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‘Velma’ Season 2 Review: An Improvement But Still Insufferable

After a 14-month hiatus, Mindy Kaling’s Velma series has returned for its second season. 

‘Velma’ S2 Review: An Improvement But Still Insufferable
Velma / Image Courtesy of Max

What is Velma?

One of the most hated series ever, Velma, has officially returned for its second season after a June 2023 renewal. The move came as a surprise to most, and many attribute the success of the first season to hate-watching given its overwhelmingly negative reception. 

Velma follows a South-Asian version of the beloved Scooby-Doo character as she solves a mystery in her native Crystal Cove. The show features alternate versions of the Mystery Incorporated team and is truly a reimagining as the show feels more like a soap opera complete with teen drama rather than a corny mystery. These changes have led to nothing but controversy for the series, providing its own marketing.

‘Velma’ S2 Review: An Improvement But Still Insufferable
Velma / Image Courtesy of Max

How Does It Compare To Season 1?

And now that the second season is here (in a binge drop nonetheless), I have more than a few thoughts regarding how the show compares its first and second seasons. First and foremost, I would like to get what little positives I have out of the way. Mindy is great casting as the orange-clad sleuth and her voice acting is perfect for the role, but Mindy’s humour fails to captivate me as a viewer. 

And to be entirely fair, it is a lot better than the previous season where they do seem to dial down on the vulgarities in terms of swearing and unnecessary (not to mention uncomfortable) sex references. This all makes it come across as a lot more family friendly — something that Scooby-Doo should be, at least in my opinion. 

Where Does It Go Wrong? 

As much as they set out to improve on the series, it’s obvious this project was doomed from the beginning. Following up on the first season, which I personally find as one of my least favourite seasons of television ever, they would either have to reboot or just ignore the characterization presented in the first season (which played into harmful stereotypes and disgusting caricatures of fan favourites).

There’s an interesting decision from the creatives that directly betrays a comment they said during the marketing of the first season and although I don’t want to go into too much detail to preserve the spoiler, I found it corny and a good homage but poorly written. The writing in this series is so drawn out over its 260-minute runtime and it’s frustratingly repetitive. 

‘Velma’ S2 Review: An Improvement But Still Insufferable
Velma / Image Courtesy of Max

I think how convoluted it becomes during the middle-end portions of the season also bogs it down heavily, it’s difficult to understand and not boring exactly — but uninteresting which is arguably worse. Norville (Shaggy without the iconic nickname) barely has any presence this season and overall takes a step back compared to how heavily he was featured in the series’ predecessor. Fred Jones continues to be played as a joke and continues to be deprecated to a point where you can’t help but feel sad for the character. 

And that truly is where the show is at its worst, one of its central points is that women have it hard, which is obviously valid but they do this in ways that aren’t subtle or funny and it’s often just downright disrespectful to these characters and the source material they’re based on. Freedom of adaptation is one thing, but there becomes a point where you wonder if the team behind this series have it out for these iconic figures. 

Velma tries to fix the monstrosity that was season one with its second season, but it’s evident the hole is too deep to get out of and in turn, these creatives are stuck in a corner. Through a series of slight improvements, the show does manage to put out a slightly better but still insufferable sequel to an extremely hated series. 

‘Velma’ S2 Review: An Improvement But Still Insufferable
Velma / Image Courtesy of Max

Velma stars Mindy Kaling as Velma Dinkley, Glenn Howerton as Fred Jones, Constance Wu as Daphne Blake, Sam Richardson as Norville Rogers and is created by Kaling and Charlie Grandy. All ten episodes of the show’s second season are now streaming on Max. 

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Zanda is the Editor-in-Chief of Feature First and oversees the publishing of the outlet and content of the social media pages. He is based in Queensland, Australia and may or may not have a life like cardboard cut-out of Ryan Gosling in his room. Zanda has been actively turning Feature First into a reliable and high quality entertainment outlet since 2023.