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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies
The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies
Warner Bros. // Unrated // March 22, 2005
List Price: $64.92 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Mike Long | posted April 6, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is one of the most popular animated TV series of all time, and it helped to make Scooby-Doo the household name that he is today. Simply starting singing the theme-song to most anyone ("Scooby, dooby, doo/Where are you/We've got some work to do now/...") and they can probably sing right along with it. However, I have no idea just how popular that show was when it aired from 1969-1972. But, CBS must have felt like something in the show needed fixing, as they rolled out The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972, and created a low-point in Scooby-Doodum which is only overshadowed by the Scrappy-Doo years. Warner Home Video has now released some episodes from that show in a DVD set entitled The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies.

On the surface, The New Scooby-Doo Movies isn't all that different from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. The familiar group who tool around in the Mystery Machine, Fred (voiced by Frank Welker), Daphne (voiced by Heather North), Velma (voiced by Nicole Jaffe), Shaggy (voiced by Casey Kasem) and Scooby-Doo (voiced by Don Messick), stumbled across mysteries, usually of a seemingly supernatural nature. However, in The New Scooby-Doo Movies the gang always runs into a celebrity, who aren't in any role but are always playing themselves. The celebrity is usually being effected by some mysterious force/creature and it's up to Scooby-Doo and the gang to save the day.

This four-disc set contains 15 of the original 24 episodes which aired. Included in this set are the following (with guest star(s) in parentheses):

"Ghostly, Ghostly Town" (The Three Stooges)
"The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair" (Batman and Robin)
"The Frickert Fracas" (Jonathan Winters)
"Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner" (Don Knotts)
"The Spooky Fog" (Don Knotts)
"Scooby-Doo Meets Laurel and Hardy (Laurel and Hardy)
"The Ghost of the Red Baron" (The Three Stooges)
"The Ghostly Creep from the Deep" (The Harlem Globetrotters)
"The Caped Crusader Caper" (Batman and Robin)
"The Loch Ness Mess" (The Harlem Globetrotters)
"The Mystery of the Haunted Island" (The Harlem Globetrotters)
"The Exterminator" (Don Adams)
"Weird Winds of Winona" (Speed Buggy)
"The Haunted Candy Factory" ("Mama" Cass Elliot)
"Scooby-Doo Meet Dick Van Dyke" (Dick Van Dyke)

According to my research, the episodes NOT included here are:

"Scooby-Doo Meets The Addams Family" (The Addams Family)
"A Good Medium is Rare" (Phyllis Diller)
"Sandy Duncan's Jekyll and Hyde" (Sandy Duncan"
"The Secret of Shark Island" (Sonny and Cher)
"The Haunted Horseman in Hagglethorn Hall" (Davy Jones)
"The Phantom of the Country Music Hall" (Jerry Reed)
"The Haunted Showboat" (Josie and the Pussycats)
"Mystery in Persia" (Jeannie and Babu)
"The Spirited Spooked Sports Show" (Tim Conway)

A lot of what made Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is missing from The New Scooby-Doo Movies, due to the fact that too much emphasis is placed on the celebrity guest stars. Having the gang meet celebrities isn't necessarily a bad idea, but the stars are usually cast in weird roles that don't make any sense, such as Dick Van Dyke as a carnival owner, or Don Adams as an exterminator, or Don Knotts as a small-town deputy (OK, that one makes sense, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it.). And what's with the odd mixture of living celebrities, mixed with dead ones such as The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy? Or completely fictional ones, like Batman and Robin? The choice of guest stars is odd as well. Even if you were watching the show when it originally aired in 1972, and were familiar with all of these celebrities, would the average child want to see them on an animated show. Sure, shows like The Flintstones brought in famous faces, but that was in prime-time and had an adult audience. Kids today who view this show won't have any idea what's going on and will want to know why Scooby-Doo is talking to some old guy instead of running from ghosts. And how are you going to explain to them who in the heck Speed Buggy is?

The guest stars aren't the only difference between The New Scooby-Doo Movies and its predecessor. The original show always had funny moments, but the shows in The New Scooby-Doo Movies work too hard to be funny, and typically fail. And the fact that the obnoxious laugh track goes off every few seconds doesn't help. These episodes do features some interesting monsters, but the genuine sense of creepiness which often inhabited Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is absent here due to the emphasis on comedy. The fact that this was an hour-long show (the episodes run about 40 minutes without commercials) really played havoc with the pacing and there's a lot of "dead time" here.

Now, let's talk about this The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies DVD set. As noted above, the set is missing 9 episodes. I haven't read any explanation as to why this occurred. If I had to guess, it would be due to disc space, as, given the fact that there are four episodes per disc in the set, adding the 9 shows would have meant two more discs (or at least disc sides). I understand that Warner wanted to keep the set at 4 discs like their other "Golden Collection" entries, but why couldn't they have put in some flippers, as in The Flintstones sets? As for the episode selection, I'm not sure how that was done either, but it's awfully wacky. Do we really need three shows with The Harlem Globetrotters? Curly is funny...I get it. As for those that were left off, if memory serves, these were some of the best, especially the ones with Tim Conway and Davy Jones (which has been spoofed on Cartoon Network). The sad state of this show aside, Warner really dropped the ball by not giving fans (!?) and completists the entire run of the show.

Video

The Best of the New Scooby-Doo Movies DVD boxed set is part of the "Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection" and comes to DVD courtesy of Warner Home Video. The 15 episodes included in this set are spread across four discs. The shows are presented in their original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. For the most part, the picture here is clear, but the shows display obvious defects from the source material. Dirt, smudges, and "specks" are noticeable throughout. The image is somewhat dark at times. On the positive side, the colors are good and are oversaturated. The picture shows no grain, but there is some mild artifacting here.

Audio

The shows feature a Dolby Digital mono audio track. These tracks are good, delivering clear dialogue with no hissing or distortion. The music and sound effects sound fine, although they are constantly being interrupted by that cheesy laugh track.

Extras

This DVD set contains three extras, all of which are very disappointing. "The Hanna-Barbera Kennel Club Roasts Scooby-Doo" is a 5-minute short from Cartoon Network in which animated characters, who are introduced by Huckleberry Hound, "roast" Scooby-Doo. This has appearances by many famous HB characters, but it isn't very funny. "Uptown with Scooby-Doo and The Harlem Globetrotters" (9 minutes) has two modern Globetrotters demonstrating basketball tricks. This is intercut with footage from the show. Finally, "Girls Rock!" is a 9-minute segment where random people comment on Daphne and Velma.


I often say that any Scooby-Doo is better than no Scooby-Doo at all, but The New Scooby-Doo Movies really pushes that theory. The show is a pale imitation of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and this disappointing DVD set doesn't help matters at all.
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