“Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” — an animated revival of the 40-year-old property — premieres July 12 on Cartoon Network, courtesy of Warner Bros. Animation.
In some respects, it’s an interesting attempt to reboot a franchise that’s already been transformed into
live-action (with animation) movies, throwing in wrinkles like a secret relationship between Shaggy and Velma and introducing “issues” that the gang have in dealing with their parents. (Matthew Lillard, from the movies, provides the voice of Shaggy.)
There’s also more of an “X-Files” feel to the mysteries, including the fact that all the paranormal happenings have turned Crystal Cove into a tourist attraction. In other words, a touch of cynicism has crept into even “Scooby-Doo!”
The basic template and look, however, is otherwise pretty much a ringer for what Hanna-Barbera concocted all those years ago, with flashlights and things going bump in the night. Of course, to make Scooby seem hip at this point would require threading a needle, and the new series doesn’t quite accomplish that. Even as a kid, this show wasn’t one of my favorites.
Still, “Mystery Inc.” does live up to the “Incorporated” part — reintroducing the characters to a new generation of kids whose parents, thanks to their familiarity, will probably be receptive to buying branded bed sheets and trinkets.
Crystal Cove, in other words, isn’t the only one trying to turn gh-gh-ghosts into g-g-green.