Western Animation / Scooby-Doo Direct-to-Video Film Series

Scooby-Doo has been around since 1969. It has obviously had lots of TV series, movies, and even some video games. This sub-page focuses on the single largest chunk of it (at least by number of titles): the Direct-to-Video film series.

By 1998, the venerable franchise had become moribund, although multiple incarnations of the TV series were airing in syndication (as they had for decades), nothing new had been made since Arabian Nights. Hanna-Barbera output at the time had been highly reduced under Turner, and most of the funding was going to the shows Cartoon Network Studios was making within the larger company. Similarly to what was created with Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, the time was right to tap into a new era for the studio's best-selling property. The first fruit of this was Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (though that project had its' genesis as an unmade episode of SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron). This movie kick-started a complete revival of the franchise over the next several years three animated TV series, two live-action theatrical films, two live-action TV-movies, and at least one new Direct-to-Video cartoon per year each year since 1998 (it averages out to about one every nine months).

Cartoon Network is owed some gratitude for helping air a lot of these upon their first arrival, especially with the first few installments of this series.note 

As of 2016, there have been twenty-five entries in this series, spread across four style development eras.
Here are all the Direct-to-Video films:

The films overall commonly provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Animated Credits Opening: The newer films seem to be going on this direction. While all the films are animated, the opening credits usually include cases the gang is working prior to the events of the movie, and consist of much cheaper and trippy animation with musical accompaniment.
  • Art Evolution: The animation has changed three times (four eras in total), recently it has been at its most stylized.
  • The Cameo: Dynomutt and the Blue Falcon, Frankenstein Jr., Space Ghost, the Herculoids, and Claude Pertwee (from H-B's 1970 show Where's Huddles?) all make appearances in the 2013 movie Scooby Doo: Mask Of The Blue Falcon.
  • "Character Name and the Noun" Phrase: Already known for this prior to the DTV series, where almost every entry follows the formula.
  • Cowardly Lion: Scooby and Shaggy, in comparison to being more one-dimensional cowards in the original series, are more competent and well developed in this series.
  • Darker and Edgier: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is definitely the darkest Scooby Doo movie so far. The three movies that followed also stepped into this territory, and it wasn't till 2010 when Camp Scare brought it back.
  • Fanservice: Ever since Abracadabra-Doo and beyond, they've done this more and more with Daphne and, to a lesser degree, Velma. Plus, one movie characters. Best examples in Camp Scare where Daphne and Velma have a scene in bikini and swimsuit and feature Jessica, a really curvy girl and Fred note her.
  • Hero of Another Story: KISS is this to Mystery Inc. in their team up. The reason why the Scooby Gang hasn't met up with them before is because their mysteries are more "cosmic" in nature.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The earliest two films had some:
    • The first had Simone, Lena and Jacques in Zombie Island. They are the first villains in the Scooby Doo franchise to be outright figuratively and literally monstrous, having committed murder countless times before and tried to kill Mystery Inc. (and nearly killed Scooby and Shaggy to a point Shaggy "was going to feel like a raisin") and an undercover police officer to preserve their immortality as well as suffering Family Unfriendly Deaths when the harvest moon became no longer in alignment.
    • The second has Ben Ravencroft and Sarah Ravencroft in The Witch's Ghost. Ben is a devious and dangerous warlock. However, the threat posed by him is eclipsed by that of his more genocidal ancestor after she is released from her prison.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Due to the DTV films being over 15 years old, they've changed frequently as the years have gone on and interests changed;
    • Movies from Zombie Island to Cyber Chase gave both the Gang and the Mystery Machine much more modern designs, they were more explicitly adults (even complaining when they were called "Meddling kids"), potshots at their outdated outfits and the formula, the aesthetic of the films being darker-colored and more realistic, and having more real monsters in them.
    • The films Legend of the Vampire and Monster of Mexico tried a retro redesign, bringing back most of the classic cast, old Hanna Barbera sound effects and the return of direct hoaxes.
    • Loch Ness Monster to Samurai Sword gave the Gang looks more line with What's New Scooby Doo, largely going back to the formula of the original series, occasionally making fun of series staples but being more likely to play them straight, and for the most part keeping with the guy in a mask formula, but in the end took major steps back to fantasy adventure in the last two of this era.
    • The 2010 films employ darker shading, have a more self-aware (but not outright self-defying) tone, and the monsters tending to be much more violent.
  • Long Runner: The series of Direct-to-Video films alone have been going on for almost twenty years.
  • Mythology Gag: The series while having many different adventures has been pulling much deeper out of the well as of late than ever before. Some movies even become throwbacks to a specific older series like The New Scooby-Doo Movies or gags of Hanna-Barbera like characters being a fictional tv show in one episode only to crossover for real later.
  • Reconstruction: The most recent films, especially when compared to Mystery Inc.'s totally reworked and self-defying approach - the plots mix played straight Scooby mysteries(though they also play with them in some of their films) with witty writing, lots of lampshades (even as they unashamedly use the tropes in question) and crazy occurrences that sometimes derail but always loop back into the plot. They come off as Scooby mysteries re-imagined with a sometimes more modern comic and sometimes darker and edger approach and willing to do a lot more with the characters, and help modernized the franchise and pull of the job a bit better than What's New did.
  • Romantic False Lead: There have been a few: Ben to Velma in The Witch's Ghost, Jessica to Fred in Camp Scare, Winsor to Velma in Legend of the Phantosaur and Bram to Daphne in Music of the Vampire
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: For obvious reasons as well as a major recurring feature throught the series.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy? is a notable example of screwing up the usual Scooby-Doo Hoax, where Velma is the one staging the thing to scare away treasure thieves from the tomb. Scooby and Shaggy also assume this role in movies such as Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King, Scooby-Doo! and the Samurai Sword, and Big Top Scooby-Doo!. However, the most notable example is from Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur, where Shaggy performs the most impossibly amazing feats that nobody would ever think possible of him.
  • Turn of the Millennium: The earlier films took place in this time period, and interestingly this seems to be the time when the Scooby-Doo franchise seemed most dormant.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Given Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island and Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost are Darker and Edgier in contrast to the usual light-heartedly comedic nature of the overall franchise, this is expected due to the villains being Ax-Crazy and real supernatural threats in contrast to the previous Malevolent Masked Men with petty and non-homicidal criminal motives. Zombie Island has Simone, Lena and Jacques, while Witch's Ghost has Ben and Sarah Ravencroft, the latter of witch is much more vile than the former. Scooby Doo Frankencreepy took this even farther when old villains from the past return with revenge murder on their agenda.