A few months after the show set the internet aflame, Charlie Grandy is weighing in on the backlash for HBO Max’s Velma. Developed by Grandy with creative input from star and executive producer Mindy Kaling, the series acted as an adult-oriented origin story for the titular Scooby-Doo character navigating high school, a love quadrangle between the Mytery Inc. and the mystery of local teenage girls being murdered. Co-starring Constance Wu, Sam Richardson and Glenn Howerton, Velma was met with mixed reviews from critics, but overwhelmingly negative reviews from audiences.
In a special cover interview for the latest issue of Emmys magazine, Charlie Grandy opened up about the HBO Velma show’s intense backlash. The creator recalled Warner Bros.’ strong support of his and Kaling’s subversive take on the iconic Scooby-Doo charcters, and assured fans that their approach wasn’t meant to replace the beloved original shows. See what Grandy said below:
The original Hanna-Barbera shows are still out there to watch. We are not erasing the originals. We just want to be a little ice planet on the outer regions of the Scooby-verse! Mindy came to me and said she’d love to work on a story with Velma…She loved the character and thought it would be funny to have her at the center of a show. We asked ourselves, ‘Why stop [at Velma being South Asian]?’ None of these characters are rooted to being white. We were worried about going to Warner Bros. and asking them to do it, but they said, ‘Do it. It’s time! Just make sure it’s funny and good!’
Will Velma Season 2 Learn From Season 1’s Mistakes?
Velma became one of the most infamous shows on TV even prior to its premiere on HBO Max this past January, with audiences quickly taking issue with its perpetuating stereotypes of South Asian women and on-the-nose attempts at self-aware humor. Critics weren’t much more favorable in their reviews for the series, with some complimenting the attempt to subvert Scooby-Doo fans’ expectations with a Black Shaggy who hates drugs and a man-baby Fred, while most felt it didn’t take advantage of its efforts.
Despite the intense backlash towards the show, Velma broke HBO Max’s record for the biggest premiere day of an original animated show and became one of the streamer’s most-watched programs during season 1’s run, ultimately resulting in a season 2 renewal in mid February. The question on many audiences’ minds now becomes whether Velma season 2 will look to learn from what were deemed mistakes by critics and audiences, or stay the course set by its debut season.
In his addressing the show’s backlash, Grandy seems keen on retaining his and Kaling’s vision heading into Velma season 2. Though the hate-watch curiosity of audiences worked in the show’s favor for season 1, those who ultimately found themselves genuinely against the Scooby-Doo twist are unlikely to return unless a new approach is made by the creative team to bridge their ideas and what audiences love and expect from the franchise.