is highlighted with the fact that he loves to spend his Saturday nights with Scooby watching cheesy horror movies, especially if they star the greatest actor of all time: Vincent Van Ghoul. Shaggy's parents are seen the least of any of the group, but it's clear from their dismissive attitude that they're ashamed of their son but don't really feel the motivation to do anything about it other than offering dismissive statements that they wish he wouldn't embarrass them. Shaggy clearly shares feelings with Velma but is a lot more conflicted on them than she is. There are a lot of implications that a lot of Shaggy's actions just come out of a fear of the world reacting to him and so throws himself into his relationship with his pet, food, and media as an escape and you're projecting again Malk. Stop it.
This Scooby-doo. Based on some obscure Hanna Barbera cartoon I'm sure you've never heard. Seriously, why didn't they go with Jabberjaw? If there's something that says 'lasting appeal' it's a talking shark based on sixties ideas of what the future would be like! In any case, Scooby is also mostly unchanged playing his ever-lovable double act with his owner Shaggy. The main change is that Scooby now wants to prove himself to the group as more than just the mascot and also that he's very possessive of his best friend, creating some friction with Velma.
This is Mayor Fredrick Jones, Fred's father. Mayor Jones is focused on keeping a lid on the various 'supernatural' happenings of Crystal Cove, something that frustrates him immensely about his son. Mayor Jones is a symbol of conservatism, superstition, and is actively manipulating the visitors' gullibility for their money. In essence he is everything Mystery Inc. is fighting against.
This is Sheriff Bronson Stone, Sheriff of Crystal Cove. While Mayor Jones is a representation of the people who prey on superstition to make money, Stone is a representation of the people who are duped. While it's clear Mayor Jones doesn't believe in monsters but will pretend to so he can make cash, Stone is all too willing to give into the newest monster and declare it a g-g-g-g-g-GHOOOOOOSST! As a result his relationship with the gang is slightly more friendly and the kids have even helped him get out of a jam.
Join me as I go through 26 episodes
Twin Peaks With A Talking Dog Scooby Doo Mysteries Inc.