Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated began in 2010 and had a hard hurdle to climb. After years of sub-par Scooby Doo shows hopes weren't high for this new series but dear gosh does this incarnation of the series blows all expectations out of the water.
Mystery Incorporated follows the traditional Scooby-Doo trope of the monster-of-the-week but adds further depth by adding an over-arcing story. The gang live in Crystal Cove, “The Most Hauntedest Place on Earth” and share a love of mystery solving. The series takes the basic premise of the original couple of series but grounds the protagonists further by introducing their families and giving them a home. By adding the parents continuity, depth and dynamics are introduced to the characters, and it's the interplay between the protagonists that really shines. Daphne loves Fred, but Fred loves creating traps and spending time solving mysteries with the gang. Velma and Shaggy are an item but keeping it hidden from Scooby so as not to upset him. The dynamics created by this simple slight alteration in the mythos ensures that the script and dialogue between the characters zips along at a cracking pace, pop culture references are dropped left, right and centre and you have to listen out for zingy one liners, one of my personal faves being Velma berating Scooby, "Before you go code brown..."
Marvellous stuff with a Whedon-esque lilt, and not a shwarma in sight.
For a kids show there are a lot of pop culture references but then this isn't a kids show aimed at kids, it's more like Disney's Gravity Falls, a 'kids' show more suited for adults. For a series that is over 40 years old that started off with janky Hannah-Barbara animated chase scenes, choreographed to cheesy pop music to one which cites Twin Peaks, The X Files and H.P. Lovecraft amongst some of its influences the series really adds layers to the traditional Scooby Doo formula. When a Vincent Price nod appears in the form of recurring character Vincent Van Ghoul and a Cabinet of Doctor Caligari reference is dropped, you know that this is something special with writers who have a deep knowledge and love of cinema yet a fondness for the original Scooby Doo shows.
As a 36 year old man with a 2 1/2 year old daughter it really is difficult to explain how good Mystery Incorporated! is but I will say that it is one of the best animated shows that I've ever seen, and I am an animation aficionado so that is high praise indeed.
With Mystery Incorporated, Scooby Doo has come back bigger, brighter and better than ever before. As a huge fan of animation I can say unreservedly that this is a great return for an iconic series. I am currently ordering series 2 of the show as the series ends on a cliffhanger that I need closure on.
Series 1 is currently airing on Amazon Prime and I would recommend everyone watch it!