TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E14 – Spooky Space Kook ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
December 13, 1969

Episode 14 – “Spooky Space Kook”

A strange shaped aircraft lands in a field. The gang runs out of gas near an old farm house. They run into a gun-toting farmer who thinks they are newspeople checking out “it”, a UFO.

The gang explains they simply want to buy some gas, he provides it to them, and they decide to solve the mystery.

The gang goes to a nearby abandoned air field. They find ghostly green footprints leading inside and follow the trail.

The spooky space kook is up to something on the airfield and tries to scare away the gang while they try to solve the mystery.

Is this ghost from outer space for real? What is it up to on the air field? These questions and more are answered on this episode.

Summary

Quite the combination of a ghost and an alien. It’s kind of funny how so many episodes center around the antagonist being some type of ghost. Wouldn’t the alien have been scary enough? Why did we need the ghost part added?

This is a fairly straightforward episode, with the first appearance of an allegedly other-worldly enemy. I’m starting to wonder how the mystery gang is always out driving around in places where they can conveniently run into mysteries, but these wouldn’t be any fun if they didn’t.

Not much Scooby and Shaggy goofing around, but a pretty good mystery. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E13 – Which Witch is Which? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
December 6, 1969

Episode 13 – “Which Witch is Which?”

The gang is on a fishing trip, but not having much luck. Scooby is fishing in a pail in the back of the mystery machine. Fred takes a detour through a creepy swamp and they think they might be lost. They meet a zombie on the side of the road. They drive away to some nearby dwellings. A fisherman tells them that the zombie was created by a witch using voodoo magic.

The witch showed up about six months ago and the two fisherman were scared away from the swamp by the witch. Others in the town are scared as well, leaving the gang a mystery to solve.

Scooby, with his neverending appetite mistakenly eats some jumping beans. Shortly thereafter, Scoob and Shaggy go searching out clues at the second fisherman, Zeb’s place.

A furry swamp creature and Scooby have a cute encounter. The swamp thing doesn’t find Scoob’s licking his face very inviting.

Scoob can’t resist his appetite … but these jumping beans play havok on his stomach

They find a voodoo doll of Zeb.

Shaggy and Scoob share their finding with the rest of the gang, which head into the swamp. They find more voodoo dolls of all of them. The witch is trying to scare them from figuring out what she’s up to in the swamp.

Will the gang ignore the alleged voodoo curse and figure out what the witch is up to in the swamp? What’s the story behind the zombie? These questions and more are answered by the end of this busy episode.

Summary

Another episode where the creators think we needed two different monsters. Either the witch or the zombie would have been scary enough for a 20 minute episode, but instead we get both. And why would a witch create a zombie to do her bidding? There is an explanation, although thin. They could have parlayed these two monsters into two separate episodes.

The zombie is not drawn very scary looking. Probably intentional, but he doesn’t invoke the scares of other baddies in the series.

The actual mystery behind what’s going on in the swamp is pretty good. This show set the standard for how much can be packed in a 20 odd minute episode: the mystery gang, a mystery to solve, Scooby and Shaggy’s zany antics and spooky bad guys trying to scare the gang away. It’s easy to see why this show was warmly received by audiences upon release. Great writing, voice acting and stories. Another easy to recommend episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

FIRST LOOK: Creepshow (Animated TV Special) – Shudder

Creepshow Season 1 is available on Shudder, Creepshow Season 2 is now filming

Some exciting horror-related news dropped 9/24 concerning the anthology Creepshow series at Shudder. The announcement came originally via a Shudder tweet which was promptly picked up by various news sources, including Bloody-disgusting further below.

While we knew that Creepshow Season 2 filming was delayed due to the pandemic (it has since started filming in Atlanta), we didn’t know they were secretly working on a fully animated Creepshow TV special that will contain two stories from the Stephen King family in time for Halloween 2020!

