Despite performing well in viewership, the new HBO Max series Velma from executive producer and star Mindy Kaling hasn’t gotten a lot of love from critics or audiences. An adult animated take on the Scooby-Doo franchise that focuses on Velma Dinkley, the show has gotten backlash for what many see as its unsuccessful meta-humor and disrespectful attitude towards its source material.
But while Velma may not be everyone’s cup of tea, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other shows available. There’s a lot that’s out there that can still satisfy fans of adult animation, comedies, mysteries, and everything in between.
10 The Goosebumps TV Series Brings R.L. Stine’s Fantastical Frights To Life
Since its debut in the 1960s, the Scooby-Doo franchise has had a big influence on horror entertainment that’s still fun and appropriate for children. Nowhere is that influence seen more than in R.L. Stine’s popular Goosebumps series of books, which quickly found itself adapted into a live-action TV show as well.
Each episode adapts one of Stine’s novels, with stand-outs being the first episode based on “The Haunted Mask” and “Welcome to Camp Nightmare.” For a more familiar and engaging anthology series that offers fun and scares aplenty, Goosebumps is always a ghoulishly good time.
9 The English Dub Of Ghost Stories Is A Gut-Busting Horror Comedy
The anime series Ghost Stories was originally based on a popular Japanese children’s book series and adapted into an anime in 2000. The Japanese dub of the anime was apparently not that successful and the holders of the show’s Western distribution rights approached ADV Films to produce an English dub for it.
ADV Films was given a lot of freedom to do whatever they wanted with the anime, so they decided to turn what was originally a serious horror drama into a flat-out comedy. With the voice cast given free room to improvise, there’s no shortage of hilarious moments. A lot of these moments come from the profane characters as they react to each other and the supernatural phenomena.
8 Mike Tyson Mysteries Pays Irreverent Homage To Shows Like Scooby-Doo
Mike Tyson Mysteries serves as an irreverent take on old Hanna-Barbera mystery series like Scooby-Doo and Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. Boxer Mike Tyson stars as an animated version of himself who solves mysteries around the world alongside a crew consisting of his adopted daughter, an alcoholic talking pigeon, and the ghost of a British nobleman.
The show is as bizarre as it sounds and yet it manages to work incredibly well. Its humor not only comes from the ridiculousness of its premise but also from the fact that the mysteries themselves are almost never solved, as the cast will often be drawn into some other plot that only gets more deranged as an episode goes on.
7 Search Party Is An Underrated Gem
Search Party centers on a group of friends who become involved in the mystery of a woman they all knew who has gone missing. Both inside and outside their makeshift investigation, however, these friends also deal with the chaotic issues in their own lives, which makes things crazy on both ends.
Thrilling, philosophical, and funny, Search Party makes great use of both its stellar ensemble and its clashing personalities to deliver an engrossing and entertaining experience. Those who don’t feel entertained by the characters and central mystery of Velma will enjoy this show for sure.
6 City Of Ghosts Is A Unique Kind Of Mystery Series
City of Ghosts is an animated mockumentary following a group of Los Angeles kids as they uncover new and interesting stories by communicating with the ghosts that live within their city. It’s a much more laid-back kind of show that coasts on the warmth and wittiness of its human characters and the eccentric but usually friendly ghosts that they encounter.
Only six episodes of City of Ghosts have been produced and there hasn’t been much news regarding future installments. That’s certainly a shame, as its sense of humor and style appeals to both kids and adults in equally fun measure.
5 The White Lotus Has Eccentric Characters & Dark Humor Galore
Each season of the latest HBO phenomenon The White Lotus focuses on both the guests and staff of a White Lotus hotel stationed in another country. Both seasons also begin with the murder of one or more of the main characters, and it’s always fun to find the right clues throughout each episode to see just who will be the victim in the season finale.
On top of the murder mystery aspect of the series, the show is chock full of characters that are all at once complex, flawed, likable, or detestable in the funniest and most revealing ways. Stunning locales, social commentary, and murder never get old in the hands of creator Mike White and his casts of actors.
4 The Afterparty Is A Brilliantly Creative Whodunit
Phil Lord and Chris Miler have been behind some of the best films and TV series in recent memory. Their most recent collaboration is the Apple TV+ series The Afterparty, which finds a detective questioning the members of a high school reunion’s after-party event after the party’s host is found murdered. The twist is that each character’s perspective of what happened is different:
One character sees the night’s events playing out like a Fast and Furious movie, while another character sees the events as a musical, for instance. Finding out the murderer of this series is exceptionally entertaining and hysterical thanks to this setup, and the incredible cast (which also features Velma‘sSam Richardson) absolutely kill each of their respective roles.
3 Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law Is Both A Parody & Love Letter To Hanna-Barbera
The Adult Swim series Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law follows Harvey Birdman from Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, who has become an attorney at a law firm. Alongside his staff, his clients are various other Hanna-Barbera cartoon stars such as Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons.
What makes the show work so well is the way it accurately represents the personality traits of these characters but twists them in exaggerated ways that are both surreal and funny, such as when Scooby and Shaggy got arrested for marijuana use. The show is both a wonderful homage to the characters of Hanna-Barbera while also skewering them in good fashion.
2 The Style Of Harley Quinn Is Closest To What Velma Is Trying To Emulate
Velma has been negatively compared to Harley Quinn, and it’s pretty easy to see the comparisons between them. Both shows are raunchier takes on popular Warner Bros. properties (DC Comics and Scooby-Doo respectively) that focus mainly on a side character (Velma Dinkley and Harley Quinn) within those universes. The difference, however, lies in their execution.
Unlike Velma, Harley Quinn is simultaneously successful at exaggerating their characters for comedic effect while still making sure each character is represented faithfully. The show also has a better grasp on its comedic sensibilities and balances them with its more dramatic and thought-provoking moments, making for a more rewarding viewing experience altogether.
1 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Is The Best Modern Scooby-Doo Incarnation
The Scooby-Doo franchise has thrived for years since it always shakes up its usual formula while keeping certain elements the same. Enter Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which takes the franchise into newer territory. Unlike the episodic nature of previous Scooby shows, Mystery Incorporated takes a more serialized approach, with an overarching mystery at the center of the series.
The horror and mystery aspects of the series are also taken much more seriously, with many homages to the likes of author H.P. Lovecraft and shows such as Twin Peaks in particular — and yet the effervescent charm and humor that have made the Scooby-Doo franchise iconic are as present as ever. For Scooby fans both old and new, Mystery Incorporated is as great a series as it gets.