'Velma' Season 2 in the Works Despite Controversy

HBO Max has officially renewed Velma for a second season. The adult-oriented Scooby-Doo spinoff got a lot of viewers when it premiered in January, though it got plenty of negative reviews as well. According to a report by Deadline, Warner Bros. Television Group renewed the show in February, but many critics are wondering if the renewal was based on viewership data, not actual reception.

Velma stars Mindy Kaling as the titular Velma Dinkley in just one of many twists on the old Mystery Inc. gang. The show features no dog and is intended for adult audiences, not kids. It is full of crass humor that got some mixed reviews, while many questioned whether the changes made to characterization served the story. Still, Warner Bros. executive Channing Dungey announced the renewal alongside a slate of others at the studio, including other projects by Kaling.

Other renewals announced in this interview include Ted Lasso, Abbott Elementary and Night Court. Looking at the slate as a whole, Dungey said that "hard funny" is making a comeback. She said: "It's like the Three Stooges – hard funny is the pie in the face. It's that instant thing that makes you laugh and off you go."

"As a country and as a world, we've been going through some really difficult, challenging times with Covid and the economy, the whole nine yards," Dungey went on. "When you look back at Ted Lasso, which really became a breakthrough success when we were all home in 2020, I think people are looking for things that make them laugh and things that are a little bit brighter, and things that make them feel a sense of community."

In some respects, this squares with Velma - a reimagining of Scooby-Doo that is aimed at adults, not children. It includes plenty of shocking comedy and blunt jokes, though it's hard to describe it as "brighter." However, the show does make its characters more vulnerable in some ways, which might be what Dungey is referring to.

Velma stars Kaling as Velma Dinkley, Glenn Howerton as Fred Jones, Constance Wu as Daphne Blake and Sam Richardson as Norville Rogers, who does not go by "Shaggy." The show has no talking dog companion, and it employs meta-storytelling that some critics say they are sick of by now.

In general, Velma Season 1 has gotten mixed reviews or even negative reception, with an average score of 5.9 out of 10 on Rotten Tomatoes. It has been accused of missing the point of Scooby-Doo altogether in its pursuit of edgy comedy. On social media, many users worried that the show would get renewed because of "hate-watching," with viewers wanting to see the show for themselves even after being convinced it would be bad.

If that's the case then Season 2 will be the real test for this fledgling comedy. Velma Season 1 is streaming now on HBO Max. Season 2 has been ordered but there is no word on when it will go into production or when we might see it for ourselves.