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Scooby-Doo Where Are You!:
The Complete First and Second Seasons

Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection - 1969-1970 (2004) - Hanna-Barbera (Warner Bros.)

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits

Scooby-Doo Where Are You!: The Complete First and Second Seasons Program Rating: B

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B/D-

Specs and Features

Approx. 549 mins (25 episodes at 22 mins each), NR, full frame (1.33:1), 4 single-sided, dual-layered discs (no layer switch), Digipack packaging (with slipcase), 4 featurettes (including Scooby-Doo's Ultimate Fans, Get the Picture: Scooby-Doo and the Gang, Funky Fashion and Scooby-Doo Street Smarts), interactive trivia challenge, America Loves Scooby-Doo music video, DVD preview trailers (for Scooby-Doo Safari, So Goodi, Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster, The Flintstones: Season 1 and the Looney Tunes Golden Collection), animated program-themed menus with music, episode access (25 episodes - 4-7 episodes per disc), languages: English (DD 1.0 mono), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Closed Captioned

"Blast, you meddling kids!

The late 1960s and early 1970s were a strange and wondrous time. Need proof? Look no further than Scooby-Doo Where Are You! I'm not talking about that lame bullshit that came later with Scrappy-Doo - I mean the entirely Scrappy-free originals here. You had four kids and a dog, driving around in a Volkswagen-ish yellow and green panel van (The Mystery Machine!) solving crimes. There was the gang's scarf-wearing and obviously gay but still in the closet leader (Fred), the scarf-wearing and obviously clueless bombshell who could never quite draw Fred's interest (Daphne), the red-headed walking female encyclopedia who you just knew had potential if she only took off those Coke-bottle glasses (Velma), and a beach-combing beatnik underachiever who was also there (Shaggy). Oh... and of course the show's namesake talking dog (Scooby). Throw in a canned laugh track, plenty of bad guys in plastic Halloween masks, and the always-the-same ending where everyone stands around, explains the caper and pulls the mask off the bad guy... and you had a surefire Saturday morning hit with kids. How could you not love it?

The original Scooby-Doo Where Are You! ran some 41 episode in all over 3 seasons, and this 4-disc set includes the first 25 of them in order. As with Warner's The Flintstones DVD, every one of these episodes is presented in excellent, restored quality. You'll see visible grain and the occasional bit of dust or scratch on the film, but again it's clear that these episodes have never looked this good before. The colors are accurate if more often muted (given the show's spooky/gloomy tone), and contrast is excellent, with solid blacks and good detail. The audio is presented in the original mono, again with no frills, but the tracks are clean and clear, and support the video perfectly.

So that's the good. Here's the bad. I haven't seen such a completely fluffy, vacuous and throwaway batch of bonus materials on a DVD in a long while. There's nothing here about the history of the show, nothing about Hanna-Barbara and nothing about the voice cast or animation. In short, there is nothing that will appeal to anyone with an I.Q. higher than 10. What you do get is all newly-created material - featurettes on the Scooby-themed memorabilia collections of fans, interviews with "people on the street" talking about their favorite episodes, a look at the show's "fashions", a fluffy video where you watch some guy doing a pencil sketch of the characters, an interactive trivia game and a lame-ass, totally contrived music video. Plus, preview trailers for other Warner animated DVD releases. Unfortunately, we've heard two conflicting stories from our industry sources. The first is that no one at Hanna-Barbara ever really bothered to save or archive any interesting material during the production of many of their shows. The second is that at least SOME such material does exist, but Warner simply didn't bother to take advantage of it. Certainly, many of the show's creators are still around, from Joe Hanna to some of the original designers, writers, directors and voice talent. Also there are some archive interviews with people attached to the show that have aired on The Cartoon Network over the years. So Warner COULD have done more if they'd put the time, effort and money into it. In any case, whatever the reason for it may be, the lack of substantial extras here is a real shame.

Anyway, at least the original, classic Scooby-Doo is finally on DVD. Extras aside, this set is still worth having if you're a fan. As long as you're not expecting to get anything more than the episodes, you'll be happy. Still, I sure hope Jonny Quest fares better than this.

Bill Hunt
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com


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