TV-wise, the big debut of the week has been HBO Max’s Velma. Starring Mindy Kaling as and billed as a more adult take on Cartoon Network’s eternal Scooby-Doo franchise, the show itself is…amazingly unremarkable, at least from the first two episodes currently out. Maybe it’ll grow into itself over time in future episodes or another hypothetical season, but at present, it’s just the least interesting result of someone uttering the phrase “adult animated Scooby-Doo show.”
Adult-specific animation is…weird in the western animation industry, and broadly speaking, it’s divided into two categories. On one end of the spectrum, you got your generally unoffensive, slice of life-ish starring or featuring a lovably strange cast of weirdos like King of the Hill and Futurama; on the other end, there’s your adult cartoons that or loudly and proudly weird or vulgar as hell, like American Dad or Rick & Morty. The latter category gets the most attention online, for better or worse, and Velma’s been no exception: even if it doesn’t really revel in showing characters get torn to pieces or weird sex gags of dubious taste like Rick and Dad, there are moments where you can see why such humor doesn’t gel with the source material.
In any case, this is as good a time as any to talk about the adult animated shows that actually are good, or at the very least not confused about what they are. When I think of an animated show that I like, my mind goes right over to something like Bob’s Burgers or The Boondocks. And maybe it’s just because they featured a fun messed up take on the Scooby gang all the way back in season two, but all this Scooby talk is another reason to point to The Venture Bros., which hopefully hasn’t had its movie-length finale canned by the time I write this.
Let us know in the comments below some of your favorite shows in the adult animation space.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.