“Velma”: Wildly Unexpected, Wildly Hilarious


Elizabeth Ippolito

Starring: Mindy Kaling, Constance Wu, Sam Richardson, and Glenn Howerton

Created By: Charlie Grandy

Rating: 3/5

The Scooby-Doo franchise has been around since 1969 when the original series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” was created and ran for three seasons thus launching numerous reboots and adaptations. The most recent adaptation is “Velma” an HBO Max original Starring Mindy Kaling as Velma Dinkley.

“Velma” follows high schooler Velma Dinkley on her journey to find her missing mother. In the wake of this event, many of Velma’s classmates have been violently killed, with their brains being removed. Velma enlists the help of her partner in crime Norville and ex-best friend Daphne. Along the way, they join forces with Fred to solve the case. Through romantic twists and turns between the group, and typical high school drama, Velma and the gang take audiences through the iconic Mystery Inc. experience.

The series is geared toward Gen Z. The jokes and comments made by the characters are spot on, but it takes a specific type of humor to enjoy the show. Fans can compare Mindy Kaling’s take on Velma to her role as Kelly Kapoor in “The Office”. Both characters make out-of-pocket comments in a serious tone which makes them that much funnier. The hilarious Constance Wu takes on the role of Daphne and proves that Kaling and Wu were the comedy duo audiences have been waiting for in 2023 and have solidified their place as my favorite adaptation of Velma and Daphne.

A very female-forward series with Daphne and Velma being main characters rather than side characters, paired with a diverse cast makes “Velma” stand out from any previous adaptations. The series handles difficult topics in a funny yet sensible manner. Kaling explains how she honors the first Indian adaptation of Velma by stating, “She has a lot of these amazing qualities, so as a kid watching the reruns of the original Scooby-Doo I felt like, ‘Man I really identify with this character.’ I love that she exists. She’s not traditionally gorgeous or anything, she just helps the gang because she’s so smart,” Kaling explained.

Contrary to my review, “Velma” actually flopped as a series. With a 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an average score of 1.3 out of 5 by fans, it doesn’t look like the series will get a season two. While I loved the show, I understand the flaws because the traditional appeal to the Scooby-Doo franchise is the seriality. Audiences can sit down, watch an episode, and solve the mystery in 30 minutes. “Velma” takes the 2023 approach by removing the seriality factor and making it one long season with one intricate mystery. This ultimately left fans confused and stemmed too far from where the series originated from. “Velma” is a great option for Mindy Kaling fans and those who love Scooby-Doo, but don’t expect to see another season.