Shudder details. “Though Greg Nicotero and his team are hard at work shooting season 2 (coming in 2021), they’ve crafted a fully animated Creepshow special for us just in time for Halloween, featuring two tales to die for: “Survivor Type,” based on the short story by Stephen King and adapted by Nicotero, stars Kiefer Sutherland (24, Designated Survivor) as a man determined to stay alive alone on a deserted island no matter what the cost. “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” based on the short story by Joe Hill and adapted by Melanie Dale, stars Joey King (The Kissing Booth, The Act) as a teen whose family road trip includes a visit to the gravest show on earth. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ).”

“Creepshow” Animated Special Coming to Shudder in October; Based on Stephen King and Joe Hill Tales! – Bloody Disgusting

Am not familiar with Joe Hill’s story, but am very familiar with “Survivor Type” from King’s collection, Skeleton Crew (an awesome name for a horror short story collection, btw).

Creeepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero has been trying to figure out how to adapt King’s “Survivor Type” on a budget for quite some time. This was the very first story King and Nicotero discussed being adapted. As it turns out King’s story “Gray Matter” was used instead for season one.

Nicotero says he realized very quickly that they couldn’t shoot the script in a way that would do it justice. “We couldn’t go to the beach to shoot, because we didn’t have the cash to do it,” he reveals. “So after a little bit of struggling back and forth, I went to my production team and just said, ‘Guys, we’re not going to be able to make this script right. I don’t want to shoot it on a lake and then digitally erase all of the trees, or shoot it in a parking lot with a blue screen behind it.’”

Creepshow Showrunner Reveals “Lost” Stephen King Episode Details

Apparently the animated route was the way to get this project completed. No idea what the quality of the animation will be like (the first season animation segments received mixed reviews), but I remember reading the original graphic novel of the first movie. Great stuff. You can still find that out there on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions (recommended!).

If you’re looking for great horror graphic novels to read, Creepshow is recommended

Speaking of books, there is a new young adult paperback just released this month called Creepshow: The Taker. It’s not aimed at adults, so keep that in mind. Not sure if it a graphic novel either, so adult buyers beware. You can search Amazon and other booksellers to find if interested.

Back to the animated special we’re spotlighting in this post.

Also announced, Kiefer Sutherland, who’s last role in anything by Stephen King was playing Ace in Stand By Me, is the voice actor for the shipwrecked doctor in “Survivor Type.” Jack Bauer meets Stephen King, oh yeah. Joey King (no relation to Stephen King), the actress will be the voice actor for Joe Hill’s story.

If this special episode goes over well, maybe we’ll get a full season order of a Creepshow animated series from Shudder? I’d be interested in a full series. They can make animated episodes on a lower budget than live action, so why not? I remember reading that each episode of Star Trek The Animated Series (1973) were created on a budget of $75,000 per episode — and that included the voice actor fees. They can’t do it that inexpensively in 2020, but it shows the budgetary requirements, not to mention pandemic restrictions, favor animated productions.

Creepshow: The Animated TV Special will stream exclusively on Shudder on October 26, 2020.

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E12 – Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 29, 1969

Episode 12 – “Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too”

The gang visits a museum to view the Mummy of Anka exhibit. Dr. Nagim tells them of the Mummy’s curse: that if Anka was ever removed from his tomb, he would turn them to stone.

Shaggy finds this enigmatic coin and the professor explains that he hasn’t figured out what the coin is for. Somehow (and this is a major head scratcher), Shaggy pockets the coin.

The professor has them go into town and pick up some sandwiches. While there Shaggy tries to pay for the sandwiches with a dollar bill and the coin. He explains he “somehow must have stuck it in his pocket” and then the gang just accepts that and returns.

After they are back at the museum, they discover the professor has been turned to stone. Upon further investigation, they find the mummy is missing from his coffin and there is a broken window. The mystery is on!

