Courtesy: Hanna-Barbera/Warner Home Video
Earlier this year, Warner Brothers’ home entertainment division released another installment from Hanna-Barbera’s beloved Scooby-Doo franchise when it released Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete First Season. It marked the first time ever that what was essentially the fourth season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? has seen the light of day. Go figure it is also the “series'” only season, too. Considering all of this, Warner Home Video is to be commended for finally getting this collection of episodes out on DVD at long last. While the studio and its home entertainment division are to be commended for finally getting these episodes out to the public, they are also deserving of certain darts as this collection is anything but complete. Considering its pros and cons together, Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 is one of this year’s best new box sets for children and families. But it is far from being the year’s absolute best.
Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1 is a good new release from the people at Warner Brothers’ home entertainment division. However, despite its title, it is far from being complete. The negatives that keep it from being complete will be discussed shortly. For the moment, though the focus will be on at least one of the set’s positives–the presentation of the “series” full sixteen episode run. Audiences get in this new double-disc presentation all sixteen episodes from Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo’s original run on television in the fall of 1979. And they are presented in their original format, too. The inclusion of all sixteen episodes shows that the people at Warner Home Video (WHV) cared at least about that much in bringing these episodes to fans. This is important to consider because there are companies out there that would look at this and try to capitalize as much as possible by splitting the collection into two separate boxes. That would in turn potentially cost consumers more and take up more space on audiences’ DVD racks. But because WHV didn’t go that route, consumers lucky enough to find the box set in stores only have to pay a one time fee of roughly ten to fifteen dollars for a box set that only takes up as much room on a DVD rack as a single disc DVD box. So not only does its full release benefit consumers financially but ergonomically, too. To that extent, the “series” starts off on the right foot. However, taking a deeper look at the set, it shows to be anything but the complete collection that it is advertised to be by its title.
Scooby-Doo! and Scrappy-Doo: The Complete First Season is a good addition to any Scooby-Doo fan’s home DVD library. That is especially thanks to not only the fact that the “series” full-sixteen episode run is included here but it is featured at a relatively reasonable price and takes up minimal room on audiences’ DVD racks. Even as many positives as it boasts on the surface, it proves, with a closer examination, to be anything but the complete series that WHV boasts it to be on the box’s cover. All sixteen episodes are there. There’s no denying that. And while both William Hanna and Joe Barbera have both passed away along with most of the original Scooby-Doo voice cast, Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Aladdin) and Heather North (Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico, Scooby-Doo Goes Hollywood) are both alive as are likely others associated with the show. It would have been nice to have at least some bonus interviews with Welker, North, and others linked to this “series.” It would have been nice to have at least some form of interviews considering the reason for the re-branding. According to most sources, the whole purpose for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? being re-branded and expanded in terms of its cast, was to boost sagging ratings. It would have been interesting to learn why viewers’ tastes were changing at the time that the ratings were beginning to fall, and which shows were beginning to grab said viewers’ attention. But none of that history is presented to audiences. And in turn, it takes away quite a bit from the set’s overall viewing experience. It is just one of the cons that weigh down this presentation, too. It would have been nice to get at least some retrospective on the significance of Scooby-Doo to American pop culture both then and now, especially considering that the beloved canine is included seemingly every year in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Again, no insight is offered there or in any other fashion. considering that WHV is trying to market Scooby-Doo not just one target demographic but viewers of all ages, not having any of that background on this latest “series” or the Scooby-Doo franchise in whole takes away so much here especially being that none of the franchise’s previous collections offer any of those bonuses either.
The lack of any background on the significance of the Scooby-Doo franchise in yet another of its installments is a huge con to its presentation. It does nothing but a disservice to the legacy of this beloved franchise. It is just one of the cons that weighs down Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season One. On another level, the general lack of effort displayed in presenting the set’s discs takes even more away from the set’s overall viewing experience. Those responsible for providing the discs’ artwork just took a couple of images from the show, placed one on one disc and the other on the set’s other disc, and then splashed each in a dark purple covering. WHV has taken much the same approach with other recent releases such as its box sets containing the original Batman TV series episodes. The discs presented in those sets just presents the original series logo splashed with a near neon green covering. It completely smacks of laziness and creativity. And the fact that it has happened yet again with Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1 only leaves one wondering who is in charge even more at WHV. Yes, it is just a cosmetic thing on the surface (no pun intended) but despite the old adage about judging something by its cover, something as simple as a DVD/Blu-ray disc’s artwork can and does play a big part in a company being able to sell its product. So to that extent the artwork (or lack thereof in this case) plays just as much of a role in the overall presentation of Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1. It makes this collection of episodes that much more incomplete than complete.
