So I’ve done the best Mystery Incorporated episodes so why not tackle the best What’s New Scooby Doo episodes? Now while not nearly as dark or narratively connected as Mystery Incorporated, What’s New Scooby Doo was still a very entertaining show as it followed the same structure as The Scooby Doo Show. That being a collection of single episode mysteries which had no connection to one another other than being episodically after each other. Oh, also it was a far lighter show so it was much less likely to traumatise you in the same way as Mystery Incorporated. Anyway, before I properly get into the list, here is some history about the show.
What’s New Scooby Doo first debuted in 2002 on Cartoon Network and ran for three seasons until 2006. Each season consists of 14 episodes and follows Scooby and the rest of the gang as they go around solving various mysteries. These ranged from fake dinosaurs to cover a smuggling operation to giant 30 foot Shaggy mechs to monkeys in alien costumes. And that’s just the first season. Also, side note yet again Cartoon Network seems to be better quality TV than most current channels.
Anyway, the voice cast featured the iconic voices of Frank Wellens, Mindy Cohn, Grey DeLisle and Casey Kasem as the gang which is always a positive for fans of older Scooby Doo. Besides the great voice cast, the show also features a who’s who of 2000s pop punk/rock songs in the iconic chase scenes. Just look at the theme song which is one of the best Scooby Doo themes besides Mystery Incorporated. Anyway, let’s get into the best episodes of What’s New Scooby Doo now.
10. Space Ape at the Cape (S1, E3)
Kicking off the list of the best What’s New Scooby Doo episodes is Space Ape at the Cape. Now remember above where I mentioned monkeys in alien costumes? Well that’s this episode as the gang are visiting NASA in Florida, a mysterious alien egg hatches. Naturally it starts causing chaos. So, the gang are roped into stopping the alien before it forces NASA to abort their space shuttle launch. Really the lesson here is the gang just needed to stop monkeying around. Bad pun aside, this was a very solid episode.
9. A Scooby Doo Halloween (S2, E6)
Hands up if you saw Scooby Doo doing a crossover with KISS, with Paul Stanley guest voicing? Well, no one did quite frankly yet it really works. When the gang visit Velma’s family for Halloween at Banning Junction but end up bumping into ghostly scarecrows. So when the gang are saving the town, they have to do it before the ghost of Paul Banning (the founder of the town) emerges. Oh and in the background, there’s a KISS concert. And also the song in the chase scene is none other than Shout It Out Loud by KISS. What a phenomenally weird yet compelling crossover.
8. 3-D Struction (S1, E2)
Similarly to Space Ape on the Cape, I’ve hinted towards this episode’s mystery in the history section. Namely, it features the gang being sent to Costa Rica to a museum exhibit about dinosaurs. It also is being attended by one of Fred’s heroes: explorer Melbourne O’Reilly. When he mentions about the dinosaur spirit, nobody believes him naturally. Until a dinosaur bursts out of the cinema screen and into the audience. Sidenote, what was with 2000s media being overly obsessed with 3D? Anyway, what follows is the gang uncovering a smuggling plot around bones and gold. Again, another solid episode.
7. Roller Ghoster Ride! (S1, E7)
Firstly, that’s a great pun title so props to the episode there. Also, it’s another very fun episode where the gang travel to a theme park as Shaggy and Scooby have been given the chance to design a hot dog themed rollercoaster. However, there’s one slight problem. That being the Roller Ghoster, a little green menace, who seems determined to break every ride in the theme park. I think you’ll agree this is a real rollercoaster of emotions for all the gang and yes I apologise for that shocking pun….
6. Riva Ras Regas (S1, E6)
Bet you can’t guess where Scooby and the gang are in this episode… Anyway, the gang are in Las Vegas to meet a teen pop sensation Lindsay Pagano. And yes that’s the actual singer crossing over into Scooby Doo canon which is just another highlight of this episode. So, when the ghost of a magician appears and starts terrorising the gang and Lindsay, there’s only one thing for them to do. Oh, and there’s a great plot twist when the gang encounters the real magician who the villain is impersonating the dead body of. That weirdly hurt my head for some reason…
5. Big Appetite in Little Tokyo (S2, E1)
Now this is a nice reference to the iconic film Big Trouble in Little China. Anyway, neat reference aside this is another episode hinted at in the history section. And yes it’s the one where there’s a 30ft Shaggy mech terrorising Tokyo after he eats a pizza zapped with a monster transformation spell. Man, even just saying that out loud makes me wonder what the writers were doing in the writers room other than writing. Anyway, this episode also has the distinction of being the only episode in What’s New Scooby Doo to feature a police chase. So, there’s a fun little fact…
Now as much as I joke that Mystery Incorporated terrified and probably traumatised a generation, What’s New Scooby Doo does a very good job at that too especially with episodes like this. And yes, it’s for the obvious reason that it stoked a generation of kids’ fears about clowns. When Shaggy is determined to win a mini golf tournament, despite the threat of a giant metallic clown, it’s up to the rest of the gang to stop it. Oh and there’s a nice role reversal as Velma is the terrified one who has to face her fears about clowns to solve the mystery rather than Shaggy. There’s also some nice interconnectivity to the previous episode as well so a very strong episode…
3. The Fast and the Wormious (S2, E3)
Surprisingly, there’s virtually no mention of the importance of family in this episode which automatically knocks it back slightly. Anyway, besides being a funny Fast and Furious parody what makes this episode so good? Well, the fact that Fred brings the rest of the gang with him to go racing in Mexico and they end up encountering a giant worm which tries to eat racers. Oh, also the same used for the chase scene is fantastic as well. But that doesn’t even touch on the fact that there’s a lovely long term payoff for the villain reveal which makes this episode even better.
2. Go West, Young Scoob (S3, E2)
Remember when I joked about the writers doing something else as well as writing in the writer’s room? Well this goes double for Go West, Young Scoob. This is because it involves the gang arriving at an old Western town, Cyber Gulch. Oh also, the robots are beginning to malfunction. Oh, and there’s the continuation of the won’t they/won’t they relationship between Velma and long time admirer Gibby Norton to add into the carnage of the robot malfunction, robot bandits and other mental stuff.
1. Pompeii and Circumstance (S1, E12)
And the best episode of What’s New Scooby Doo is…. Pompeii and Circumstance. Now this might seem like an odd shout but there’s several reasons why I’ve chosen to put this at the top spot. The first is that the plot involves a supposedly dead gladiator and Roman emperor haunting the town of Pompeii. Seriously, I thought Pompeii went through enough already…. Anyway, it’s also one of the first episodes I ever saw, with awesome design and the fact it was probably also a Gladiator parody. And that doesn’t touch on the reason for the villain’s plot which was arguably ahead of its time in some respects. Overall, a fantastic episode and a great pun title.