AVAHS – A Scooby-Doo! Christmas Review

Plot: Scooby and the gang wind up in Winter Hollow for Christmas only to find that the place has been terrorized for years by the Headless Snowman. Each Christmas, the townsfolk are driven out of their homes by the monster, causing most of them to despise Christmas. Can Shaggy, Scooby, Fred, Velma and Daphne figure out who the Headless Snowman really is and melt him for good?

Breakdown: What’s New Scooby-Doo? was definitely one of the more popular branches of the Scooby-Doo franchise tree. I watched it quite a bit when it was on, especially enjoying its awesome theme song, but I never remembered it having a Christmas special.

A Scooby-Doo! Christmas is an enjoyable but overall fairly forgettable Christmas special. Story-wise, it doesn’t do anything to stand out from any other Scooby-Doo episode outside of mentions of Christmas, the very ending where they give gifts and stand around the Christmas tree, and a song or two.

A reviewer on IMDB said the mystery was way too easy, but I kinda disagree. I really thought it was the sheriff until they pointed out that the sheriff was acting suspicious, which is usually an indicator that they’re a red herring. I will agree with that reviewer in saying that the absolute ending was bunk, though.

Spoiler warning, even though this episode is literally turning 20 years old next year.

The culprit was a local professor, Higginson, whose great-grandfather was robbed by a man named Blackjack Brody who ended up dying in a snowman after being chased by an angry mob who were tired of being robbed by him. How did he end up in the snowman? I dunno, but it created a legend of a Headless Snowman. The professor’s great-grandfather being robbed of all his gold ruined Christmas forever….somehow. I guess that would make Christmasses difficult because they’d be rich otherwise, but he just ended up hating Christmas for some reason.

This isn’t even his dad he’s talking about. It’s his great-grandfather. Did they never recover enough financially for Christmasses to be fun anymore? Did their family just continue to be poor for all time? That can’t be true because the culprit is literally a professor. He has to have SOME money, I assume. Getting degrees ain’t cheap. He did get robbed on Christmas eve, but it’s not like anyone died. Is it really just a family perpetually mourning their lost ultra-wealth even when the man who robbed their ancestor is long since dead?

Using the Headless Snowman legend as a cover (by the way, the snowman’s not really headless. He can just take his head off and put it back on.), the professor created what is quite possibly one of the most implausible monster….I guess I’ll go with ‘robots’ to ever grace Scooby-Doo.

The Headless Snowman is legitimately made of snow from top to bottom. It has a cone-like…cockpit? in the center to allow the professor to manually control it. All of it. Every single part of it. It’s exactly like it’s living. The Headless Snowman can even detach his head and the head will still make noise and be perfectly animated. All of it is made of and connected by snow. I have no idea whatsoever how this thing works.

So the professor gets caught, his snowman melted, and he laments that he looked for his great-grandfather’s gold in the town every Christmas season by tormenting the townsfolk and….destroying shit. Because that’s definitely the most logical approach to that. Fred and Velma deduce that Brody hid the gold he stole in his home’s fireplace, masked as the bricks in his chimney.

Coincidentally enough, Brody’s old home was one of the homes the professor destroyed earlier that day, which left the chimney bricks in a pile of rubble. The professor accepts his jail-y fate, but, in a show of Christmas spirit, the town not only refuses to arrest him, but they also let him keep the damn gold.

Look, that’s real nice and everything, Merry Christmas and all, but this guy gets no sympathy from me. Did he even know his great-grandfather? This isn’t a matter of justice because the town actually tried to help his great-grandfather back then, and kinda succeeded considering Brody died as a result of trying to run from them. He just wants the gold for himself, making off like it’s in honor of his great-grandfather.

He tormented this whole town, destroying buildings and homes, traumatizing children and ruining the holidays of so many families for many years, AND he nearly got Shaggy and Scooby killed when they fell into a freezing cold pond because of him.

To his credit, he does share the gold with the town to help make amends, but I still don’t think that’s enough. He still gets to keep however much he wants, and he still gets no jail time.

Bear in mind, most of what he did was completely pointless. There was no point in scaring the townsfolk, chasing people all over and destroying people’s homes. Why would he think the gold would be literally anywhere else but in Brody’s old house? Why would he not be able to find out which house was Brody’s house? They seemed to know exactly which house it was after they deduced that the gold bricks were used as regular bricks. Some professor you are.

Also, I refuse to believe that he can completely destroy a chimney with his bare…..snowman….sticks…and not reveal the gold when gently rubbing it reveals the gold.

All in all, while the professor’s motives and ridiculous beyond reason plans were mind-boggling to say the least, this was a perfectly fine Christmas special. It’s also quite star-studded, featuring the voices of Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids) as the young Tommy, Kathy Kinney of The Drew Carey Show as the Sheriff, Peter Scolari as Professor Higginson, Jim Belushi as Asa, whom I didn’t even remember, and frickin’ Mark Hamill as Tommy’s dad. And we also can’t forget the amazing Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Mindy Cohn as Velma, Frank Welker as Fred and Gret DeLisle as Daphne.

