Hanna-Barbera Productions (September 9, 1989 – July 20, 1991), Warner Home Video (March 17, 2009), two discs, 314 mins plus supplements, 1.33:1 original aspect ratio, Dolby Digital 2.0, Not Rated, Retail: $19.98
Scooby-Doo and the rest of the gang return for the final three seasons of one of the most popular revivals of the classic series in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. In seventeen episodes, the gang solve mysteries, find clues, and unmask villains in hilarious adventures.
The Sweatbox Review:
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is the Scooby-Doo I remember watching when I was young. Officially the eight incarnation of the Scooby-Doo character, the show updated the characters for the 90s and a whole new generation of fans. It kept the same formula as the original show while making the characters younger, more contemporary, and with a lot more humor. Creating younger versions of classic characters was already something happening with Muppet Babies and The Flintstone Kids. The trend would even continue with the popular Tiny Toon Adventures that would usher in a new era at Warner Animation. In fact, it was one of the creators of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Tom Ruegger (also of Snorks, Pound Puppies, and The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo fame) who would produce Tiny Toons and a host of other classic 90s animation at Warner Bros. Previously been released in seven volume sets between 2005 and 2007, the show was finally released with its first season set in March of 2008. This second and final release rounds up the complete series now available in two different formats. For fans of the show, it has been a long 20 years.
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo was more comedic and lighter in tone than the original series, and its willingness to poke fun at itself actually made watching the old cartoons more fun. Each episode was filled with sight gags, crazy character references, and funny recurring jokes. Most importantly the updated characters were what made the show. All of the characters were made younger and in Junior High School, but they all were relatively similar to their older counterparts. At the center of the show are still a young Scooby-Doo and Shaggy. They have remained relatively the same. They’re still always hungry, afraid of ghosts/monsters, and still have an ability to stumble upon mysteries and clues. My favorite parts however are the other members of the crime-solving group. In this version, Daphne is a spoiled, materialistic girl who is always skeptical of ghosts and supernatural phenomena. Velma is still the nerdy, logical one who now uses a computer to help her analyze the clues. Finally, Freddy is the self-appointed leader who is always quickly jumping to wild conclusions. Each character has running gags on the show which made it fun to watch as a kid. Daphne, for example, is always calling on her butler Jenkins to help her with random tasks. Freddy always comes up with a crazy theory he read in the National Exaggerator and continuously blames his nemesis Red Herring for every crime. Velma yells “jinkies!” whenever she finds a clue and is always the one to come up with a plan to catch the villain. Of course, Scooby and Shaggy are overtly dramatic and will still do anything for a Scooby Snack or two. These recurring gangs were always refreshing and never got old during the course of the series.
Each episode followed a basic formula. The gang will be spending time together in some location when they are frightened away by a monster. During this first chase sequence, the gang usually gets rid of the monster by fooling the ghost into playing along with them in some act (pretending to be doctors, old ladies, etc…). They are then either hired to find the person behind the monster or need to do it for a personal reason. At this point, Velma usually finds a clue that leads them to their first suspect. Usually, they meet three or four different people throughout the episode, each with their own reason to be the monster. Eventually, Velma solves the mystery and develops a plan to catch the monster. This is followed by an elaborate chase sequence set to pop/rock music which is then followed by the unmasking of the monster. The mysteries are never too difficult to solve, but they are not always easy. One has to pay attention to the clues Velma finds to solve the mystery. The clues engage the audience and make the episodes more fun to watch. Sometimes, Velma literally points out the clues in the background to the viewer without mentioning them to the gang. Keep an eye out for her magnifying glass if you want to know who the villain is. The show rarely deviated from this formula, but when it did, it was usually to comic effect.
