Warner Bros. | 2010 | 88 mins. | NR

Scooby-Doo has been around since 1969. In 2010, his eleventh TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated aired on the Cartoon Network. This latest incarnation maintains the essence of the cartoon while bringing the familiar characters into the 21st century. Volume 1 features just four episodes and fairly impressive voice cast, including: Matthew Lillard as Shaggy (reprising his role from the feature films), and the original Shaggy himself, Casey Kasem, as Shaggy’s dad. As a longtime fan of Scooby-Doo, I was pleased with the inclusion of Kasem, as I think he’s a legend in the annals of cartoon voiceover work.

Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated - Season One, Volume OneNaturally, whenever a classic cartoon relaunches, there’s always a fear that it’s not going to live up to the original. Or worse, society has changed so much that what once seemed funny, is now passé. Besides Shaggy and his dad, Mystery Incorporated brings back all the old familiar faces. Scooby (voiced by the prolific Frank Welker) is as scared and bewildered as ever, and Fred (Frank Welker), Daphne (Grey DeLisle), and Velma (Mindy Cohn) complete the quintet of investigators.

Along the way, we get to meet the crew’s parents who provide quite a few comedic moments. Fred’s dad is the Mayor (Gary Cole). As a result, Fred is often in trouble for pointing out fake ghosts. After all, much of Crystal Cove’s economy is derived from tourists coming to witness paranormal activity and see haunted areas.

Shaggy’s parents have some money, and are troubled by their son’s sloppiness and love of eating. Daphne’s parents have raised four high achieving daughters; Daisy, Dawn, Dorothy, and Delilah, so having another daughter who traipses around with a ‘weird’ set of friends is troubling. The level-headed, sometimes sarcastic, Velma is there to try and keep everyone in line, while she nurses a mad crush on Shaggy.

Sheriff Stone, voiced by Patrick Warburton, provides a foe for the gang, because he thinks they get in his way of keeping order. New character Angel Dynamite (Vivica A. Fox) is a sexy 70s DJ whose studio provides a place for the kids to hang out and get some adult advice. The mix of the old and new characters is good, as it gives older fans something for nostalgic purposes, while giving newer fans something they can hopefully relate to.

The essence of the show remains true to its roots. Each episode presents the gang with a new mystery to unravel, and the kids sleuth their way through to the eventual unmasking of the villain. Unlike the previous series, Mystery Incorporated connects each episode through a gradually revealed mystery about the disappearance of a previous group of four detective teens and their pet. The addition of the ongoing mystery gives the show more depth and cohesion than it previously had. Many will argue that part of the appeal of Scooby-Doo is its madcap silliness, but I love the new series’ connectedness, even if some of the silliness is sacrificed along the way.

Available now, this standard DVD includes no special features.