Sure, everyone knows the Scooby-Doo franchise about a core crew of mystery-solving teenagers and their dopey Great Dane, but there have been quite a few different versions of these classic characters since they were first created all the way back in 1969 by Hanna-Barbera Productions. As a part of the Saturday morning cartoon lineup, viewers joined the clumsy, hilarious dog Scooby-Doo as he went on adventures with Shaggy Rogers, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, and Velma Dinkley to solve strange and sometimes supernatural mysteries. The franchise only grew from there, and over 50 years later it’s still going strong. At this rate, the Mystery Machine will be a key part of children’s pop culture for generations to come.
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But which rendition of Scooby-Doo on television is the best? And which is the worst? After so many years, there have been 13 Scooby-Doo TV shows (though this number may vary a bit depending on what you consider a full series), with some being fantastic and original additions to the long-running series, while others… not so much. Here are the 13 Scooby-Doo television series created so far, ranked from worst to best.
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13. Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! (2006)
Image via The CW
Before starting on this list, I legitimately had never heard of this series, which is one of the main reasons it’s at the bottom of the pack. Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! ran for two seasons on The CW starting in 2006 and was the last Scooby-Doo project to directly involve Joseph Barbera, the co-founder of Hanna-Barbera, before his death. The series brings the classic best friends Shaggy (Scott Menville) and Scooby (Frank Welker) into a whole new situation — and animation style — that focuses on Shaggy becoming the sole heir of a huge inheritance left to him after the death of his uncle Dr. Albert Shaggleford, voiced by Casey Kasem, the original voice of Shaggy. But along with the exorbitant amount of riches, Shaggy also inherits all of his uncle’s enemies.
While it’s nice to see experimentation in such a lasting franchise, it’s really hard to successfully present Scooby-Doo in any other way than the classic Hanna-Barbera animation style. Although this is obviously a matter of opinion, I believe that only one series throughout the show’s history so far has actually added to the franchise by using a different style of animation, and it’s not Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! Also evident throughout Scooby-Doo’s history is the fact that fans tend to dislike shows that don’t focus on the whole crew, and while Fred, Velma, and Daphne are not totally absent from this series, they definitely aren’t main, or even supporting, characters.
12. Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1980)
Image via ABC
If you know anything about the history of Scooby-Doo, then you are probably aware of how intensely disliked Scooby’s tiny nephew, Scrappy-Doo, is. The character was first added to the story in 1979’s Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, a series that will be further discussed later on down the list. Yes, it shares the same name as the 1980 series Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo, but it has a distinct change in structure and substance, so although it’s a little confusing, please bear with me. After the first year of Scrappy-Doo on the show, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo was restructured to consist of a series of shorts airing together each Sunday morning instead of a full story over a half-hour runtime. In the 1980 version, Scrappy-Doo is still the same intense, overbearing character that many dislike so much, but he has even more of the spotlight.
Running from 1980 to 1982, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo completely dumps all the main characters aside from Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy. To make it even more confusing, the first two seasons were originally broadcast as segments of The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show, while Season 3 was a mix of shorts from The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour and Scrappy and Yabba-Doo, the latter of which doesn’t even feature Scooby and Shaggy, only Scrappy and the new character of Yabba-Doo, who is Scooby’s brother. This is the only Scooby-Doo series to ever use this character. As you can see, the second iteration of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo is a bit all over the place, and despite many fans voicing their dislike of Scrappy-Doo, the company still tried to push the character into the spotlight. Honestly, I don’t even know how it lasted for three quasi-seasons.
11. The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (1983 )/ The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (1984)
Image via ABC
Even after the 1980 series, Scrappy endured a bit longer as a part of the franchise. In 1983, the story was reworked once more into The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, bringing Daphne back after an absence of three years. With a major focus on supernatural mysteries, the gang of Daphne, Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy solve some more dangerous mysteries for two seasons, the second of which was renamed as The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries — for what reason, I don’t know, likely to confuse us even more. It looks like at this point Hanna-Barbera and other producers involved finally were understanding that fans wanted the entire original gang back, and Fred and Velma finally return in some episodes after five years away. The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show is a look at the franchise’s slow climb back from the brink. While Scrappy was originally added in order to keep Scooby-Doo new and exciting, the creators finally understood that the best thing to do was to go back to the classic formula that started it all.
10. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (2015)
Image via Warner Bros. Animation
While some people like Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, the 2015 series that completely upends the animation style (again), a lot of the classic comedy and spirit of the original Scooby-Doo is left behind in an attempt to be original. Running for two seasons on Cartoon Network and Boomerang, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! follows the group as they travel in the Mystery Machine solving cases throughout their last summer together before going off to college. The show earns a higher spot on the list than Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! and other shows due to the commitment to the total reworking of the story and the unique animation design in tune with many popular shows of the time. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! returns to the classic character outfits while also putting a major focus on the comedic aspect of the story, but sometimes the comedy feels a little cheap and unimaginative. It’s not to say that this series isn’t good, but it diverts so much from other Scooby-Doo series that it almost leaves the original franchise behind entirely.
9. Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979)
Image via ABC
Shortly after the franchise’s move from CBS to ABC, the producers decided that the Mystery Incorporated crew needed a new member. In the first Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo series, which aired for one season in 1979, Scooby’s nephew Scrappy-Doo, voiced by Lennie Weinrib, was introduced. This show is one of the few that features Scrappy alongside Velma, Fred, and Daphne, although this is the beginning of their diminished role in the franchise for a few years. Unlike the following Scrappy-focused shows, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo maintains the longer runtime of a half-hour, showcasing classic mysteries for the gang to solve. While Scrappy is definitely the main factor that leads to the franchise’s low point, as the first show with the new character, 1979’s Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo still feels enough like the original series to work.
8. The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo (1985)
Image via ABC
While The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo has its problems, it’s also one of the more unique series of the franchise. The first to have an overarching narrative, the show focuses on Scooby, Shaggy, Scrappy, Daphne, and a new character named Flim-Flam (Susan Blu) who is debatably a racist stereotype disguised as an attempt at diversity. The story follows two playful ghosts who trick Scooby and Shaggy into opening a magical box trapping 13 ghosts inside. As the ones that set them free, Scooby, Shaggy, and the others are tasked with catching and returning all of the ghosts to the box. The mystical guide who helps them deal with the vicious ghouls is Vincent Van Ghoul, voiced by none other than Vincent Price.
Fully embracing the spooky and supernatural, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo is wacky and memorable, for better or worse. The series was not very well-liked as it was released and the show wasn’t even finished, leaving the last ghost free and forgotten — that is, until 2019, when the franchise finally gave closure to the show’s storyline with the animated film Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost. As many longtime Scooby-Doo fans know, some of the best adventures with Mystery Incorporated are the paranormal stories usually present in the animated films. The same structure is utilized in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, which, despite any issues, is evidence that the Scooby-Doo television shows should possibly go this direction again in a new series.
7. The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)
Image via ABC
The New Scooby-Doo Movies is the franchise’s second series, and the last under CBS. The show is also relatively unique in that it’s the only Scooby-Doo show to have hour-long episodes. Along with that, The New Scooby-Doo Movies includes a rotating cast of celebrity guest stars who voice themselves and are a key part of each episode’s story. Some of the celebrities to appear are Dick Van Dyke, Sonny & Cher, Don Knotts, Mama Cass, and many more. Other well-known public figures, like Laurel and Hardy and The Three Stooges, appear in episodes but are played by voice actors, while many other prominent Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters who had their own series at the time show up in episodes, such as those from Josie and the Pussycats and Jeannie. As the first series to follow the original Scooby-Doo show, The New Scooby-Doo Movies is just different enough to feel new and innovative while also embracing everything that made the series a hit in the first place.
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6. Scooby-Doo And Guess Who? (2019)
Image via Cartoon Network
Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? is basically the modern version of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, following the crew of Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma, and Daphne as they travel around and solve mysteries, meeting many well-known celebrities along the way. While the original series and the modern version are very similar, the 1972 show was still figuring itself out, while 2019’s Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? has perfected the formula. Along with that, the series makes great use of the advancements in animation to present beautiful and detailed visuals without straying too far from the familiar looks of Scooby and his friends in the Mystery Machine. So far, some of the celebrity guest stars to appear include Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, Carol Burnett, Wanda Sykes, Mark Hamill, and more.
