Scooby-Doo Where Are You!: Volume 2: Bump in the Night Review

Scooby-Doo Where Are You! remains one of the most classic cartoons of television history. Hanna Barbera has since tried to recreate the Scooby-doo formula they achieved here but to no avail. Scrappy-Doo? I think the world has acknowledged him as a glaring failure on all counts. If for a moment you doubt that Hanna Barbera still desperately flails about looking for a new and successful way to reinvigorate the Scooby-Do franchise, the extra feature on the disc settles the matter. Corny, choppily animated and never complex, the original Scooby-Doo has many failings but it was also the first cartoon of memory that actually challenged kids to solve mysteries.

Shaggy (Casey Kasem), Velma (Nicole Jaffe), Fred (Frank Welker), Daphne (Stephanianna Christopherson) and Scooby-Doo (Don Messick) always get tangled up in strange local mysteries. Scooby-Doo Where Are You!: Volume 2: Bump in the Night offers up episodes 5-8 of the original series for a little bit of classic fun. In these episodes, the gang encounters apes, ghosts, voodoo shamans and carnival robots in mysteries so classic they appear in the credits. These really are the episodes that established the show as a children's television staple. What's especially worth noting of each and every one of these episodes is that unlike some of the later episodes of the season or of following seasons, all of the villains in question here follow the really basic "villain covers his own butt with a fake supernatural ploy." The later episodes get a little trickier, but as is, this volume's selection won't be too challenging for even the youngest of tikes.

The true disappointment of this entire series comes from knowing that all of these episodes have been available on DVD in the box set of the entire first two seasons since March 16, 2004. Yes, my friends: 2004. These episodes have been around and available for purchase for the last 5 years in a set much more comprehensive and economically responsible than this one. Why pay $13 for this 4 episode set when for just $37 more you can get all 25 episodes. Think about it: if you bought all of the episodes via this sampler at $13 a pop, you'll have to lay down about $78 - suddenly the $50 set doesn't look so bad.

Do you know what's even more maddening? Warner Brothers is doing this whole process backwards. Traditionally, studios take this episodic sampler route (which I've gone on record as hating numerous times) before ever releasing the entire season in a single package. It's infuriating when it happens, but it's become a natural part of the process. But in this case - this mind-bogglingly numb-skulled case - Warner Brothers is re-releasing a smaller inferior product after releasing the definitive and comprehensive version. That's just stupid. What's even stupider? Parents will buy this without ever considering that the entire first two seasons have been previously released at a much more reasonable price.

DVD Bonus Features

Oh freaking lord. For a lone extra we get an episode of one of the aforementioned Scooby-Doo rehashes which, in no uncertain terms, fails. It fails horribly. The episode "More Fondue for Scooby-Doo" showcases the inept writing and lousy animation of the Scooby-Doo of the next generation.  Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue makes me happy that I grew up with the classic series.

"Scooby-Doo Where Are You!: Volume 2: Bump in the Night" is on sale May 5, 2009 and is rated NR. Animation, Children & Family, Television. Directed by Joseph Barbera, William Hanna. Written by Bill Lutz, Joe Ruby, Ken Spears. Starring Don Messick, Frank Welker, Casey Kasem, Nicole Jaffe, Stefanianna Christopherson .

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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