Velma premiered on HBO Max this week, and so far the biggest scare has likely been for the executives. The show has been poorly received by fans, with a dismal 7 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The complaints are mostly about the sardonic tone and characterization of the show.
Velma is a grown-up take on the Scooby-Doo franchise full of irreverent jokes about violence and sex. It stars Mindy Kaling as Velma Dinkley, Constance Wu as Daphne Blake, Glenn Howerton as Fred Jones and Sam Richardson as Norville Rogers – who is not going by the nickname "Shaggy" yet. The show does not even feature the iconic talking dog, and its remixes many of the tropes of this old franchise in a way that long-time fans don't seem to like.
When it was first announced two years ago, Velma was initially divisive in a predictable way – because it changed the races and ethnicities of some main characters in a way that was inevitably perceived as political. It also made a point of officially establishing Velma's sexuality in the LGBTQ+ community.
However, now that it is out most complaints about the series are about the tone, the story and its flippant changes to well-established character archetypes. This version of Velma is angry and vengeful rather than careful and studious, for example, while Norville is an anxious try-hard rather than a reluctant tag-along.
Two episodes of Velma premiered on Thursday on HBO Max, and many fans already seem prepared to give up on the show. There are two more episodes coming every Thursday through Feb. 9 on HBO Max. Here's a look at what fans are saying on social media.
refuse to watch velma not because of the valid criticisms of mindy kaling but simply due to the fact that i actually love scooby-doo for the silly franchise that it is and am generally uninterested in edgy adaptations of children’s media
i’m eagerly waiting for this trend to die— girlgenius. (@SlimJosa) January 14, 2023
The only thing I’ll say about that Velma show is that it’s insane to me that “adult” shows rely so much on vulgarity and snark as their only sensibilities when stuff like this is already very funny pic.twitter.com/FTVPpAdvAG— Jake (@Jake_Menez) January 13, 2023
Many viewers perceived Velma as part of a trend where silly, irreverent children's media has been reworked for an older audience with a more edgy tone. They felt that this "trend" has been played out, and hoped that this would be one of its last gasps.prevnext
wait why does Velma need homework answers from fucking Shaggy? one of the key traits about her is that she's yknow..
the smart one https://t.co/EmObDSTiew— Dom 🍋✂️ (@DPlexHD) January 13, 2023
Many fans were put off by the drastic changes to the main characters' personalities in this version – particularly Shaggy, who is anxious rather than easy-going. They felt that these alienated long-time fans of the franchise, and many lamented that they were excited for the show before they saw these tweaks in action.prevnext
Modern adult TV writers: pic.twitter.com/E6r0Th1cCa— drank (@OfThe7thKadath) January 13, 2023
In attempts to explain the show to those who had not watched it, many fans shared clips out of context that only seemed to confound commenters even more.prevnext
Praising Other Takes
i don’t care about velma (2023) i just need this specific era of scooby doo back pic.twitter.com/xj9dCfjkdF— théo (@cineophile) January 15, 2023
The superior Velma pic.twitter.com/7vWrEdCHvj— Pride (@PridefuISin) January 13, 2023
Rather than discussing Velma, many fans tried to keep it positive by posting about their preferred version of Scooby-Doo. That included past generations as well as live-action adaptions.prevnext
enough velma discourse, we can all agree that mystery incorporated was the best tv adaption of Scooby-Doo, correct? pic.twitter.com/Qw0FdGM233— MAL ✰ (@photonsmight) January 13, 2023
if the Velma discourse leads to a Mystery Incorporated renaissance then I’m happy pic.twitter.com/clSdKT53a7— Jeff Besos 💋 (@shaeworthyx) January 14, 2023
Many, many animation fans seemed to hold Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated in particularly high regard as far as this franchise goes. They wished that executives and creators had focused on recapturing this magic instead.prevnext
Even after reading negative reviews, many fans naturally wanted to watch Velma for themselves before making up their minds. Critics warned them that this was a mistake, as it might create the illusion of popularity and cause HBO Max to renew the series.prevnext
Hey you’re going to watch Velma?January 14, 2023
Along the same lines, some content creators and animation fans with big followings announced outright that they wouldn't be watching this show, and that followers shouldn't expect discussion of it from them. After seeing early negative reviews, they simply decided not to watch at all.prev