STUDIO: Turner Home Entertainment
MSRP: $14.98
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes
• Shaggy and Scooby-Doo’s Crooked Capers Challenge

The Pitch

“Let’s try Scooby-Doo for the 11th time. We’re bound to get it right this time.”

The Humans

Scott Menville, Frank Welker, Casey Kasem, Jim Meskimen and Jeff Bennett

The Nutshell

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy enter into a new series minus the extra baggage brought by their friends. Sure, you get a quick shot of Velma, Daphne and Fred talking to Shaggy in a diner, that’s about all of a connection to the past that you’re going to get. After all, there are more important things to showcase. Robots being turned into popcorn poppers, Shaggy accidentally eating Scooby’s foot and an unfortunate run-in with the Swiss Miss. Stop me, if you think that you’ve seen this before.

"Dear Lord, Scoob. Your eyes, what happened to your eyes?"

The Lowdown

Shaggy & Scooby-Doo: Get a Clue! Volume 1 is a collection of the first four episodes that debuted on Kids CW last year. Naturally, when faced with the choice of drafting new work from animation studios…the powers that be decided to mine the shit that they already own lock, stock and barrel. A check to Ruby/Spears is drafted and then we’re introduced to the latest incarnation of Scooby Doo. How does this version differ from the Don Messick era or the Straight to DVD era Scooby Doo? Well, there’s not much difference. I expect that statement to come back and bite me in the ass with the Scooby fans out there.

The four episodes run the gamut from the initial introduction to the show’s concept. Then, it ventures into the same material that the show has been treading since 1969. Mysteries happen and it’s up to Scooby and his human pals or pal to solve the case. Depending on the era, the cause for the problems and background music changes. At this point, I had to stop the DVD and replay the first episode. The buzzing flow of white noise started to feel my senses and I wanted to make sure that I was able to get through the rest of the episodes. But, does it really matter what happened?

"Ever hear of Murderball? Well, I play a little game called Plasma Fist. It’s a lot like Boxing, but it usually ends with disintegration."

You’ve got a mysterious villain who kidnaps an important person and it’s up to Scooby and Shaggy to save the day. The only catch this time is that the important person is Shaggy’s rich uncle. This affords Shaggy a chance to update the Mystery Machine and add new gadgets that can be turned into toys in time for the holidays. It’s called synergy, people. Look it up.

Eddie Izzard said it best about Shaggy and Scooby. The duo is the closest thing to Shakespearean comedy that America will ever encounter. The duo combined equates to a pop culture Falstaff that greets and guards generation after generation of American children into the commercial ridden television wonderland that will surely kill their ability to imagine anything outside of a Viagra commercial. You can add the two leads to anything and you’ve got the attention of children. They work as this magical additive that makes anything better. You don’t believe me? Did you watch Laff-A-Lympics? Have you tried watching it now? The Scooby team saves that series from being total crap. You had Blue Falcon, Scooby, that weird cousin of Scooby’s and Captain Caveman. And, I’ve gotten off topic again.

The Guild of Calamitous Intent often had to find ways to keep their members busy in between seasons.

There’s something to the animation choices made with this series. First off, there’s the sheer creepiness in regards to the abstract details of each character’s eyes. Chris Bailey tweaked this approach and got it to work on Kim Possible and Clerks: The Animated Series. But, it works as this bizarre sub textual statement on the detachment we feel towards these classic cartoon characters. Scooby and Shaggy have hit this level of being that they simply exist. If you wanted to have Scooby and Shaggy: Samurai Warriors Farting Across Time, it would sell for a minimum of a season. Hell, these guys had Vincent Price show up for an incarnation in the early 80s.

Why? Who the hell knows? That’s the problem with popular entertainment for American children. Television started the indoctrination process and we’ve all ran down and regurgitated every possible scenario for every possible cartoon across original broadcast, syndication and home video. Hanna/Barbara did something to our pop cultured addled brains that very few of us ever get to the point of understanding. We’ve become pop culture sleeper agents who can’t respond to the filler material of the airwaves unless there’s some sort of shocking trigger to wake us out of our lull.

The Swiss Miss gets the chalet. The dog gets to push its lipstick into the Bellboy’s lower lumbar.

There’s none of that here. I almost feel as though the creative staff is trying to taunt pop culture junkies like me. There’s the bizarre soulless animation style that creeps me out and then there’s the little things such as Velma being voiced by Natalie from The Facts of Life. On the second viewing, I had to stop there and process what I just heard. I then went to the usual spots such as Wikipedia and IMDB to find out more information about what studio was animating this stuff. You get the typical Ruby/Spears stuff, but I want to know who is trying to mess with my head? This show is an endurance test of the off-kilter and bizarre.

After the ninety minute runtime was up, I felt like I had blacked out. Nothing had caught my attention in the last hour and a half. My eyes got that weird glaze about them and I drifted off into white noise. Naturally, I decided to rewatch the DVD to see if the show would trigger a similar response. Sadly, I drifted off again and started to rewrite in my notebook what I was writing before. Something about how American Television Animation has regurgitated and recycled itself to the point that nothing new can ever hit the air without getting swatted down by the masses. Then, the white noise started the cycle over and over again. Why does this feel familiar?

A talking dog, a suave Blue 1974 pressed suit, a Creedence eight-track stuck in the deck. The first stoners of Saturday Morning are ready to meet you.

The Package

The DVD follows a steady pattern of similar Warner Brothers Animation DVDs that don’t happen to fall under the Justice League Unlimited banner. Four episodes are quickly slammed out on a single disc DVD with a quick toss-on to pass for a special feature. The long term collectors don’t pay any attention to the release, but it fares well with busy parents who want a temporary babysitter for their children. This DVD is an impulse product for an impulse buy perpetually shifting itself back and forth among the ADHD hordes that need a quick animated fix.

Shaggy and Scooby Doo’s Crooked Capers Challenge is a fun little game for younger viewers. But, I don’t honestly expect to see any child clamor for the DVD just to play the game over and over again. That’s the cross that children’s entertainment has to bare. What do you do to keep parents from ripping their hair out, while actually entertaining children? It’s a fine line that this disc didn’t choose to walk. It just stayed in the middle and didn’t do anything.

5.0 out of 10