Some of the best episodes of the show are when the mystery is personal to the main characters. In many of the episodes, we get a glimpse at the gang’s extended family and life. My favorite episode is Curse of the Collar which happens with Scooby-Doo’s family. His family also appears in a later episode called The Were-Doo of Doo Manor. Other great episodes include The Computer Walks Among Us where Velma is suspended from school for a robot that goes evil, and The Ghost of Mrs. Shushman which is about a librarian ghost terrorizing Shaggy for overdue books. We also get glimpses of Freddy’s family in Chickenstein Lives! which expands the world of the National Exaggerator. Daphne’s family makes an appearance in Horror of the Haunted Hairpiece which is all about her impressing her father. The other episodes are all still very good, and they are divided as follows:
Curse of the Collar
Scooby-Doo is home for his family reunion and is gifted with the family collar. However, The Dogcatcher Ghost is on the loose and claims the collar for himself. The Doo family suspects that it is the ghost of Buster McMuttmauler, an old dog catcher from the area that was charged with stealing dog’s collars. When Mr. & Mrs. Doo go missing, along with Mrs. Knittingham (their owner), the gang investigates for clues of their whereabouts and the Dogcatcher’s identity.
Return of Commander Cool
While visiting Coolsville’s museum dedicated to the Commander Cool superhero, the gang is attacked by a one-eyed alien monster. After a hit to his head, Shaggy becomes convinced that he is Commander Cool and Scooby his trusted sidekick, Mellow Mutt. The gang soon finds out that the alien has been stealing Commander Cool toys and the toymaker’s owner, Ms. Colosso, accuses her rival, Stu Pendous, of being the man behind the heists. Other suspects include Quentin Creeply, a disgruntled former employee who made scary toys.
The Spirit of Rock’n Roll
The gang attends a Buddy Chillner rock and roll concert at the Coolsville Amphitheater, but before the performance can begin, a rock and roll ghost appears and attempts to kidnap the singer. They discover the ghost was of an old musician named Purvis Parker who is stealing Buddy’s money. Their search for clues leads to the Purvis Parker museum in town where things are more than what they seem.
Freddy’s uncle purchases the National Exaggerator and offers him a job as an investigative reporter. His staff has been scared away by the giant Chickenstein who has pledged to destroy the National Exaggerator and run it out of business. Their search leads them to several disgruntled people who are upset at the National Exaggerator and what it has done to them.
Night of the Living Burger
One night while watching Count Shockula, a scary show, at Freddy’s house, the gang is hired by Mr. O’Greazy, the show’s sponsor and a local fast-food manager, who is being robbed by a giant hamburger. However, the gang must come together after Scooby and Shaggy get into a fight and will not cooperate with one another to solve the mystery.
The Computer Walks Among Us
Velma wins first prize at her school’s science fair with her new robot that follows her commands. However, the robot soon becomes out of control and everyone blames Velma for the destruction. Eventually, she is suspended and it is up to the rest of the gang to search for clues in her new school to prove her innocence.
Dog Gone Scooby
Scooby feels unappreciated one night when no one seems to have time to play with him. He then decides to run away from home in the middle of the night. While in the streets, a mysterious woman in a lab coat begins to follow him saying that she needs his head. Once the gang realizes what has happened, they go in search of clues to his whereabouts.
Terror, Thy Name is Zombo
The gang goes to visit their favorite new theme park, Jipner’s Joyland, when they are confronted by Zombo, the clown ghost who has forced the park to shut down. The clown warns them to stay away from the park, but the gang is determined to find out who is behind the clown.
Night of the Boogey Biker
The show begins with Freddy accepting a challenge from the others to not accuse The Red Herring of anything for 24 hours. Meanwhile, The Red Herring’s aunt hires the gang to find the person who stole her precious motorcycle. She believes it was the Boogey Biker who once lost a race to her when he went missing in dangerous canyons.
Dawn of the Spooky Shuttle Scare
The gang goes on a visit the Coolsville Space Center to see Velma’s experiment being launched into space. She has been working on an experiment to see if Scooby snacks will cook in space. They go on a tour of the actual shuttle when they spooked by an astronaut ghost. The launch and the experiment are then cancelled unless they can solve the mystery for Velma.
Horror of the Haunted Hairpiece
Daphne’s father has just put her in charge of his arcade where the gang likes to hang out when a hairy monster called Bigwig comes bursting out of a new game. The monster tries to kidnap Daphne, but eventually Jenkins and Scooby come to her rescue. With the monster scaring away potential customers, the gang comes together to help Daphne save her business and impress her father.
During a visit to the Coolsville Wrestling Federation (CWF), the gang is frightened by a bovine monster called Hooded Heifer who is terrorizing the place. It is up to Shaggy and Scooby, dressed up as Commander Cool and Mellow Mutt, to capture the Heifer and solve the case.
