A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this version of the original Scooby-Doo series features "the gang" as kids. The boys (Shaggy and Freddy) are pretty dumb -- they usually suggest the wrong idea or have no clue what to do. The girls (Velma and Daphne) are the smart ones, and brainy, glasses-wearing Velma always solves the mysteries. Shaggy uses the word "like" in nearly every sentence, and Daphne often insults the boys' stupidity. The silly cartoon violence and monsters in every episode might frighten very young children.
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What's the story?
A PUP NAMED SCOOBY-DOO is a spin-off of the long-running (and often retooled) animated series Scooby-Doo Where Are You! In this version, which originally ran from 1988-1990 and still airs in repeats (and is available on DVD), the gang is younger -- middle-school-aged -- and can't yet drive the Mystery Machine, so they stumble upon crimes, mysteries, and misgivings in their neighborhood or on vacation. They call themselves The Scooby-Doo Detective Agency and set about solving cases and unmasking villains.
Is it any good?
Arguably more irreverent than the original, this Scooby iteration gives the gang similar (if slightly exaggerated) roles as in the original, wrapped up in a comfortable, predictable formula meant to engage young viewers. Shaggy (voiced by Casey Kasem) and his beloved talking pup, Scooby-Doo (Don Messick, in his final performance as Scooby), are still easily frightened when they stumble upon the mystery, crime, or key clues. Freddy (Carl Stevens) tries to solve the mysteries and provides comic relief by always being wrong and always accusing Red Herring (Scott Menville), his nemesis (and a character unique to this series), of being the villain. Daphne (Kellie Martin) is the spoiled rich girl with a butler to bail her out of sticky situations, while Velma (Christine Lange), bookish and quiet, is the brains behind the entire operation and speaks only when she finds a clue and then solves the mystery.
As a tribute to the original series, about midway through each episode, a rock 'n' roll chase scene stops the action. The characters run and dance to music while being chased by the villain or monster. Young kids will appreciate a break in the story and might enjoy dancing and wiggling to the catchy tunes. If cartoons are the junk food of children's television, Scooby-Doo (in all its iterations) is the hot dog. Classic American fare, it's comfortable for parents who grew up consuming it -- harmless fun without much nutritional value.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who they think the villain might be as they watch. Is it who you expect it to be? What clues helped you figure it out? Why are Shaggy and Scooby most afraid of the monsters and villains? Freddy is brave, but not very smart -- why does he always blame Red Herring? Why does Velma only talk when she finds a clue? How can Shaggy understand Scooby when he talks?
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