It would probably be an understatement to say that Velma was not very well received when it was released on HBO Max last year. Serving as a Scooby-Doo prequel series, albeit one without any trace of Scooby-Doo himself, the show primarily followed a new incarnation of Velma as voiced by Mindy Kaling. She had also served as an executive producer on the show and helped creatively with putting it together alongside series creator Charlie Grandy. The idea was to do something different with the franchise, and it certainly did accomplish that, for better or for worse.
Velma was pummeled with bad reviews upon its release, landing an abysmal 7% rating with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics were a little more kind, though the series was still labeled rotten with a 40% approval rating. There have been a variety of complaints about the show, but one of the most prominent is the accusation that Velma disrespects or even “ruins” the Scooby-Doo franchise. In a recent interview for Emmy Magazine (via ComicBook.com), Grandy addressed this criticism, clarifiying that Velma takes nothing away from Scooby-Doo, but merely as carved its own little spot for itself somewhere in that world.
“The original Hanna-Barbera shows are still out there to watch. We are not erasing the originals. We just want to be a little ice planet on the outer regions of the Scooby-verse!”
Velma Was Created With the Best Intentions
Grandy also spoke about how Velma was put together. He recalled how enthusiastic Kaling was when she initially spoke to him about creating a show for the brainiest member of Mystery Inc., a character that all too often gets placed on the sidelines to make room for Shaggy and Scooby’s antics. As Grandy explains:
“Mindy came to me and said she’d love to work on a story with Velma…She loved the character and thought it would be funny to have her at the center of a show.”
Grandy also spoke about the differences made to the Mystery Inc. characters in terms of appearance. While Fred Jones (Glenn Howerton) remains a white male, changes were made with the ethnicities of Velma, Norville (Sam Richardson), and Daphne (Constance Wu). Grandy explains that these characters are not “rooted” to being white, but there was nevertheless some concern that the studio wouldn’t sign off on making these changes. However, the powers that be at Warner Bros. were apparently thrilled about the idea, happy with any character changes so as long as the show would be “funny and good.” As Grandy puts it:
“None of these characters are rooted to being white. We were worried about going to Warner Bros. and asking them to do it, but they said, ‘Do it. It’s time! Just make sure it’s funny and good!'”
You can stream the first season of Velma on HBO Max. While a second season hasn’t been officially announced by the streamer, there have been reports of production already starting on season 2. For as bad as most of the reviews were, the series had still drawn in high viewership, so perhaps that was enough to secure the season renewal.