Velma always seemed like a bit of an odd experiment, a reimagining of Scooby-Doo in adult animation format where the danger is real and the jokes are grosser. It might have worked, but by all accounts…it doesn’t. Not at all.
The first two episodes of Velma have arrived on HBO Max. They haven’t really impressed the critics, but the audience reviews? Those are brutal.
Velma is currently reviewing with a very poor 50% for HBO-Max from critics on rotten tomatoesand has only 9% of hundreds of audience scores.
Before you go in and say “well this is people’s criticism bombing the show because it’s made the cast more diverse” that’s… one of the weirder things here. Velma seems to be upset both sides of your potential audience here. Sure, there will be the usual “diversity recast” haters, but if you look at the show itself, it seems like it’s almost mocking programs that do diversity casting or social messaging. It has led to what you might have assumed would be a more left-leaning fanbase for the show to accuse creator Mindy Kaling of turning it into a bit conservative project, as people cite past comments she’s made and things like liking JK Rowling’s recent tweets as evidence of their personal views.
Above all, it seems the humor just doesn’t connect with any audience. The show feels like it’s trying to annoy anyone who watches it, and Scooby Doo’s IP almost seems secondary to the whole concept. Scooby-Doo has been wildly successful over the years as both children’s cartoons and live-action movies, and while it’s possible that some adult-animated version of the concept could have worked, this iteration seems to have upset everyone. potential audiences. This is a show where Daphne and Velma finally share a kiss, and yet its potential liberal audience is writing it off because of how antagonistic it all feels.
It’s a shame, because this really is a stellar cast here. Constance Wu, Sam Richardson, Glenn Howerton. And I’ve certainly liked Kaling’s work before, whether it’s on The Office, The Mindy Project, or, more recently, Never Have I Ever. But Velma? Something went seriously wrong here, and it’s burning more than almost any new show I’ve seen since The Witcher: Blood Origin on Netflix. Though even that went up to a 13% viewership score eventually. Right now, Velma really has nothing else to compare herself to in terms of how badly she’s scoring, and she can’t blame a politically driven review blitz campaign given that both the sides of the aisle do not like it for different reasons. What a strange situation.
Update (1/15): Time hasn’t improved this as more people have watched the show, which HBO now says is Max’s most-watched original animated series premiere (not that there’s much else to compare it to, even Harley Quinn premiered in DC Universe).
- With almost 3,000 reviews, Velma has an audience score of 7% on rotten tomatoes.
- Velma has a 0.4/10 in user reviews on Metacritic (a 59/100 review).
- Velma has an audience score of 1.4/5 on Google.
- With almost 9,000 votes, Velma has a 1.7/10 in IMDB.
In short, Velma has hit the holy trinity: in fact, it’s being bombarded by right-wing viewers complaining about “woke” content. And yet, unlike other series that do this, viewers on the left do not find the show defensible and are further score it low. Not because of the “wake up” content, but because it’s just…bad. And then there’s the third mainstay, the angry Scooby Doo fans who like the classic series and the IP and hate that it’s used in this way for a bad adult cartoon. That may actually be the largest group, based on the reviews I’m reading online.
Mindy Kaling has continued to draw ire online over Velma, with many citing her constant “self-insertion” on her series, with the repeated theme of an Indian girl desperate for white attention also present on her other shows.
But it was also mentioned that Charlie Grandy is credited as the creator of Velma. Grandy has been a frequent collaborator with Kaling and, in the wake of Velma’s troubles, has been accused of being a case of “nepotism”, the son of a former Love Boat star and congressman, with his mother a Hollywood television writer. He has gotten quite personal with these two, and many are looking for explanations as to why Velma is this bad.
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