5. The Scooby-Doo Show (1976-1978)
Image via ABC
The first Scooby-Doo series to be made for ABC, The Scooby-Doo Show features a lot of experimentation in terms of content and structure, but it works well. Following The New Scooby-Doo Movies, The Scooby-Doo Show is made of cartoon segments from three different sub-programs — The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour, Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics,
and Scooby’s All-Stars, only broadcast under The Scooby-Doo Show name from 1980 and on (See? It’s unnecessarily confusing). The series introduces the character of Scooby-Dum, Scooby’s cousin, voiced by Daws Butler, who wasn’t exactly a fan-favorite addition at the time, as he never shows up again. While Scooby-Doo’s pair up with Dynomutt, Dog Wonder on Saturday mornings was a great decision, the best aspect of this series is definitely Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, which features 45 Hanna-Barbera characters split into teams to compete in Olympic-style activities. It’s a crossover on a scale larger than even The Avengers, and one that would be very difficult to do now with any characters no longer owned by the same company thanks to strict laws involving intellectual property (IP). Who doesn’t want to see Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang compete on a team with Dynomutt and Speed Buggy in activities like water skiing, gymnastics, ping pong, and more?
4. What’s New, Scooby-Doo? (2002)
Image via Kids’ WB
Simply put, What’s New, Scooby-Doo? is the original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, for a newer audience. The characters and storylines feel exactly the same, but some aspects of the show, like the technology and clothing, is modernized to fit a more current setting. It’s also the only other series in the franchise aside from the original to have a truly memorable theme song, with Simple Plan, the band behind hits like “I’m Just A Kid” and “Welcome To My Life,” performing the theme song. The original voice of Shaggy, Casey Kasem, voices the character for the last time after not voicing him for seven years. As a near-replica of the original series, it’s easy to understand why What’s New, Scooby-Doo? is so great. You know what they say — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The creators of What’s New, Scooby-Doo? understood this phrase perfectly.
3. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010)
Image via Cartoon Network
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is a two-season television series that ran from 2010 to 2013 on Cartoon Network. While the series incorporates many classic Scooby-Doo elements, like the classic monster mysteries and the well-known “meddling kids” quote to end the episode, it also does quite a few things that have never been seen before in the franchise. The first element is utilizing a serial format story arc that unfolds over the course of the show’s two seasons. Okay, so technically The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo has one overarching story arc, but there’s zero character development, so does it really count? With Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, each character is extremely well-designed and fleshed out, with actual character development occurring throughout the show. Along with that, the gang’s relationships with each other — whether romantic or platonic — play an important role in the story. Another new thing that Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated brings to the Scooby-Doo franchise is a seriousness and focus on dark storylines, with the show including a lot of references to classic horror films, television, and literature. Altogether, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is a modern, mature take on Scooby-Doo that also maintains many important elements of the classic series that fans love so much.
2. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (1988)
Image via ABC
Although both Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! and Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! attempt to present an inventive take on Scooby-Doo by using a new animation style, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is arguably the only series in the franchise to ever succeed at this. The show, which ran for four seasons from 1988 to 1991, is the longest-running Scooby-Doo television series to date. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo features the Mystery Inc. gang in elementary school, with the animation style much more cutesy, similar to how Baby Looney Tunes compares to the original Looney Tunes. While A Pup Named Scooby-Doo takes the classic Scooby-Doo characters a different route with the animation and Looney Tunes-style adventures, there’s still a monster of the week like in the original series. In fact, this show is one of the few that follows the example of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in how each monster is unmasked to be a regular person, with no supernatural creatures ever appearing. The more fantastical elements were added throughout later series as the franchise went on. Overall, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo feels like a completely fresh and creative take on Scooby-Doo, presenting another side to the characters we know and love.
1. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969)
Image via CBS
Maybe it’s cliché to say, but the original is always the best — at least in this case. The Scooby-Doo franchise wouldn’t be what it is today without the series that started it all, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! With an iconic theme song and a solid story structure with logic-based mysteries, everything works so well. Premiering on September 13, 1969, the animated sitcom came with a laugh track and memorable lines like “Hold on to your hula hoops!” and the classic “If it weren’t for those meddling kids,” and it was an instant hit. The central crew of Fred, Velma, Daphne, Scooby, and Shaggy take center stage, with 1970s-era costumes and a knack for solving any mystery thrown at them. While the show usually explores the possibility of the mystery being supernatural — with scaredy cats Scooby and Shaggy believing it — there is always a normal explanation for everything going on. You can even try to solve the case alongside the gang. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was also very influential to other Saturday morning cartoons, with many shows created later having a similar core group of characters and an animal companion. Seriously, nothing beats the original Scooby-Doo series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
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About The Author
(31 Articles Published)
Devon Forward is an entertainment writer with bylines at Collider, Looper, Screen Rant, Young Hollywood, and more. Based in New York City, she loves iced coffee, libraries, Guillermo del Toro movies, 90s cartoons, and Florence Pugh.
From Devon Forward
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