TV Review: ‘Velma’ Season 1, Episode 8

by Frank Martin

Even when Velma starts to dive into the adventure side of investigating mysteries, it still can’t let go of the drama it’s built up. On one hand, it’s difficult to continually criticize a show for what it is. That’s kind of like being upset that a horror movie is scary. But Velma shows so much potential in other areas, it’s a shame it doesn’t focus on the macabre mysteries surrounding the story. Instead, it tries to push a character drama that completely takes away from its more appealing elements.

Episode 8 sees Velma (Mindy Kaling) teamed up with Daphne (Constance Wu) as they try to investigate both the serial killer and the disappearance of Velma’s mother. Norville (Sam Richardson) and Gigi (Yvonne Orji) manage to find themselves also wrapped up into the search when they use Gigi’s cabin as a base to conduct their investigation. Meanwhile, Fred (Glenn Howerton) is stuck somewhere with the dead girls’ brains in tanks. In fact, he can talk with them as they are technically still alive. The hilarious fact that Fred is missing is played up to great comedic effects since the town only cares about him and not the other four stuck in that cave.

This episode actually showed some real promise on two fronts. Fred’s scenes with the brains were especially reminiscent of the wacky supernatural nature of some previous Scooby-Doo variations. Also, Velma finally got to do some actual investigating that led to a series of hijinks and a daring escape from a cave-in. Sadly, none of it was the spotlight; it was only used as a launching pad for the character drama. Not that character drama can’t exist. It creates some real tension that can push the story forward. It just feels as if that shouldn’t be the main focus of the show since macabre mystery is the foundation from which it was based.

Velma streams Thursdays on HBO Max.

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