Well, jinkies. Get ready to use that phrase a lot more now that Mindy Kaling’s Velma series is almost here. Co-created by Kaling and Charlie Grandy, Kaling leads HBO Max’s adult animated series as the iconic Scooby-Doo character Velma Dinkley, before Velma became the iconic and gay version of her we know and love. Don’t worry; this version is pretty damn great, too. The high-school-set show is essentially her origin story.
The show made a big splash during New York Comic Con today, announcing its other cast members before some of them took the main stage. The ensemble includes Constance Wu as Daphne, Glenn Howerton as Fred, and Sam Richardson as Norville, a.k.a. Shaggy. They’re joined by recurring stars Stephen Root, Nicole Byers, Weird Al Yankovic, Sarayu Blue, Melissa Fumero, Ken Leung, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Ming-Na Wen, Shay Mitchell, and Fortune Feimster.
In the first teaser for Velma, Kaling’s on-screen avatar pokes fun at the internet. Velma is writing a letter to executives who want to make a comedic Judy Jetson series, so she warns them about the repercussions because people hate change. Spend, like, two seconds online, and that much is obvious. Kaling herself was met with trolls who didn’t like Velma Dinkley as a South Asian teen. Too damn bad? The teaser is the perfect satirical introduction to Velma, in which she’s then attacked by a serial killer who calls her first, Ghostface-style.
“I’ve always identified with Velma growing up,” Kaling said at the show’s NYCC panel. “I couldn’t resist voicing her because, let’s be honest, I sound like a 15-year-old,” she joked. Like every Kaling project (The Office, The Mindy Project, Never Have I Ever), her characters possess immense pop culture knowledge and wit. Velma Dinkley is no different. The premiere was screened at NYCC, where yours truly was present. While I can’t share any spoilers, suffice it to say that Velma is aiming to be a fun blend of horror and comedy. It pays homage to the original while carving a new path for itself, as seen in the diverse casting across the board.
While discussing the project, both co-creators spoke about loving adult animated dramas like Rick And Morty and Harley Quinn, calling Velma the perfect companion piece. “This version of Velma just hasn’t been done before, Kaling noted. “We thought these characters lend themselves so well to an adult version.” Since this isn’t a standard kids’ show (it’s gory and sexy), don’t expect it to address the titular Great Dane of the original. Velma will follow her crime-solving adventures with Velma, Daphne, Fred, and Norville as they navigate through high school cliques, and explore how the four of them became friends to start Mystery Inc.
Velma is slated to release on HBO Max in 2023.