If you’re in the mood for Scooby and Christmas, this is a decent enough special. I just wish it either had more of an overall focus on Christmas or a better resolution/motive.


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Animating Halloween: Noctober | The Scooby-Doo Show: The Headless Horseman of Halloween Review

Plot: On the night of Halloween, Shaggy, Scooby-Doo, Velma, Fred, Daphne and Scooby’s cousin, Scooby-Dum, attend a costume party at the mansion of the descendant of Icabod Crane. In this universe, Icabod Crane was indeed real, and he supposedly was killed after a run-in with the legendary Headless Horseman. It’s nothing but a story, but the Headless Horseman makes an appearance at the party looking for a replacement head.

Breakdown: Well, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without some Scooby-Doon, would it? Plus, a send-up to The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? Count me in!

While this episode/special is enjoyable enough, made me smile several times, there’s not a whole lot to separate it from your typical Scooby-Doo episode outside of one element – Scooby-Dum.

So, uh…where did this character come from and why does he exist? He’s literally just Scooby-Doo if he were a lot, well, dumber, and if he was a bit of a hick. That’s it. I mean, he’s likable and endearing, but his shtick is constantly just ‘he’s super dumb’ and also ‘haha, he’s named Scooby-Dum BECAUSE HE’S DUMB!’

The mystery was also kinda weak if you ask me. I mean, it’s almost never actually a supernatural being in Scooby-Doo, and if you go into this knowing that fact then the actual culprit will be very obvious about halfway into the episode.

…Although, I do wonder, if Icabod Crane was real in this universe and he was supposedly killed by the Headless Horseman, but this one was fake…..does that mean…..Hmmmm.

The Headless Horseman of Halloween is a pretty decent Scooby-Doo Halloween special, so if you have the means and you love yourself some Scooby goodness check it out.


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AVAHS – The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries: The Nutcracker Scoob Review

AVAHS - TNSDMNS

Plot: Shaggy, Scooby, Daphne and Fred are helping put on a Christmas pageant for a bunch of children. An old scrooge arrives named Mr. Nickelby, and he declares that he plans on kicking them out of the building immediately. They resist all of his attempts, but a meddlesome ghost appears who is seemingly on Nickelby’s side. Can the Scooby gang figure out who this ghost is and stop Mr. Nickelby or will the pageant, and Christmas, be ruined for the children?

Breakdown: There are several Christmas specials in Scooby-Doo’s long, long history and this….sure is one of them.

Look, I love Scooby-Doo, I do, but there’s no denying that they can produce some stinkers, and this one is quite ripe.

First things first, this special took place during the ‘Fred and Velma are inexplicably gone for five years’ period of Scooby-Doo. They each have a role in a couple of specials during this series, but it’s the only time they appear in that five year span. Fred appears here, for reasons not given, but Velma does not, which doesn’t bode well for me because Velma’s my favorite character.

Yes, lose Fred and Velma but keep Daphne and bring in Scrappy. Logic is fun.

As for why Fred and Velma were booted from the franchise for so long, I have no clue. It was stated in-universe that they supposedly got jobs outside of mystery solving, which makes some degree of sense, but as for why they were written off in a meta standpoint, I don’t know. Some people are theorizing it had something to do with the likability of the characters, others said it might have been trouble with their voice actors – who really knows?

Secondly, this set up is so ridiculously overly done, even for 1984. The little children (who may or may not be orphans, it’s never really made clear) are participating in a Christmas pageant in a ‘building’ (no idea what this building is either) and some literal scrooge (he even looks the part and says ‘humbug’) threatens to kick them out and ruin their Christmas.

I had to pause when they had the little girl react to this news because they actually put in that stock sad violin music to really drive the emotion home.

Third, the reasons behind him doing this make no sense. The only motivation he has for wanting this building, that his family previously owned, is because a huge emerald was left to him in a will (supposedly by a family member who owned the building) and it’s in the building somewhere.

Uhh….Just ask for it? If it was left to you in a will, then no one else can lay claim to it even if they own the building. Just ask ‘hey, guys, can I look for this emerald my family member left me? Then I’ll be on my way and not ruin Christmas.’ They’d probably be cool with it.

Why does he not own this building by the way? Did the family member sell it before they died? Why leave this seemingly priceless emerald in the building if they did sell it?

The location of the emerald makes even less sense. His family member left behind a riddle to its location, because of course do that instead of doing what a sane person would do and just, ya know, be upfront about it. The riddle says;

“On Christmas eve, your goal’s not far.

You’ll find the emerald in the pageant’s star.”

….So….they wrote that riddle after they were already making plans to put on this pageant? Which was, what, one or two weeks, max? Is this family member even in the ground yet?

They assume this means the emerald is in the literal star decoration for the pageant’s tree, but it actually means its hidden in the taint of a nutcracker toy. See, the pageant is The Nutcracker Suite….but…it also isn’t because earlier they were rehearsing A Christmas Carol. Unless they’re planning on putting on numerous Christmas shows, in which case, The Nutcracker Suite still isn’t the main event. The toy wouldn’t be the star even if they were only putting on The Nutcracker Suite because it’s a TOY. The star would be the actor playing the Nutcracker.

