Is HBO’s Velma as Bad as People Say? It’s Worse

Julien Neaves, Editor

Plot: In an origin story before the formation of the mystery-solving Scooby gang, Velma Dinkley struggles with high school life, terrifying hallucinations and a murder mystery.

Warning: Mild Spoilers Ahead

Yeah. I was pretty horrified watching this show too

Review: Executive producer Mindy Kaling’s mature animated Scooby-Doo prequel series Velma currently has an okay 50 per cent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a pitiful six per cent audience score. Yes, you read that right. Six per cent. But the HBO Max series can’t be as bad as all that, can it? Well, I bit the bullet and checked out a couple episodes, and it is one of the worst animated series I have ever seen.

Now let’s get the positives out of the way first (don’t worry, we won’t be long). The animation is vibrant, and the character design is decent enough. The voice cast is solid, featuring Kaling (The Office) as Velma, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) as Daphne, comedian Russell Peters as Velma’s dad Aman, Melissa Fumero (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) as Aman’s pregnant girlfriend Sophie, and comedic actresses Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes as Daphne’s adoptive mothers and police officers Donna and Linda respectively. And that’s all the good I can say about this odd, mess of a show.

Who are these people?!

First off, I’m not really sure who is the target audience here. It can’t be fans of the Scooby-Doo franchise because every character is so different to be unrecognisable. Velma is now a rude, snarky, judgmental slob, Fred is a douche, Daphne is a vain shrew, and Shaggy is just kinda normal. And Velma is now of Indian descent to match Kaling and Shaggy is black for some reason. Maybe they wanted to score more diversity points (Daphne has lesbian parents and Velma is now either lesbian or bisexual) to distract from the craptitude of their show. The likely result of all these changes would be to piss off fans of the long-running franchise, and not only because this a Scoob-less show.

So maybe they may be targeting fans of adult animated comedy series like South Park and Rick and Morty, but none of the irreverent jokes landed and they all feel like they are trying way too hard to be edgy and clever. And unlike those shows Velma lacks the all-important internal logic. One episode Fred has gotten shot in both his legs, the next he is walking fine. A student loses his leg in an accident, and nobody reacts or even comments. How was that supposed to be funny? And Velma gets these horrible hallucinations whenever she tries to solve a mystery (which she does not seem all that good at) which are equal parts disturbing and annoying.

Me trying to figure out why I should keep watching Velma

I fancy myself of completionist but after two episodes of Velma I really couldn’t take any more. When I don’t give a crap about any character, the comedy is more cringe than chuckle, and the central plot is an intriguing as watching mould grow, I have officially reached my limit. Maybe the show picks up in the third episode and grows into a fantastic series, but I seriously doubt it. And with so much better content I am yet to consume, that is a mystery I really cannot be bothered to solve.

Score: 2 out of 10

And you can check out way, way better adult animated content below:


Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.