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Every Scooby-Doo Reference in the Series Premiere

The following contains spoilers for Velma Season 1, Episode 1, “Velma,” and Episode 2, “The Candy Man,” now streaming on HBO Max.

In the first two episodes of HBO Max’s Velma, the series cleverly reinvents the Scooby-Doo franchise for an adult audience. This time, rather than cheesy capers, the show follows the path of slasher properties such as Scream, dissecting Mindy Kaling’s Velma as she tracks a serial killer in town. This person is murdering teens from her high-school, removing their brains and leaving no clues behind.


The murder mystery results in Velma herself and Fred becoming suspects. However, it doesn’t deviate from the franchise too heavily, keeping the entire investigative aspect. The show also nods to how the members of Mystery Inc. had different personalities before working together as a unit. With that in mind, let’s detail the nods to the old cartoons and how Velma does honor the essence of the classic Hanna-Barbara property.

RELATED: Batman Has Drafted Scooby-Doo’s Daphne to Be a New Batgirl


Daphne Sells Scooby Drugs

Velma kisses Daphne in the HBO Max show

Velma’s version of Daphne is trying to make money in high-school as she has to keep up a posh lifestyle. As a result, she’s selling various drugs which nods to catchphrases from the series. “Zoinks!” is something the old Shaggy uttered a lot when spooked or intrigued. “Jeepers!” was similarly often muttered by Fred, Daphne and Velma when they thought they found clues. Lastly, the “Mystery Machine” refers to their iconic van, which fans have loved since the 1960s.

Fred’s Famous Ascot Gets a Shout-Out

Velma teases Fred's dad William is a serial killer

Just before Fred’s arrest is mentioned, the news plays a commercial with a guy walking nude through a European-looking street. It’s meant to appeal to aristocrats, with the guy then being draped in an ascot. This is a symbol of wealth, courtesy of the company Fred’s father owns: the Jones Gentleman’s Accessories empire. It explains why Fred wears an ascot in the new show, while acting as an Easter egg to him wearing his orange one — and Daphne wearing a green one — in previous adaptations.

Velma Honors the Iconic Line

Mindy Kaling's animated Velma.

When villains are unmasked in Scooby-Doo, they usually yell how they would’ve gotten away with it, if not for those pesky kids. In Velma, the reporter on the news repeats this phrase, indicating Fred would have gotten away with it, if not for his classmate. Sadly, Velma doesn’t get the name-drop and notoriety she wants for pointing the cops at Fred, who might not be the real killer, after all.

RELATED: DC’s Strongest Yellow Lanterns Came From – Scooby-Doo?!

Velma’s Turtleneck Has a Tragic Nod

Velma HBO Max series

Velma’s signature orange turtleneck gets an origin story in her own show. While she’s a high-schooler who should be trying various fashion styles to fit in, this one has emotive connection. Her mother, Diya, went missing years back, while her father just assumed she left, feeling unhappy at home. Velma, however, believes the woman who taught her to solve mysteries got kidnapped. As such, Velma keeps wearing this top, giving it a personal edge as a token of love.

Shaggy’s Old Habits Are Subverted

Velma's Shaggy loves snacks but hates drugs

Many fans assumed from Shaggy’s old disposition and constant snacking that he was a stoner. Velma’s new Shaggy shoots that notion down, making it clear he hates drugs, breaking the Fourth Wall a bit. He’s against weed too, confessing “420” isn’t something people should partake in, hence the reason he keeps using the school paper to expose these dealers. However, he’s still a lover of snacks — just more cultured and refined. In the new show, Shaggy vlogs about exotic snacks, building a fanbase.

RELATED: Harley Quinn in Velma’s HBO Max Series? There’s a Chance​​​​​​​

Red Herring Gets Maimed

Velma has Red Herring getting maimed

Red Herring is famous for being the guy Fred wrongfully fingers on so many cases, though people didn’t get angry because he was a jerk. In Velma, Red is back with his iconic green jacket and red hair, but this time, punishment comes his way harshly. He loses a leg as Velma works a case during an attack on the school. He is then barreled over by her and Daphne when they try to deal drugs and flee Daphne’s undercover moms like 21 Jump Street.

Velma’s Monsters Are a Different Kind of Horror

Velma: Mindy Kaling's Velma Dinkley talks on her phone while monsters creep up on her from behind.

In previous Scooby-Doo adaptations, monsters were humans masquerading as tyrants, though some cases did have supernatural activities occurring. While the show is more grounded and shifts away from anything paranormal, Velma hallucinates many monsters. This is actually her trauma manifesting as she thinks her cracking the case of finding her Christmas gifts early resulted in her mom going to get new ones and then disappearing. The ghouls also appear when a guilty Velma feels a sliver of happiness, which is why Daphne kisses her, calming her down.

Velma debuts new episodes every Thursday on HBO Max.

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