‘Velma’ Season 1, Episode 9 Review

by Frank Martin

Just when it appeared as if Velma was starting to turn a corner and dive headfirst into the mystery side of things, it backslides into its usual pitfalls. The show’s main promo image features the title character holding up a magnifying glass and being approached by ghostly tendrils. This gives the impression that the show is about a spooky mystery she needs to investigate. But that’s not the reality. Yes, there are instances of Velma (Mindy Kaling) doing a little investigative work here and there, but that’s not what the show is really about. And the ghostly tendrils were meaningless hallucinations that haven’t appeared since Velma got over them. This episode is an embodiment of how the show goes wrong.

Now that Velma’s mother (Sarayu Rao) is rescued, Velma works extra hard in order to have her regain her memory. This means going above and beyond in order to make her mother feel like she’s back home and nothing has changed. But everything has changed. Velma has a baby sister and her father has remarried. This leads to nothing but slapstick drama that forces Norville (Sam Richardson) to pretend to be the father of Velma’s baby sister. Meanwhile, Daphne (Constance Wu) and Fred (Glenn Howerton) concoct a fake relationship in order to regain their popularity.

It’s obvious the marketing for this show failed to really inform audiences that it was going to be quirky drama first and spooky mystery second. There were obvious hints, though; the main one being that Scooby-Doo himself would be absent from the series. The show consistently fails to uplift its strongest elements while pushing forward drama that doesn’t appear to understand who its intended audience is. Although, it has remained consistent on this front since the very first episode. So at the very least, it should be applauded for knowing what it was right off the bat and continuing on that path, regardless of how wrong it may be.

Velma is streaming on HBO Max.

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