Why does it matter? When Velma premiered on January 12, it was the most-watched original animated show from HBO Max. But now, the internet has never been so united in hating a television show.
- HBO Max’s adult-animated series explores the backstory of the unsung hero and brainiest member of the Scooby-Doo universe, Velma Dinkley.
- The show reimagines Velma as South Asian and queer — something that was welcomed by Scooby-Doo fans as her character has always been interpreted as queer-coded.
- The Scooby-Doo revamp also brings back the beloved characters of Shaggy, Fred, and Daphne.
What did critics say?
- “Velma is never as groundbreaking as it seems to think it is. More than that, these characters are just really unpleasant to spend time with, and it starts at the top with Velma.” — Variety
- “You have to wonder, in the development of Velma, where did everything go so horribly wrong?” — The Wrap.
- “It feels like a biting, hateful version of Daria without the character growth.”- IGN
Why did Velma become the most hated show on TV?
1. It offends the Scooby-Doo fan base it is trying to appeal to.
- Many critics of the show have complained that the Scooby-Doo characters are unrecognizable from the original protagonists and moreover, they are inherently unlikeable. In Velma, the main characters also hate each other.
- Velma is a vengeful and narcissistic outcast who may have driven her mother to walk out of their family.
- Meanwhile, Daphne is a mean drug dealer, Fred is obnoxious and privileged and “Shaggy” Norville Rogers is an uptight nerd who is desperately in love with Velma.
- As well as destroying everything fans loved about Scooby-doo characters, the eponymous Scooby is nowhere to be seen in the show.
2. It has sparked a wider debate about Kaling’s character.
- The Office‘s Kaling is the face and voice of Velma. Although The Kaling executive-produced the show, she has not written or directed any of the episodes.
- However, Kaling has taken a lot of the heat for the show’s shortcomings and the TV series has fueled a wider debate on her representation of South Asian female characters.
- For example, Velma hates her South Asian heritage and appearance. She is also portrayed as a loser” who seeks romantic validation from “caustic white guy” Fred. These are tropes that are similar to other characters in Kaling’s other shows like Never Have I Ever.
- Viewers wanted the character of Velma to change this overdone narrative of the self-hating South Asian stereotype.
3. In a nutshell, it’s just not funny.
– Ultimately, critics seem to agree that it is simply an unentertaining show that tries and fails to be edgy. As Slate says: “Velma’s mistakes might be forgivable if it was at least funny. But it’s not.”
What’s next: Despite the unanimous criticism, Velma has reportedly been renewed for season two as a result of the debut episode’s high viewer numbers. So perhaps, hate-watching a television show is something viewers enjoy in 2023.
Fun fact: The worst-rated tv show on IMDb is The Pogmentary — a documentary about French soccer player Paul Pogba.
Meanwhile: HBO Max’s The Last of Us debuted to critical acclaim last week — finally breaking the streak of bad video game adaptations.