Scoob is playful as ever with a duplicate cat sidetrack. These odd sidetrack moments with Scooby Doo keep this series fun. What does this have to do with the story? Absolutely nothing. The real cat just appears alongside a statue and Scooby is confused. I guess this is the dog and cat curiosity explored, but it’s a fun sidetrack from the seriousness of the mummy out of his coffin, the professor turned to stone, and Shaggy accidentally pilfering an artifact coin from the museum.

From here, the mummy chases Scoob and Shaggy, murmuring over and over “Coin! Coin!”

Why does the mummy want the coin? Will anybody else be turned to stone? How will the gang solve this mystery? You’ll need to tune in for these answers and more.

Summary

One of my favorite titles of the first season. Good to see another classic monster, The Mummy making an appearance. When growing up The Mummy always frightened me with that slow gait, arms outstretched, just walking around with a low, guttural moan.

Upon rewatching, I was a little annoyed with Shaggy outright stealing from the museum. Maybe that was going to be a lesson to kids not to steal? Might have been better to have the rest of the mystery gang call Shaggy out on his lame explanation for just “somehow putting the coin in his pocket.” The coin turns out to be a very pivotal piece of the plot and there could have been several other ways for the gang to explore the origins of the coin.

The other part that doesn’t make sense is why would a mummy curse involve turning people to stone? Medusa is a monster they could have used in a Scooby Doo episode to have the whole turn to stone curse explored, but a mummy? Maybe the writers were stoned when they came up with this mashup? Mummys are frightening enough on their own just lumbering around, they don’t need to turn people to stone, but OK, it’s there.

At the end of the day, great monster, good mystery, but some very bizarre and unnecessary story devices that take away from my enjoyment and pulled me out of the story. Shaggy isn’t a thief, but that fact here seems completely overlooked by the gang. They can solve mysteries but can’t see one of their own has acted completely out of character? Still, a pretty good overall episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E11 – A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 22, 1969

Episode 11 – “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts”

On their way to check out Franken Castle, the gang stop and see a gypsy. She looks into a crystal ball and predicts evil and danger for them, warning them not to visit the castle. They won’t let the superstition stop them.

Dracula meets them at the gate and tries to warn them away from entering. He turns into a vampire bat the drawbridge starts to close. Frankenstein’s monster chases the gang back onto the land away from the castle, but Daphne is trapped on the other side of the drawbridge.

Shaggy and Scooby use a lasso to swing Indiana Jones mode over an alligator and land on the other side to lower the drawbridge. Suddenly, the werewolf appears and chases after them. Daphne is pursued by Frankenstein’s monster. With the drawbridge lowered, Fred and Velma go across in search of the others, only to run into Dracula who threatens that all their souls will be trapped in the castle forever for daring to enter the structure.

Will Velma find her glasses? Will the gang reunite and figure out what’s going on with the trio of monsters? Will the mystery be solved?

Summary

Talk about throwing all the Universal monsters at the Mystery, Inc. gang! Not just one monster, but three of them: the werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula! This is an amazing episode for not only children — because the monsters portrayal aren’t overly scary, but spooky, thus encouraging young audiences to check out horror.

The mad scientist gag scene with Shaggy and Scooby is among the best of their antics in any episode to date.

The mystery of the castle and why the monsters are there trying to scare away the gang is secondary to the horror.

I love this episode, it’s by far my favorite of season 1 to date and highly recommended. It’s one of those classic cartoons you can watch over and over, maybe for an entire lifetime. As a child, adult, plenty here to enjoy. Great writing, voice work, animation, the whole package.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E10 – Bedlam in the Big Top ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 15, 1969

Episode 10 – “Bedlam in the Big Top”

Max and Sampson, two circus acts have their bike snap. They believe it’s the work of the ghost clown. The mystery gang is driving along and run into Max and Sampson. They visit the circus and talk to the barker who explains that the ghost clown is haunting the circus and running off the carnies.