So, by that logic, this probably-not-even-cold-yet family member’s last act should have been shoving an emerald up Freddy’s ass.

What would they have done if someone threw away this seemingly inconspicuous nutcracker toy?

The resolution is also lame. The ghost was Mr. Nickelby’s French maid, who somehow completely loses her heavy accent when she’s playing the ghost. Admittedly, she’s the funniest one here as she dusts literally everything and everyone with her feather duster, but her only motivation was ‘Ooh emerald valuable. I want it.’

Mr. Nickelby is also changed instantly because the little girl from earlier saves his cat. Yay, I guess. They still ruined the pageant, but he brought Christmas gifts for all the little boys and girls and tore up a condemnation order he had done on the building, which isn’t how that works, but everyone’s happy.

The end.

This special had a few good moments and some decent humor, but the story is bllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh and badly written blah at that. I don’t recall seeing other Scooby-Doo Christmas specials, but there have to be better ones that this.

At the very least, the theme song is really groovy…..until you realize that it sounds horribly dated for a mid 80s show. It sounds like it’s stuck in the 60s or 70s.

And somehow it really seems like the animation has only gotten worse since the first series, and that’s saying something.

Fun Fact: Despite what I just said, I have owned a battery-operated Christmas Scooby-Doo doll for about 15 years now. Still works, but it’s weaker than it was. It sings Christmas songs and wags its tail. It’s super cute.


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Animating Halloween | Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! Review

Plot: The Scooby gang enjoys Halloween while doing what they do best – solving mysteries. However, things get a little complicated when a local pumpkin patch turns into monstrous creatures bent on destroying the town of Crystal Cove and turning everyone into jack-o-lantern creatures.

Breakdown: Modern day Scooby-Doo is a weird area to venture into. I mean, granted, Scooby-Doo has always been kinda weird, but the way that the franchise has changed over the years, for better or worse, is both difficult to watch and kinda welcome at the same time.

Scooby-Doo tends to be very meta nowadays, and they’re constantly using self-referential humor. They also try to keep themselves modern as much as possible in their writing, which, again, sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

They also just tend to run with the idea that Scooby-Doo can crossover with pretty much anything. They’ve had crossover events with the WWE, Lego, Batman, Supernatural (I still can’t believe they pulled that off) and even, I’m not lying, an entire movie with Bobby Flay as a main character called Scooby-Doo! And the Gourmet Ghost….

Speaking of Batman, I really forget sometimes that actual Batman is a part of the Scooby-Doo universe, and what better way to remind me of that fact than by having the villain of the opening scene being Scarecrow….in his Scarecrow outfit….while wearing a different Scarecrow costume on top of that?

And this isn’t just a flippant fly-by cameo either. He’s a significant part of the entire movie….So are Bill Nye and Elvira, but that’s besides the point.

Now, I’m not saying them upping the weird ante is bad. Sometimes, the dialogue is a little cringey, but I actually tend to enjoy myself a lot whenever I watch a modern Scooby-Doo production, whether it be TV shows or movies….although I did hear Scoob! sucked……Anyway, they always tend to have snappy writing, good jokes, fun moments, good character interactions (And I like how they’ve changed the characters over time.), decent animation, good music, and even legitimate scares. All of those apply in Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!

Even if most of the movie is a big chase scene, it’s a fun and exciting chase scene that seems to have real stakes.

Although, I do have to say that the ending reveal didn’t make a lot of sense.

I’m not going to mention who the culprit was to avoid total spoilers, but Velma was actually right. Despite seeing many real monsters and supernatural events over the years, she refused to believe the living jack-o-lanterns attacking the city were real. And they weren’t. They were just drones. How they never managed to find that out for themselves, I have no idea. They smashed so many of those jack-o-lanterns, there’s no way they didn’t discover a drone or parts within some of them. They just squish like any other pumpkin.

Also, unless the culprit managed to sneak a drone in every pumpkin and jack-o-lantern in town, there’s no way they should have been shown turning into the jack-o-lantern creatures. The pumpkins literally carved themselves and the jack-o-lanterns just sprang to life.

Secondly, she says the way that the ‘alpha’ jack-o-lantern could drain the power from electronic devices when it got close to them was because it had an EMP inside of it, which also doesn’t make any sense because some electronic devices were completely unaffected, most notably the other lesser jack-o-lantern drones.

I might just be splitting hairs there, but in a series meant to be about using logic to solve mysteries I think it’s appropriate to nitpick sometimes, even if it is Scooby-Doo.

Overall, this was a blast to watch, and it really got me into a Scooby mood and a Halloweeny mood. My biggest complaint is that, yeah, some of the dialogue and jokes, especially where Daphne is concerned, are kinda cringey. I mean ‘torch-splaining’? Using ‘Mary Sue’ as if it’s a compliment? Saying “friendship is OP.”? Come on.

If you’re a Scooby-Doo fan, this is a great watch around Halloween, and I really recommend it.

Rating: 8.5/10


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