Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated | Chapter 1 | Beware the Beast from Below
Just like with Batman, every few years we’re guaranteed a Scooby-Doo! reboot from Warner Brothers Animation because the property is just so damn lucrative. The most recent one, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, cherry picks the best of the Scooby franchise as we know it and rolls it all into one spectacular program.
Episode 1 begins with the gang getting locked up for their continued interference with police business in order to solve mysteries. Their parents each give them a stern talking-to and attempt to coax them away from their friends and out of their mystery-solving habit. Typical rebellious teens, Velma, Fred, Shaggy and Daphne won’t have any of that. Scooby, either!
While on their way to school in The Mystery Machine, the gang comes across a new mystery, as a manhole cover pops up from the street and a gooey monster, the Slime Mutant, attacks them. It vanishes, but at Fred’s behest the gang goes into the sewer. There, they find a path to the Crystal Cove Caves above which Fruitmeir’s and other businesses sit.
The gang finds a petrified construction worker plastered to the ceiling of the cave.They take the body to their teacher, Professor Raffalo, who conducts a look into the gooey matter encasing the body, and ends up getting plastered himself.
Afterward, Fred sulks, but his friends give him an ego boost. They take the investigation to Fruitmeir’s, where they engage in a chase with the Slime Mutant. Being that it’s the first episode, the gang’s game is a bit off. Fred’s trap falls on the group instead of the monster, and they accuse the wrong individual of criminal mischief. But, it’s a start.
For me, a litmus test of whether a certain Scooby series is any good, is how well-drawn Daphne is. It just so happens that in this show, all of the characters are extremely polished and modern versions of their 1969 selves. The mise-en-scène is impeccable: everything is well-storyboarded and animated, and you can see that, unlike back when Scooby started solving mysteries, no corners have been cut. This is how fluid the original Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? looked to me when I didn’t know any better as a kid. I’m so glad Scooby grew up with me.
When I first tuned into this program, I was delighted. This is the Scooby-Doo! we’ve been waiting for ever since 1998’s Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. Nothing against What’s New Scooby-Doo?, but to me it was just a rendition of the 1969 series for the aughts. With Mystery Incorporated, the writing and subject matter is aged up a bit in keeping with Cartoon Network’s desire to exhibit more mature cartoons, and more action sequences are infused with the light comedy. What The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest aimed to do for the Jonny Quest property in the 90s, Mystery Incorporated does for Scooby-Doo! in spades. It definitely deserved more respect from upstairs than it got during its run.