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As a lifelong Scooby-Doo fan, can honestly say that I am overjoyed that SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! has finally come to DVD in a boxed set containing seasons one and two of the cowardly canine sleuths adventures (woo-hoo! no more episode compilations!!!). When Scooby-Doo hit the airwaves thirty-five years ago, there was no way to know that the character would have this tremendous longevity. Nor would anyone have guessed that the animated character of Scooby-Doo would become a phenomenon; spawning a whole slew of additional television shows, direct-to-video sequels and finally, a live action movie, which is giving rise to its own sequel. Letís face it, Scooby-Doo is not only one of the most popular animated characters of all time- he is a franchise with a license to print money (heck, I havenít even mentioned the merchandising!).

Ok, even if time has genetically altered Scooby-Doo, changing him from a Great Dane into a cash cow, he is still my all time favorite Saturday Morning cartoon character. I have been steadily watching (and re-watching) the exploits of Scooby-Doo and the gang from Mystery Inc. for more years than I care to admit to, but they still remain a whole heck of a lot of fun (and for this reviewer, have a lot of nostalgic charm). The basic premise of SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! finds the members of Mystery Inc. stumbling onto supernatural happenings that always turn out to be a front for criminal activity. Following the clues, these "meddling kids" always manage to solve various crimes that leave "the men and women of law enforcement" baffled.

Usually teamed with his pal, eating buddy and fellow coward Norville 'Shaggy' Rogers, Scooby-Doo and his best bud are the two members of Mystery Inc. least likely to solve a mystery on their own (or to start investigating one, for that matter). Of course, the real brains and deductive reasoning of Mystery Inc. would have to be the bookish Velma Dinkley (whom Iíve always suspected was a hot babe beneath her glasses and turtleneck sweater). As a member of Mystery Inc., Daphne Blake has looks, charm and money going for her (but she didnít earn the nickname "Danger Prone Daphne" for nothing). Finally, we come to Freddy Jones, the blond haired leader of Mystery Inc., who is certainly the driving force behind the Scooby Gang (but isnít quite as competent as heíd like everyone to believe). The vocal talent behind our intrepid heroes includes, Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Stefanianna Christopherson, Heather North and Nicole Jaffe.

SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS ($65) comes to DVD in a four disc boxed set that features the following twenty-five episodes: What A Night For A Knight, A Clue For Scooby-Doo, Hassle In The Castle, Mine Your Own Business, Decoy For A Dognapper, What The Hex Is Going On?, Never Ape And Ape Man, Foul Play In Funland, The Backstage Rage, Bedlam In The Big Top, A Gaggle Of Galloping Ghosts, Scooby-Doo And A Mummy Too!, Which Witch Is Which?, Go Away Ghost Ship, Spooky Space Kook, A Night Of Fright Is No Delight, That's Snow Ghost, Nowhere To Hyde, Mystery Mask Mix-Up, Jeepers It's The Creeper, Scooby's Night With A Frozen Fright, The Haunted House Hang-Up, A Tiki Scare Is No Fair, Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Werewolf? and Don't Fool With A Phantom.

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Overall, Warner has done a very good job with the episodes, which do look better on DVD, than they do on retransmissions across Cartoon Network. Of course, the thirty-five-year-old film elements do show a fair share of minor blemishes. There are some nicks and scratches, plus there are dust specks that have been printed into the film elements at the time of the original production.

Of course, all of this is relatively minor and indicative of the shows age and production limitations. Additionally, film grain slightly is noticeable, throughout the episodes. Still, as I am rather fond of saying, SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! looks as though it were animated by Team Xerox, so I donít think anyone watches the show for its visual qualities. Colors are stable and appear fairly vivid. Blacks are solid, whites are fairly clean and contrast is about as good as it gets for this type of vintage 2D animation. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are pretty much what one would expect from Saturday Morning cartoons from thirty-five years ago; all the dialogue is intelligible, but the sound effects and music are low to mid fidelity. Still, the tracks are pretty clean sounding and are free from major distortions. No other language soundtracks are provided on the DVD, English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.

Music and a bit of animation serve to enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some extras. Funky Fashion is a four-minute program that looks at the Scooby Gangís ever-unchanging wardrobe. How To Draw Scooby-Doo And The Gang is a three-minute express course inÖ well, you guessed it. Scooby-Doo Street Smarts runs two minutes and lets average folks talk about what they loved about the show. Scooby-Doo's Ultimate Fans clocks in at eight minutes and visits with the Scooby collectors and the Scooby obsessed. America Loves Scooby is somewhat lame, but it is a music video featuring clips from the show played to the title song. The Scooby-Doo Challenge is a brief trivia game, while a few animated promo trailers close out the extras.

To reiterated what I stated above, this Scooby-Doo fan is overjoyed that SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS have finally arrived on DVD. The episodes look and sound just fine, which should make fans happy. If you are new to the Doo, or if you have been following the cowardly canine sleuthís adventures for the last thirty five years, you will definitely want to add SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS to your collection. Recommended.



Scooby Doo, Where Are You! - The Complete First and Second Seasons


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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