EW reviews ”Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island”
To gen-xers of a certain immaturity, revisiting the first seasons of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? is like giving your inner child a Pop-Tart. Hipper than The Flintstones, less in-jokey than Rocky and Bullwinkle, Scooby let us indulge our detective jones and delivered cool spooks to boot. Its cachet, evidenced by high ratings on the Cartoon Network, is no fluke. Now — get out the toaster — there’s a new caper, the straight-to-tape Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.
It’s high time. CBS honcho Fred Silverman brought the intrepid Great Dane to Saturday mornings in 1969, where he busted ghosts with Shaggy (the hippie), Fred (the straight man), Daphne (the dish), and Velma (the brains). Before leaving the air in ’91, the show morphed over 15 times — Scooby’s Laff-A-Lympics and Scary Scooby Funnies were two — as Scooby went from counterculture hound to Hanna-Barbera emcee. But it’s the early Scooby that left its mark on shows like Eerie Indiana, the Shaggy-esque Wayne and Garth, even Scream. In the ultimate hip benediction, Mike Myers is set to write a Scooby live-action film.
To help fans bone up, Warner has put out three two-episode tapes from the show’s heyday. The Haunted House Hang-Up has all the elements Scooby lovers eat up: headless ghosts, haunted mansions, a folk-music interlude. That’s Snow Ghost is so-so, but the Chinatown case Mystery Mask Mix-Up makes a great double bill with What the Hex Is Going On?, which pits the gang against a ghost who ages his victims.
Zombie Island shows the gang never grew up, despite — zoinks! — holding down jobs: Daphne’s a TV anchor, Fred’s her producer, Velma runs a bookshop, and Shaggy and Scooby are airport customs agents (sniffing out food, not drugs). For Daphne’s show they head to Louisiana, where a Martha Stewart look-alike (voiced by Adrienne Barbeau) lives on an island filled with undead pirates. Fast, fun, and filled with knowing winks (Fred dismisses the main spook as ”some guy disguised as a pirate ghost”), the mystery honors the show’s beloved structure, but writ large; rockers Third Eye Blind even cover the theme. Of all the corpses on Zombie Island, Scooby-Doo ain’t one of them. Island: B+ Hang-Up: A Ghost: B- Mix-Up: A