If the issues noted here are not enough to prove how incomplete Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 is, then the issue of its episode listing will surely solidify the argument that this set is anything but complete. to the credit of those at WHV, the “series'” box set does come with an episode listing. However, the listing in question is printed on the back of the case along with the description of the series’ highlights. It even notes clearly which episodes are on which disc. Again, kudos are in order here. However, one cannot ignore the fact that the listing is just that, a listing. There is no companion booklet included in the collection offering even the slightest summary for the presented episodes. Because of this there is also no credit given to the show’s writers. To some this may seem insignificant. But to those people who are interested in such an element it plays just as important a role as knowing which producer(s) manned the boards for a given act’s album. Having such knowledge deepens the understanding and appreciation for an act’s work and for that of its producer(s) throughout their careers. In much the same fashion, knowing who was responsible for a given TV series’ writing plays just as much of a part in appreciating the storylines of said TV series. So on that level, the fact that once again WHV has failed to include a companion booklet with any episode summaries or other important background information takes even more points away from this set and shwos even more just how incomplete this collection proves to be in the end.
While Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1 shows clearly that it is anything but complete through its primary cons, it would be unfair to say that this latest release in Hanna-Barbera’s beloved Scooby-Doo franchise is a complete loss. For all of its negatives (some of which weren’t even touched on here) it isn’t a total loss. It can be said that thanks to the work of the shows writers, fans of all ages will enjoy all sixteen episodes presented here. Those that are true diehard fans will especially enjoy these episodes as they will see their blatant influence on later installments of the Scooby-Doo franchise. That is obvious right from the show’s opening episode “The Scarab Lives.” This episode sees a famous comic book creator “haunted” by his own creation come to life. Of course as everyone knows, there’s no such thing as ghosts, right? RIGHT?! The identity of the Blue Scarab won’t be revealed here. But this episode was obviously a direct influence behind no fewer than two episodes crafted for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. Those episodes are “The Schnook Who Took My Comic Book” and “The Return of Commander Cool.” In the prior of the episodes, Shaggy’s mint condition original copy of “Commander Cool” #1 is stolen by one of Commander Cool’s enemies. Or is it someone else? The latter of the episodes finds an alien slug stealing the plans for Commander Cool’s moon base toy. The reveal in regards to the real thief is a direct throwback to ‘The Scarab Lives.” On another level, “Rocky Mountain yiiiiii!,” which comes from Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy Doo: The Complete Season 1, could be argued to be the influence behind “Snow Place Like Home,” also from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. The latter of the two sees Scooby and the gang on a skiing vacation in the mountains. While there, they encounter an ice monster bent on getting a kind couple out of its home. The prior episode, “Rocky Mountain yiiiiii!” sees (again) Scooby and company on a skiing vacation to the mountains. In the case of this episode, they come face to face with the ghost of one Jeremiah Pratt. It turns out that Pratt is searching for his pot of gold. Sounds familiar, right? Exactly. To a slightly lesser extent, it can be argued that “The Story Stick” (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo) is a variation on “The Hairy Scare of the Devil Bear” (Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo). That is because both stories are centered on Native American culture. “The Story Stick” finds the young members of The Scooby-Doo Detective Agency having to figure out who is behind a living totem pole that is scaring everyone away from the sacred land. The earlier series’ episode finds the members of Mystery, Inc. going toe to toe with a demon bear that is haunting caves on a reservation around the Grand Canyon. It’s one more way in which the writing behind Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 proves so entertaining and important to consider. Of course that isn’t to say that every episode gave rise to episodes in every “season” of Scooby-Doo to follow. Regardless, the writing behind this series still shows in plenty of ways to be quite entertaining for viewers. And together with the set’s previously noted pros–its cost effectiveness and complete episode presentation–the set in whole proves to be another welcome addition to any Scooby-Doo fan’s home DVD library. But it is far from being complete or the best of the year’s new family friendly box sets.
Scooby-Doo! And Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1 is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct via the official WB store at http://www.wbshop.com/product/scooby-doo%21+and+scrappy-doo%21+the+complete+first+season+dvd+1000542731.do or via Amazon at a lower price at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TEYPUIK?keywords=scooby%20doo%20and%20scrappy%20doo%20season%202&qid=1444585474&ref_=sr_1_4&s=movies-tv&sr=1-4.
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