Filma review season one: episodes 1-8

Velma will premiere with two episodes on HBO Max on January 12th, followed by two episodes per week. The following is a review of the first eight episodes out of the ten submitted to the press.

Much has been said about Velma as the unsung hero of Mystery Inc. , a Scooby-Doo detective who was never given a chance to truly shine. For many, she’s the brains behind the teen mystery-solving outfit. But while it’s true that in most iterations the character has played second fiddle to the rest of the cast, HBO Max’s Velma proves exactly why the character, at least this version, isn’t quite ready for the limelight.

Mindy Kaling lends her voice to a completely different (and totally disturbing) version of Velma that’s a far cry from her original portrayal. Clocking in at ten half-hour episodes — the first eight of which were made available for review — this animated prequel is full of sinister laughs and some fun story beats, but its insistence on reinventing Velma as a cynical, self-loathing outsider prevents it from becoming a disturbingly aspiring adult comedy. to be. Instead, it feels like a tough, hateful version of Daria without the character growth.

This remarkably non-Scooby series follows teen Velma Dinkley as she attends Crystal Cove High School while a serial killer is on the loose. their goal? attractive girls. When Velma is accused of a murder she did not commit, she takes on the case to clear her name. The only problem? She has a mystery of her own that needs to be solved: the disappearance of her mother, Dia (Sarayo Blue). Along with boyfriend Norville Rogers (Sam Richardson), Daphne Blake (Constance Wu), and spoiled rich kid Fred Jones (Glenn Howerton), she is determined to find out who is behind the murders and uncover the secrets of her absent mother.

In this animated series, Velma is not just a brave and sarcastic teenager who wants to fight against patriarchy and solve mysteries. She’s also kind of an asshole. When she’s not complaining or putting someone down, she’s a real sarcastic machine who never runs out of sarcastic remarks that never feel as pointed as she thinks she is.

They are quick to judge others based on their appearance and social status. Her peers may never let her forget that she is not a “hot girl”, but her personality is by far the most unattractive thing about her. And while it’s easy to understand why she would act this way after internalizing years of misogynistic feelings and inadequacy, her constantly disturbing anecdotes make her hard to watch, let alone empathize with.

The series seems to be self-aware enough to recognize these qualities about Velma, but it’s unclear if this is intentional or an attempt to make viewers laugh at her flaws. “You think every girl deep down looks like you, but you’re wrong,” asserts popular girl Olive (Fortune Feamster) after the Hot Girls of Crystal Cove films offer a change of “Ugo” to avoid upsetting serial killer run rampants. “In fact, your definition of femininity is more restrictive than ours,” Olive continues.

There are a lot of really funny and laugh out loud moments.

After this brutal removal, Vilma concludes, “I have no idea how to be a woman who doesn’t judge other women.” Ultimately, Velma came to terms with being “politics and spectacles” compared to her traditionally attractive peers, realizing that both ideologies should be respected equally. But it is a lesson that seems hollow. It’s almost as if the writers made her sober enough to overlook her strange behavior.

Velma isn’t the only character who has undergone a strange transformation. Shaggy, who goes by his birth name Norville on the series, starts out as little more than a wannabe. His only concern is wooing Velma, and when he is not actively trying to get her attention, he schemes to make himself look attractive to her. This is a plot thread that was later sabotaged, but the schtick wears itself out long before that.

Fortunately, the humor doesn’t rely on Velma’s jokes or Norville’s dissonant new persona at work. There are so many really funny, laugh out loud moments in every episode that you don’t share at all. This is Scooby-Doo through the same adult lens that made DC Harley Quinn series Such a hit, and when it works, it works very well.

Daphne Blake and Fred Jones are characters that many Scooby-Doo fans have written off as posh, privileged teens, especially in the classic series. Funnily enough, in Velma, they become the most interesting members of the cast. Daphne is a wickedly intelligent and funny member of the popular crowd searching for her parents – although her mother (Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes) seems to know more than they let on. Constance Wu is so hilarious as the gorgeous girl with the fiery hair, she would have made a leading woman in the lead instead of Velma.

Glenn Howerton delivers the best portrayal of Fred, never before seen in the Scooby animated world. At the same time, he was selfish, a tad, and very stupid, delivering some of the funniest lines in the entire show. There’s a psychopathic bent that always seemed to be maturing beneath the surface in every version of Fred, and Howerton ups these personality traits in ways that lead to side splits – including Fred going to jail.

For those hoping that Velma would be given personal space to explore her sexuality given her recent unequivocal portrayal as a gay woman, the series gets this mostly right. It wasn’t immediately apparent from the early promotional clips, given Velma’s initial crush on Fred. Velma and Daphne ponder the implications of their relationship beyond friendship and admit that there is much more to it than that. But that confession comes with nothing more than a “blink of an eye and you’ll miss it moment” in one episode.

This prequel gives Velma and Daphne’s relationship a chance to blossom, even if it’s not perfect.

While the girls’ romance has become a major component of the series as it continues, Velma and Daphne’s relationship gets less development than that of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy before they became the couple in the Harley Quinn animated series. At the very least, this prequel gives Velma and Daphne’s relationship a chance to blossom, even if it’s not perfect.

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