Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Scooby-Doo has had new show every five or six years since its debut in 1969. And after a few lackluster incarnations of the series (13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo) Warner Bros Animation, who now owns the rights to the Hanna-Barbera properties, created What's New, Scooby-Doo? in 2002.

This series took the characters back to their roots, solving mysteries as they traveled around the world. Casey Kassem returns once again to voice Shaggy, Frank Welker returns to voice Fred and does double duty by voicing Scooby-Doo too! Voice actor Grey DeLisle voices Daphne and Facts of Life actress Mindy Cohn provides a voice for Velma.

A Scooby-Doo Christmas was released during the first season of the show in 2002. Scooby and the gang are on their way to Daphne's uncle's condo for the holiday when they find that the bridge leading up to the cabin is gone. This forces them to spend the night in the small town of Winter Hollow.

They soon find out that this town doesn't celebrate Christmas because every year it is visited by the Headless Snowman (who actually has his head throughout the special) who destroys everything to do with the jolly holiday! The gang knows that the snowman can't be real so they set out to find who is behind the destruction!

The story, music and characters are exactly what made Scooby-Doo popular in 1969 and this series pays tribute to every little bit, even to the point of parody. But now, because of Warner Bros' larger budgets, the animation is much better than anything from the original series and you'll be able to hear some notable guest stars too! Listen for Mark Hamil (Star Wars), Kathy Kinney (Drew Carey Show), James Belushi (According to Jim)and Daryl Sabara (Spy Kids).

There is a tiny Christmas message buried at the end of the episode. It seems like the writers stuck it in there because it's a Christmas episode and there probably should be a message of some sort. It just seems so contrived.

You can see for your self on DVD here or here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This one is my favourite Christmas television specials. It is one that I make sure I watch every year and is in the top five of most people's Favourite Holiday Specials list.

Why is this special so popular? The animation isn't very good. It was done on a shoestring budget, they hired children that had no voice acting experience, and the editing and sound mix are terrible! It seems that the reason this special was a hit back then and still is today is that the message shines through all the mistakes and shortcuts. In fact, the quality of the animation has sort of set the standard for all other Charlie Brown specials that try to mimic the quirky style.

A Charlie Brown Christmas captures every essence of the Christmas spirit through the depressing life of Charlie Brown as he sets out to discover what Christmas is. He finds out that it is not about the gifts or the aluminum Christmas trees. in fact, this special speaks out against commercialism, Linus tells the story of Christ's birth from the Bible, and ultimately the gang help Charlie Brown realize that friends and family make the simplest of things, like his under appreciated Christmas tree, seem extra special.

Not only is this a holiday classic, but it is also quite historical for a number of reasons. It is the very first of a long line of Peanuts holiday specials. 50% of all televisions in the United States were watching it on its first airing on December 9, 1965. It won an Emmy and a Peabody award. It has been shown every single year since 1965. It was directed by ex- Warner Bros and UPA animator Bill Melendez.

You can find A Charlie Brown Christmas on DVD, but you may want to hold off until next year when Warner Bros (the new rights holders) will probably release a deluxe, two-disc special addition.