Mystery Incorporated is a fresh new series designed to tell the story of the characters from 1969 Hanna-Barbera’s “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” cartoons with a modern filter for a new generation presented in live-action directed by Dante Yore.
The story is set in the small town of Coolsville, Ohio, United States, and inspired heavily by shows like “Supernatural”, “Riverdale”, and the original “Scooby-Doo” cartoons. We enter a world where monsters are real, demons guard every crossroad, and spirits lurk in the dark.
Following the mysterious circumstances of his parents’ deaths, Fred Jones teams up with three of his classmates (and a dog) to seek the truth behind it. Along the way, they must encounter ghosts, vampires, and the occult.
The series was created by Dade Elzav and Jessica Chancellor. Director Dante Yore is also the cinematographer of the series. The cast members include Dade Elzav playing Fred Jones, Jessica Chancellor playing Daphne Blake, Chris Villain playing Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, Dayeanne Hutton playing Velma Dinkley, and Thor Von Schultz as Scooby-Doo.
The vision is to continue to immerse the viewers in the world of Mystery Incorporated and build an entire 12-episode season and bring this story to life in an all-new way that the team believes audiences have been dying to see. The vision now is moving forward to create not only an entire season but a full universe that is just as high quality as anything you may see on television or Netflix.
ABOUT EPISODE I: WELCOME TO COOLSVILLE
The first episode premiered on April 27, 2022, on the Mystery Incorporated YouTube channel. In terms of production, it looks good. The creators say it is very similar in quality to “Riverdale” or “Supernatural”, visually, and conceptually, but in this case for a fraction of the cost. I did not care to continue watching Riverdale after watching after season 1 but Supernatural was something else. The first 10 seasons were solid because they kept it simple having the two boys hunting for monsters. After season 10 they became a little shakey, however, I do go back to rewatch some episodes from season 11 to season 13. Especially the one with the Scooby-Doo crossover.
I hope they deliver better writing than Riverdale and the last two seasons of Supernatural. Don’t make it complicated. Keep it simple focusing on a large target audience.
In terms of the story, I like the intro with Fred describing the town. I also like that the popular sport in school is baseball. These two points already make it very relatable for me. I also liked how Velma is portrayed and how she communicates with Fred. I’m not so sure about Shaggy and Scooby-Doo but it’s just a pilot. I’m open to seeing their characters develop as the story progresses. Daphne seems ok though.
So far, there seems to be no focus on current politics, religion, or sexual orientation as the main drivers of the story. The main driver of the series appears to be the mysteries that the characters will face. I find this project even more interesting because of its presentation. More than the announced Velma series featuring her as a lesbian and a person of color covering some items on the modern entertainment checklist: sexuality check, race check.
They choose to promote it this way focusing on these tokens as selling points rather than letting them organically flow as part of the story. Note that the quality of production and writing is nowhere near that checklist. Just have a look at the deteriorated writing of the most “popular franchises” currently streaming.
ALTERNATIVE ENTRAINMENT AND THEIR HOMEBASE
Unfortunately, projects that fit the checklist get easily funded in the mainstream these days. Even those projects that have a good first season get influenced by the pressure of the current wave of mainstream producers and fellow creators which negatively influences how they write and present the stories going forward.
My first impression is that the creators are enthusiastic and eager to bring it to a larger platform but I would suggest they have some caution and patience. The CW in particular had its fair share of failures in the last few years with the decreasing quality in writing of their series causing decreased ratings. The result is cancellation.
At the moment, I think YouTube is the best home base for the first season of the series. I wouldn’t like for it to be on a broadcasting network like the CW for example at such an early stage. Streaming platforms maybe? First, the project needs to be fully outlined and structured which gives it a solid base and the creators need the backbone to protect their creation against corporate interference.
A very good example where creators did a good job going from YouTube to a streaming platform without compromising their vision is Cobra Kai. As a reward, fans supported them during their transition making Cobra Kai a successful series. This is why it’s important for us to support the independent voices that have fresh perspectives on existing IPs and have an understanding of what the fans would like as a final product be it a movie, series, video game, or graphic novel.
ABOUT EPISODE II: WHAT A NIGHT FOR A KNIGHT
In episode 2 titled “What a night for a knight”, the story continues as the second pillar wreaks havoc on Coolsville. For episode 2 there is a currently ongoing crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with the objective to raise the funds to create the episode.
The money raised from the crowdfunding campaign will go directly towards things like Camera Equipment, Lighting Equipment, Sound Equipment, Crew, Production Team, Location Rentals, Costumes, Props, scooby-doo himself, SFX Makeup Artist, VFX Artist, Food on Set, SAG Fees, Music Licensing, Foley Artist, Sound Engineering, Video Editing, Color Grading, and many other things that go into creating a show of the caliber the fans deserve.
In exchange for the generous donations through the chosen tiers by backers on the Indiegogo platform, the project offers many different rewards ranging from exclusive digital and physical content, invitations to the premiere, to the set, and even Executive Producer credit. The value of the tiers varies from 1USD to 5,000USD. It’s nice that they take into consideration that not everyone has the same budget. Sometimes offering just a few options can be detrimental in getting more backers/more funding. With this project, no donation is too small to make this project move forward.
If full funding is not reached, the team pledges that every dollar raised still goes directly to making Mystery Incorporated a reality. Unfortunately, less funding means a much longer time to get there. For example, to achieve the quality with less funding, they would need to establish a smaller crew, cheaper sets, splitting up production days, and ultimately a substantially longer wait for the episode.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
In addition to your chosen tier, which gives you an explanation of the rewards you will get for that specific tier, there are also stretch goals that if achieved can unlock additional rewards for the backers of the projects.
The main goal of the team right now is getting these episodes out in the same matter that a normal show like “Riverdale” or “Supernatural” would. To do that they need more crew on all sides of production, otherwise, the episodes must become shorter. So, with Episode 2 (and beyond) they want to offer the following stretch goals:
- Raising 15,000 USD: 15 minutes of Episode 2. Estimated delivery date: End of July.
- Raising 50,000 USD: 30 minutes of Episode 2. Estimated delivery date: End of July.
- Raising 100,000 USD: Full hour-long Episode 2. Estimated delivery date: End of July.
- Raising 200,000 USD: Full hour-long Episodes 2 & 3. Will be shot back-to-back. Estimated delivery date: End of July.
- Raising 1,000,000 USD: With this final stretch goal, they can film the entire season. Then release the episodes weekly as a network show would. Estimated delivery date: Unknown at the moment.
The pilot looks good, and the stretch goals seem reasonable. I liked to watch the Scooby-Doo cartoons as a kid and the idea of a proper live-action version of the property is great.
The live-action movies were kind of funny at the time, but I consider some of them more like a parody version of the series. I think I just watched them one or two times and then never revisited them again. There were too many odd things with the one starring Freddy Prinze Jr. as Fred: Fred and the 3D Scooby-Doo looked weird, and Daphne and Velma were oversexualized. Shaggy was the only character that was genuinely funny and that I still remember to this day, everything else is a blur.
Hopefully, this series will give us a proper iteration of the 1969 Hanna-Barbera’s “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” cartoons, even the 1976 “The Scooby-Doo Show” and the 2002 “What’s New Scooby-Doo?”. Shows that maintain respect for the original characters. I know the series has part of the name but please stay away from the 2010 “Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated” series and all the other weird forgettable iterations.
Check the first episode on the Mystery Incorporated YouTube channel and give it an honest rating on IMDb. Also, consider supporting the crowdfunding campaign to make the second episode. Let’s help them make this project a reality.