The ghost clown hypnotizes Scooby and has him walk the trapeze wire. Shaggy and Velma move a trampoline under Scooby. Velma throws Scoob an umbrella to help him balance. Scoob bounces up and down on the trampoline playfully, followed by Velma and Shaggy. Scooby lands in some balloons that rise him back into the air. The ghost clown throws darts at the balloons and pops them and Scoob falls.

Shaggy and Velma catch him with the help of moving the trampoline.

The ghost clown hypnotizes Daphne next, forcing her to ride a unicycle all over the place.

The gang try to wake her from her trance before she hurts herself. Once rescuing Daphne from the trance, the gang decide to hatch a plan to trap the ghost clown in a cage so he can be unmasked.

Will the gang capture and unmask the ghost clown? Who is the ghost clown and why are they haunting the circus?

Summary

This episode takes place in another entertaining backdrop: the circus. The idea of a clown that’s haunting the other carnival workers and then the mystery gang that work to unmask the villain is well done. The hypnotism is nice added touch including how Scooby and Shaggy use that to their advantage.

This is a fun episode that sees the gang forced into trances and doing dangerous, comedic acts. One of my favorite parts is Shaggy in lion tamer mode and Scoob saving him.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Fox’s The X-Files: Alburquerque taking page from Star Trek: Lower Decks – will it be adult enough?

The X-Files ran from 1993-2018

While this might seem like the perfect topic for a FIRST LOOK, those are primarily reserved for films and TV that have been ordered, produced and are filming for release. That doesn’t apply with this project — yet — but it’s on the right track toward that end.

Adult animated series are a popular proposition in 2020 and Fox won’t be left out reminding they have deep roots — they’re behind The Simpsons after all. They are now working on an animated spinoff based on The X-Files that sounds like Star Trek: Lower Decks.

Fox is developing The X-Files: Albuquerque from Rocky Russo and Jeremy Sosenko, writers on Netflix’s animated comedy Paradise PD and Comedy Central’s Brickleberry. The new iteration is an animated series about an office full of misfit agents who investigate the X-Files cases too wacky, ridiculous or downright dopey for Mulder and Scully to bother with. They’re basically the X-Files’ B-team.

Fox Developing ‘The X-Files’ Animated Comedy Spin-Off – Deadline

The reason Lower Decks is being referenced is that show focuses on the unsung heroes, the red shirts, the B-squad. The problem I’ve had with that show is how they don’t go far enough. They pull back on the adult nature of the animated series. My feelings are if you’re going to spoof something and call it adult, then make it adult. That means give us some Heavy Metal ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ style nudity, graphic language, adult situations. Basically, with the exception of nudity, we’re talking about Harley Quinn as a template.

Here’s what makes me think this X-Files animated show could be hopelessly neutered (and for the record, hope I’m wrong!). It’s one word that starts with a D. Fox is own by the biggest D that doesn’t end with a K, Disney. The same company owns Marvel, which is behind the very adult Deadpool, but we haven’t heard a new Deadpool announced.

Can Disney go adult? Yes, through Hulu (see: Hulu is the Adult/Mature Disney+, Just ask Hillary Duff). Would like to see Disney continue to use Hulu that way.

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E9 – The Backstage Rage ⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 8, 1969

Episode 9 – “The Backstage Rage”

A puppy dog, a violin case, a bunch of cash equal “counterfeiters!”

Shaggy and Scoob are walking back toward the gang in the Mystery Machine after ordering a pizza and a vehicle passes with a violin case dropping out. Shaggy opens it and it contains a bunch of cash. He phones the gang from a pay phone booth (ahh, the good old days, before cell phones!) and Scoob guards the violin case. Scoob is distracted by a female puppy dog and the violin case is swiped.

How to eat a spinning pizza, courtesy of Scooby Doo!

Scooby explains to the gang how he was duped by the girl dog. They search the area and find a puppet control with Pietro’s Puppet inscribed on it. The mystery has them heading to the strand theater where they run into the doorman playing with a puppet. Turns out he is a hobbyist puppeteer.

