STUDIO: Warner Bros.
MSRP: $14.98
RUNNING TIME: 93 Minutes

(Note: This disc apparently hates PowerDVD so unfortunately, this review will be ran sans-screencaps. It’s a shame too, as I had some BRILLIANCE in store for you guys. Ah well, on with the review!)

The Pitch

"It’s Scooby-Doo. Seriously! The characters are younger but it’s the closest thing to the original Scooby-Doo aside from the original Scooby-Doo itself."

The Humans

Mystery, Inc.

The Nutshell

Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo cruise around in the Mystery Machine and solve mysteries for various people in various places. Oh, wait, that’s the nutshell for the Original Scooby-Doo Mysteries. Well, okay, make Scooby a puppy and put the rest of Mystery, Inc. in middle school, modernize the look and sound and you’ve got A Pup Named Scooby-Doo!

The Lowdown

I vaguely remember A Pup Named Scooby-Doo from those fabled Saturday Mornings spent with a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and singing along with "Af-ter these mess-a-ges we’ll be riiiiight back!" And then of course you’d be treated to swingin’ lessons about electricity by Louie the Lightnin’ Bug ("You gotta play it safe around the power line!") and that Cowboy who hankers for a hunk’a cheese.

Wait, what?

Oh, yeah. Anyway, my Saturday mornings were mainly about Bugs and Daffy, but I remembered this incarnation of Scooby, really in name only. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, especially given the crop of new Scooby DTV movies that hate your nostalgia and manage to funnel away every ounce of charm the original had. I HATE those new movies. Dammit, I can’t stay on topic today.

So anyway, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is basically the Scooby-Doo you all know and love. The mysteries have that same supernatural yet down to Earth flow that the originals had. And the most important thing retained, that the new incarnations have managed to dismiss, is that from the very beginning you’re presented with suspects. There’s never a hint that maybe "StinkWeed" or "The Ghost of the King" is actually a real monster. You’re presented with suspects, the gang finds clues, you try to figure it out and at the end someone pulls a mask off of one of the characters you were introduced to earlier. It’s such a simple formula, but it works consistently.

The only real differences here are the tweaks made to the show to relate directly to that Saturday morning audience. The atmospheric themes and music beds of the original are replaced with upbeat, pop/rock songs and the chase montages are intercut with little snippets of the characters (even the villains) dancing (Velma’s is the cutest). And of course, because of the target audience, you can’t "modernize" anything without stuffing it to the brim (and subsequently dating the hell out of it) with numerous pop culture references. Probably the best addition (and I’m not even sure if it was a full-fledged addition as it was only utilized in one episode, on this disc anyway) is a brief little segment right before the reveal where the gang recaps the suspects and the clues and talks directly to the audience, asking them if they can figure it out. It does take you out of the flow of the story, but it’s a great little call to action that gets the little ones’ minds working.

The Package

The cover here is vibrant and colorful with original artwork, but it’s artwork that is inspired by a specific episode and it sort of gives a different depiction of the show that I think it should. I mean, the fact that it boasts Scooby and Shaggy on the cover should tell you what to expect, but I think it would have been better suited with a more generic design. Either way though – it’s pretty.

For bonus features you get, well, you get 4 episodes and you should be damn happy you got those! Yeah, there are no bonus features, but really, besides some lame set-top games or trailers, what other features could there be?

6 out of 10