The cast and co-creator of HBO Max’s new animated comedy Velma are ready for adult Scooby-Doo fans to see how the new series merges today’s sensibilities with the old-school characters.
Shadow and Act’s managing editor Trey Mangum talked to co-creator Charlie Grandy and stars Sam Richardson, Glenn Howerton and Constance Wu about the show and what viewers can expect, which is, according to everyone’s answers, a ton of laugh-out-loud comedy.
Richardson, who plays Norville (aka Shaggy) said he was regularly laughing through reading the script, the table reads, and the animatic presentations.
“I think as far as adult comedy goes, this show…does adult comedy very well and it’s very funny, so anyone who’s a fan of those things will watch this show and it’ll check those boxes. It’s incredibly funny,” he said. “…And for fans of the original show…I think it’ll be an exciting way to see these characters reimagined and also to see the possible origins of these characters, where they came from and what point A to the point B that you know them as.”
Howerton, who voices Fred, said that what he loves about playing this unvarnished version of the character is Fred’s journey toward the more mature Fred we know from the original shows and films. The Fred that we see in Velma, however, is a version of the character who has lived in a bubble and doesn’t realize exactly how rude he actually is.
“Clearly a big part of the show is the satire of it and I just think that Fred was just a perfect vehicle to satirize white male entitlement, privilege, all things that are part of the social conversation right now,” Howerton said. “I think he was just too perfect of a vessel not to do that. It’s not really the Fred that we know, but I think you can look at the Fred that we grew up with and go, ‘I can see how that guy used to be that guy.'”
Grandy said working on Velma has been able to keep in the tradition of tying drama into comedy, while keeping longtime Scooby-Doo fans happy.
“I’ve been so lucky to work on great shows. The Office was the first scripted show I worked on and it had so much drama underneath,” he said. “Michael Scott was such this great tragicomic character and the longing between Jim and Pam and to go to The Mindy Project after that and work on [a] rom-com…I’ve always worked on these comedies with a lot of real feeling underneath it…I love Rick and Morty–I love their ability to comment on a genre but also exist within that genre…while also landing an emotional story every week. I think the way those writers put that show together is incredible.”
Regarding Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Grandy added, “I loved the comedy, I loved the horror growing up and I just wanted the opportunity to do that version for adults so you could enjoy the horror, you can enjoy the comedy and enjoy the mystery.”
Wu, who voices Daphne, said that she is intrigued by the push and pull between Daphne and Velma and what that means for Daphne’s character arc.
“I think what’s always fun when you’re playing any character is when you can find the antithesis in something,” she said. “I think both attraction and aversion to each other and meeting that resistance and finding out what that resistance comes from is a great dynamic to play, it’s ripe for comedy but also a lot of tenderness and also for finding out more about yourself. This is high school, this is what high school kids are doing. They’re experimenting, they’re trying to figure themselves out and who they want to be.”
Velma is now streaming on HBO Max.