The critically panned HBO Max series Velma has earned the dubious title of lowest-rated HBO series on IMDB, with a 1.4 rating and more than 18,000 votes cast. This much-maligned reboot of the beloved Scooby Doo cartoon has been universally derided by both critics and audiences alike, who have decried its mean-spiritedness, crassness, and narcissism as well as its complete lack of resemblance to the original cartoon.
It is no surprise then that Velma earned a dismal one star out of ten on IMDB from an outraged reviewer who wrote “This show literally insults you. I’ve never known a show to actively try and make you hate it. It feels like a straight up slap in the face”. Others echoed this sentiment in similar reviews that labeled the show “abominable” and felt that it had not only betrayed its source material but also attempted to actively turn viewers away due to its mean-spirited humor and crudeness.
Velma was also met with lukewarm reception from professional critics, who awarded it a tepid 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes despite its woke credentials, characters had been race-swapped, and Velma herself was reimagined as an Indian-American lesbian voiced by Mindy Kaling. Reviews did little to praise the show beyond noting its meta nature. Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly wrote “Velma mostly replaces the old silly sensibility with crass name-droppy pointlessness” while Glenn Ihnat of TheWrap asked “where did everything go so horribly wrong?” YouTube critic The Critical Drinker dubbed it “complete and utter trash”.
Despite all this, HBO Max has reportedly greenlit another season for Velma – leading up to its debut, Mindy Kaling promised audiences that it would be centered around Velma’s self-discovery as she became an icon for young gay women. She said that “Her figuring it all out is a big part of the show and why it’s really fun to do”. Whether or not this self-discovery will be enough to redeem Velma remains to be seen – but whatever happens, one thing is certain: this ultra-woke reboot is sure to remain controversial until its last episode airs.