Chief Justice Michael Stailey is the new assistant manager of the Clam Cabin.
Our reviews of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season One, Volume 3 (published October 9th, 2011) and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season One, Volume 1 (published August 7th, 2011) are also available.
Don't give up. This has all happened before.
Welcome back, mystery lovers, to another four episode hit of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Yes, my disdain for Warner Bros. impulse buy marketing is well-documented, so we're setting that aside to focus on the adventures at hand. With the series still riding high on its new format, the gang continues to face its monster of the week, while uncovering even more clues to the identities of Crystal Cove's original Mystery Incorporated and their unsolved disappearance.
Shaggy: "Velma, it's time you knew…Shaggy likes baggy."
• "The Song of Mystery"—The children of Crystal Cove have become "inexplicably spook-a-fied" and their parents are leaving town in droves. While Mayor Jones (Gary Cole) and Sheriff Stone (Patrick Warburton) leverage a new tourist draw, the gang digs deeper into a creepy South American pied piper—Que Horifico—who may be behind the transformations. Meanwhile, Fred (Frank Welker) gets a civics tutor, Velma (Mindy Cohn) gives Shaggy (Matthew Lillard) a boyfriend makeover, and only the VeggieTales can save the day.
Daphne: "Gee, look at that. Prom is coming up. Any plans?"
• "The Legend of Alice May"—It's Prom season at Crystal Cove High School and Sheriff Stone warns of a ghost girl in a phantom limousine terrorizing neighboring communities. Turns out, this ghouly-girl has been building a man posse since the turn of the century, and may have ties to Deacon Carlswell alias The Creeper ("Jeepers, It's The Creeper," Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!). Meanwhile, a Gwen Stacey look-like (Hynden Walch) sinks her manicured nails into Fred, Daphne (Grey DeLisle) gets a pep talk from her military sister, Velma obsesses about her perfect night with Shaggy, someone has redacted all information about the missing Mystery Incorporated kids from the city archives, and it's time for the annual Vincent Van Ghoul-a-thon.
Fred: "Tight knots, guys. We need maximum rope tension to eliminate trap torsion."
• "In Fear of The Phantom"—The Hex Girls (Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost) tour stops in Crystal Cove, but a poetry-spouting techno Phantom is intent on silencing their music forever. When Fred's trap backfires and Daph is kidnapped, she refuses to be a victim any longer and becomes a Hex Girl to trap the Phantom her own way. Meanwhile, Scooby refuses to forgive Shaggy for bailing on the Van Ghoul-a-thon, Fred struggles with strange feelings for Daphne, and Velma realizes her relationship with Shaggy will never be what she wants.
Velma: "It is me, or are pirates just hobos with earrings."
• "The Grasp of the Gnome"—When the Crystal Cove Renn Faire is overrun by pirate-costumed revelers, a scary gnome begins to cull the interlopers. Shaggy gets kidnapped, Velma and Scoob battle over who cares for him more, and a chase through the gnome's impressive sky-high highway provides his ultimate undoing. Meanwhile, Daphne and Velma commiserate about their relationships, and Mister E steps up his manipulation of the gang by revealing a major piece of the puzzle.
This collection suffers from the Law of Diminishing returns, with the stories becoming decreasingly complex and interesting. By the time we get to "Grasp of the Gnome," there's very little plot left at all. In fact, it feels like nothing more than a 20 min setup to the overarching mystery reveal. However, give credit where credit is due. The writing team does a nice job once again of integrating facets of the entire Scooby-verse into Mystery Incorporated. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo was a terrible '80s series, but bringing Vincent Van Ghoul back into the fold is genius. The same goes for the callback to their old nemesis The Creeper. These little touches, along with a more thoughtful exploration of the gang's interpersonal relationships makes this the ultimate series for long-time Scooby-Doo fans. And like all great animated series, it works on multiple levels, with enough hijinks and tomfoolery to entertain the kids who won't get any of the pop culture and series historical references.
Presented in standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the impressive production design continues to shine. Set in a seemingly perpetual fall environment, the robust use of oranges, reds, yellows, and browns against a coastal California backdrop and impressive lighting design makes this one of the finest looking series on Cartoon Network. The Dolby 2.0 audio track works well enough, although one would imagine a 5.1 mix with a healthy ambience would juice the adventure. Nothing in the way of bonus features, save for a couple of trailers for other Scooby DVD offerings.
With only one clunker in the bunch, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Season One, Volume 2 is worth your time, but you can stream these episodes cheaper online than shelling out $9.99 for the DVD. That is unless you're like my nieces who take their Scooby DVDs with them on every road trip.
Looks like we've got plenty more mysteries on our hands.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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