It seems unbelievable to me that Scooby Doo was just on for three seasons. Undoubtedly there were individual cartoon tie-ins created all along the way, and there are new episodes being created even today. No, I’m talking about the original classic program. Just three short seasons were produced, the final one of which is now available on DVD.
What is there to say about this series, these cartoons that were such an integral part of my childhood? You would have to be living in the mountain caves of Afgha…istan to not know about Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and the rest of the Scooby Gang, riding around in the Mystery Machine solving crimes and debunking ghost myths. Each episode was an island unto itself, without any plot points that carried over from episode to episode. In fact, it was actually helpful if you didn’t remember what was going on the last time you saw the show, since every episode was pretty much the same. There is a guy that is secretly doing something bad for personal gain, Daphne Fred and Velma investigate and compile clues, and Scooby and Fred accidentally solve the crime. The funny thing is, he “would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” The perpetrator is turned over to the police, the dog eats some snacks, and everybody piles into the van to go find another mystery.
Sure it’s simplistic and contrived, but so was many of our childhoods. Feel free to pick this up and relive the adventures again. Or, if you are so inclined, pick up the whole series. Remember, there are just three seasons to collect.
The audio track is pretty flat on these episodes. Admittedly, we’re not talking about the greatest source material here. All the same, this mono track is pretty bland and uninspired. The laugh track (which just sounds odd today) is very tinny, like the audience is watching the show from inside an aluminum can. Low-end is not even remotely present. The same could be said for the surrounds, but as I said before, the track is mono, so you probably figured that one out yourself. I was not expecting anything spectacular to come from the audio portion of these episodes, but the result is still slightly below my hopes.
The video quality, however, is much more impressive. Surely these episodes have undergone some sort of restoration work. The colors are vibrant, and blemishes like scratches and grain are present just enough to add some character and life to the beautiful hand drawn animation. The episodes are presented in their original full screen format, but as is the case with most animated discs, they look perfectly normal when stretched across a widescreen television. I wouldn’t say that the picture makes up for the video, but is certainly does come close.
There is just one extra here; a featurette titled “Hanna-Barbera: From H to B”. As with the extra featurettes included on all of the WB animated classics, this look inside the studio is first rate. Viewers get the history of Hanna Barbara in a nutshell, as well as some real insight into the personalities behind the drawings. Things like this are the reason that Warner Brothers is so well known for their fantastic treatment of their extensive and honored back catalog. First rate, yet again.
Even on “smaller” releases such as this one, Warner Brothers has made a point to putting out quality releases of all their classic cartoon products. I know that those collectors out there certainly appreciate the matching packaging and close attention to detail. The full compliment of sixteen episodes are included, as well as that excellent extra feature I spoke of earlier. The sound bland, but the video looks great. For collectors and fans of this show, picking up this release should be a no-brainer.
Special Features List
- Hanna-Barbera: From H to B