The Were-Doo of Doo Manor
Shaggy and Scooby-Doo are spending a night together at the Doo Manor, watching television and eating pizza. That night, they are attacked by a monster and Mr. and Mrs. Doo explain that they are being chased away by a Were-Doo. They find out that it is their ancestor Nasty-Doo and that Scooby is also cursed to become the next were-doo in the family unless they all abandon the house.
Catcher on the Sly
A dogcatcher desperately tries to capture Scooby-Doo in a short sequence cartoon.
The Ghost of Mrs. Shushman
On a rainy day, Scooby and Shaggy spend the day in their tree house reading Commander Cool comics and eating pizza. They are then haunted by the ghost of the former town librarian, Mrs. Shushman, who is demanding to receive a book still owed by Shaggy. She gives Shaggy an ultimatum to return the book to the library before midnight. The only problem is that Shaggy is not sure where the book is and the old library is now closed and apparently haunted. In this episode, it’s actually Shaggy and Scooby that solve the mystery.
The Adventures of Commander Cool and Mellow Mutt: The Wrath of Waitro
Scooby and Shaggy go out to eat at a local restaurant, but don’t have any money when it comes to paying the bill. They then go into a dream sequence as their alter-egos Commander Cool and Mellow Mutt. In this short cartoon, they fight crime against Waitro (an evil cater waiter) who is terrorizing Coolsville.
Mayhem of the Moving Mollusk
The gang uses Velma’s transporter ray to visit New York City where Freddy has been invited by a group called Critter Getters to help them catch monsters. Once there however, they are ambushed by a skating snail dressed like a hockey player. They must then solve the case by teaming up with the crumbling Critter Getters team.
Is This Thing Loaded?
For this release, Warner has focused more on the feature content of these discs, each of which are jam-packed with episodes. The main bonus feature is a Bonus Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue episode called “Party Arty” (22:43). In this episode of the show, Shaggy is threatened with eviction after neighbors complain about noise and destruction in the neighborhood. Overall, it’s a good episode, but this was never my favorite incarnation of the show.
Both discs feature previews in the trailer section of the discs. On the first disc, there are previews for The Wiggles Present Dorothy the Dinosaur, PEANUTS: Snoopy’s Reunion, Tom and Jerry Tales, Vol. 6, and Scooby-Doo: The Beginning. Trailers on disc two include PEANUTS Deluxe Holiday Collection, Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird, and Smurfs Vol. 1: True Blue Friends.
The release is in a basic black keepcase with a disc flap inside holding the two discs. The cover is red and features Shaggy and Scooby-Doo on the cover. The back features the rest of the gang and Zombo the Clown.
Ink And Paint:
I love the animation quality of this release. The characters are both angular and circular at the same time. The animators on this show were very good at experimenting with a new, more contemporary style of animation. The show is 20 years old, but it could have been animated in the past year. The animation is a bit wacky with rubber animation, exaggerated personality traits, and stylized animation, inspired by the old Looney Tunes cartoons. Even the animation direction of the show is good and noticeable. There are even some unique points-of-view on the show where some scenes are animated from the dog’s point-of-view.
The show is being released in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Overall, the show features a good print quality. There are some scratches here and there, but overall, this features a good print quality for a show that is 20 years old.
The show featured an excellent voice cast including legends such as Casey Kasem (Shaggy) and Don Messick (Scooby-Doo). Rounding up the main voice cast are Christina Lange (Velma), Carl Steven (Freddy), and Kellie Martin (Daphne). The show has been released in a standard, English Dolby Digital track. French and English subtitles are also available.
A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is a great show and was actually my favorite version of all Scooby-Doo shows. It is much more light-hearted and comical than other versions and it features great stories with clever villains. I love the running gags and the clever puns used on the show. The characters are funny and consistent throughout the episodes and the mysteries are always entertaining. I enjoyed watching the episodes and trying to figure out who was behind the different villains. The mysteries keep the viewers engaged in the stories and makes it more fun to watch. Overall, it is a great show and I am glad that the show has been released in its entirety on DVD.
Animated Classic or Back To The Drawing Board?