Well I sure as heck wasn’t going to review the attempt at a TV show that was Velma was I? So, instead I’m going to review arguably the best Scooby Doo show: Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated. Now while that other show attempts to be an adult Scooby Doo show, Mystery Incorporated blends adult themes, humour and references to the animated shows with a long running overarching story to make a very good show. Oh and also it was a big part of many people’s childhoods so it’s got a nostalgic feel to it. Anyway, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated first debuted in 2010 on Cartoon Network and ran for 2 seasons of 26 episodes. Also side note, why did Cartoon Network have some of the best TV shows? Anyway, Mystery Incorporated follows Scooby and the gang in their early days of solving mysteries in their hometown: Crystal Cove. Besides having some really cool original villains, like the Freak, Professor Pericles and Crybaby Clown amongst others. Oh and there’s neat little references to classic Scooby Doo characters like The Creeper and Scrappy Doo.
But that doesn’t even touch on the show’s references to films and other media. This includes Nightmare on Elm Street, Saw, Dungeons and Dragons, Jaws and even H.P Lovecraft. For a kid’s show there are some deep references and connections… Anyway, massive props to the writers for also fleshing out the characters while still remaining truthful to the original shows. This is unlike a certain other ‘Scooby Doo’ related show…. So, with all the above it’s clear to see why Mystery Incorporated is still a fan favourite show. Now, without further ado, here are the best episodes of Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated ranked.
10. Web of the Dreamweaver! (S2, E4)
So remember when I mentioned Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated referenced Dungeons and Dragons? Well, it’s in this episode in the form of the board game Crypts and Creatures and how one former player in a group is trying to destroy the other people’s lives in revenge for killing his character in the game. This involves some mad sequences which took influence from Lord of the Rings, with character designs looking like Legolas and Gimli. This also includes a Nightmare on Elm Street style of killer with a labyrinth where the titular Dreamweaver lurks. And yes that’s a Labyrinth reference for you Bowie fans…. Overall, a very solid episode which also continues the problems of the gang.
9. Wrath of Krampus (S2, E13)
Now this episode has a great swerve in it which I’m not going to give away. But regardless, the Mystery Incorporated does a great job at establishing the terror Krampus brings. So, for those unaware Krampus comes from German folklore. Oh, he’s a goat man who has a penchant for punishing bad children by petrifying them. Again, when I said there’s some dark references in Mystery Incorporated I wasn’t kidding. Anyway, there’s more references to the classic shows as well as the aforementioned twist which progresses the overarching narrative. Damn, this is another solid episode.
8. Escape from Mystery Manor (S1, E17)
Forewarning for Season 1 fans, there’s not going to be very many Season 1 episodes on here. With that out of the way, this episode feels very much like a PG Saw tribute with Scooby Doo characters. Anyway, when the gang decides to visit the sunken Darrow Manor in search of answers. And possibly to find out why the original Mystery Inc. went down there too. What follows is a mad chase throughout the sunken Manor as the only surviving member of the Darrows, Danny, mistakes them for the original Mystery Inc. Oh there’s also a touching moment as Danny sacrifices himself to save the gang. He also hands over a mysterious disc piece but I’m sure that won’t be important….
7. Grim Judgement (S2, E9)
This episode has been JUDGED! Now that’s a fun reference to this episode… Anyway, when a tyrannical Puritan judge, Hebediah Grim, arrives and starts judging the young couples of Crystal Cove, two recurring footballing friends Gary and Ethan seem to be stopping him. But when Mystery Incorporated starts digging, it seems to be too good to be true that both Gary and Ethan are both conveniently not there when Grim attacks. Anyway, to quote a popular Simpsons episode, Woah I’m seeing double! Four Hebediah Grims! Now that is exactly what the finale reveals….
6. The House of the Nightmare Witch (S2, E2)
Ahh yes, one of my personal favourite episodes and another return to European folklore. Now this episode continues the disequilibrium within the gang after their encounter with the Freak and Crybaby Clown. Anyway, after Velma and new gang member, Hot Dog Water, fail to retrieve part of the aforementioned disc from a Baba Yaga exhibit in Moscow the exhibit makes its way to Crystal Cove. Here, the terror of Baba Yaga, not John Wick, is unleashed on the town as Mystery Inc desperately tries to solve the problem. Oh and all this is while Velma and Hot Dog Water try to retrieve the piece for their employer, Mr E (Get it…), without alerting the rest of the gang. So, there’s plenty to love about this episode.
5. Nightmare in Red (S2, E22)
Once again, there’s another episode of Mystery Incorporated which is taking inspiration from horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street and Twin Peaks. Now that’s a day I never thought I’d see… Anyway, when a monstrous version of the Freak of Crystal Cove appears in Scooby’s dreams the gang sets out into the dream world to take out the Freak again. What follows is a mad Twin Peaks tribute complete with a room with red curtains and the Man from Another Place voicing a character. Oh, yeah there ends up being conquistadors, crystal sarcophaguses and gods who are actually animals. Yeah, Season 2 is brilliant if not a bit mental…
4. All Fear the Freak (S1, E26)
Speaking of the Freak, the Series 1 finale is the first time we focus on the Freak as a character. When the gang finally investigate the caves under Crystal Cove searching for answers about the treasure, curse and the original Mystery Inc they get all of that and a face off with the Freak. What follows is an intensely emotional finale as the gang is torn apart both by Fred and their respective parents as well as the revelations that the Freak provides. Not only is this a great finale but it also sows the seeds for crucial plot points in the second series.
Now speaking of plot points sewn in All Fear the Freak, the whole reason Hot Dog Water replaces Daphne temporarily is because he destroys her confidence and love for him after he disavows mystery solving. Fast forward three episodes to the Night the Clown Cried Part II, and Crybaby Clown is busy kidnapping a very random group of people including Daphne. What follows is a scene of Fred saving a plane from crashing into the ocean and the reveal that Daphne’s new Hollywood boyfriend may not be all he seems. Sidenote, her boyfriend is called Balor Hotner in a very unsubtle parody of a certain Jacob from Twilight. Also, Crybaby Clown probably stands as one of Mystery Incorporated’s greatest villains…
2. The Midnight Zone (S2, E11)
Damn, I’d be lying if the ending to this episode doesn’t still make me emotional. Also, no prizes for guessing what the title is a reference to… Anyway, when the gang and fellow mystery solver Cassidy Williams go exploring an old submerged Spanish mission, they find that and far more danger. This is in the form of Mystery Inc’s best villain, Professor Pericles, and a legion of his Kriegstaffelbots guarding an underground base. Tragically, as the gang try to escape the self-destructing base their submarine’s fin gets jammed forcing Cassidy to save them by holding back the release lever. Not only is this a brilliant emotional story beat but there’s also plenty of references to the old shows and to older mystery solving gangs before Mystery Incorporated.
1. Come Undone (S2, E26)
And the best episode of Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated is…. Come Undone. Now not only is this the Series 2 finale but it’s also the finale of the show. And boy did they go out with a bang. Basically, the gang are fighting to defeat the evil entity which has caused all the monsters in Crystal Cove which takes the form of Professor Pericles. Oh and that’s not even mentioning that our friendship is a weapon way the gang defeats the entity or the references to the original show in the final battle.
And out of this the gang destroys the entity, thus creating an entirely new timeline which was definitely supposed to set up a third series but also works as a fitting end to the show. Also, the fact Harlan Ellison is not only the new Mr E but also canonical within the show makes all of this so much more mad. A fitting way to end my ranking and the show.