They find a real $20 bill at the theater and decide to return to the theater to see if they can solve the mystery and figure out who is counterfeiting bills.

Summary

This episode starts out promising, with Shaggy and Scoob on a pizza mission, but kind of loses focus after that. It’s an odd story blend of puppets and a counterfeiting scheme that never really gets off the ground either with the jokes or the mystery. My least favorite episode of the first season so far. Rating this one as OK. Not recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Doo dies at 87

This past week Scooby Doo’s original co-creator passed away. Ruby was a Saturday morning cartoon innovator for more than 50 years.

Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content president Sam Register said in a statement, “Joe Ruby made Saturday mornings special for so many children, including myself. He was one of the most prolific creators in our industry who gifted us some of animation’s most treasured characters and it was a thrill to host him at our studio. Scooby-Doo has been a beloved companion on screens for more than 50 years, leaving an enduring legacy that has inspired and entertained generations.  We at Warner Bros. Animation have the privilege and honor of carrying on that legacy and send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones.”

Scooby-Doo Co-Creator Joe Ruby Dies at 87

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E8 – Foul Play in Funland ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 1, 1969

Episode 8 – “Foul Play in Funland”

The gang is at the beach when they notice the carnival rundown suddenly light up. It’s not supposed to be open for a week, so the gang visits, only to find a strange robot running around.

Soon the gang is investigating the story behind the robot. Scooby and Shaggy visit the Hall of Mirrors.

What’s up with this robot? They contact the Funland caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins at their house. They act like nothing is wrong.

The gang heads back to Funland to find more odd behavior at the park like the Merry-Go-Round running backwards and the robot juggling in the middle of the park and then running away.

Velma loses her glasses again at one point in the episode. This is becoming a somewhat regular occurrence in this cartoon. Somebody needs to get Velma a backup pair. Didn’t people get backup pairs of glasses in 1969?

Watch this episode to find out if the gang stops the robot and solves the mystery behind the amusement park.

Summary

There’s something eerie about abandoned amusement parks on the beach, This episode captures that haunted atmosphere and the robot running around is weirdly comical. Unlike many of the previous episodes, it’s not a ghost, which makes the episode stand out more. Of course the added fun of Shaggy and Scooby messing around at the dark carnival games, eating hot dogs and cotton candy enhances the episode.

I don’t remember seeing this episode before, other than the snippet featured in the title sequence where the robot is highlighted, so overall it felt new and first time to me. The mystery is a bit on the weak side when we learn the origin of the robot and compare to an early scene, but the episode has a spooky tone running through it. One of the better episodes of the first season seen so far, despite the lame mystery resolution, an eerie setting and fun and mayhem inside an empty amusement park. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

FIRST LOOK: Mike Tyson Mysteries (Animated TV Series) – Hulu

While we’re on the subject of Tyson lately (see: Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. exhibition fight needs more time — delayed until November 28). I’ve started watching Mike Tyson Mysteries adult animated series.

The first three seasons are available on Hulu, complete with a foul-mouthed pigeon voiced by Norm Mcdonald. This show is crazy — and I love the first few episodes watched so far. No surprise that it’s from Warner Bros, the same company behind DC Universe’s Harley Quinn.

There is a fourth season that finished running earlier in February 2020, but that’s not available on Hulu yet as of this writing. For those with access to Adult Swim, reruns could be showing there. The first three seasons should keep interested viewers busy in the meantime.

Iron Mike needs to stay in the entertainment business!

The show has a fairly simple mystery premise and a lean run time of 11 minutes per episode. Mike checks his flock of pigeons and chooses a mystery to solve, then he goes out and solves it along with pigeon, the ghost friend and his adopted daughter.

Mike Tyson Mysteries – Season 1-3 (50 total episodes) are available for streaming on Hulu.