• Velma has a 39% Rotten Tomatoes score, with some critics finding its jokes lazy and characterization awful.
  • Audience scores are at 7% for season 1 and 14% for season 2, leading to a highly negative perception of the show.
  • Despite poor reviews, Max renewed Velma for season 2 (and a season 3 is possible).

Before Velma premiered on HBO Max (now known as just “Max”), many were wary about the prospect of an adult version of Scooby-Doo, and the worries were warranted as the show was received extremely negatively, leading some to wonder how bad it truly is (and if it’s as terrible as everyone says it is). The adult animated mystery television series, created by Charlie Grandy, is based on, as the title suggests, the character of Velma from the Scooby-Doo franchise. The R-rated Velma doesn’t feature Scooby-Doo, though, and the writers made drastic changes to the Scooby-Doo characters, which made some unhappy.

Velma revolves around the franchise’s characters (minus the eponymous canine) in high school before they ever came together to form Mystery Inc. However, the Max series is much more complex than just a Scooby-Doo prequel as it alters characters, storylines, and more as it caters to an older audience and brings diversity to the franchise. The Velma voice cast includes Mindy Kaling as Velma Dinkley, Glenn Howerton as Fred Jones, Sam Richardson as Norville Rogers, and Constance Wu as Daphne Blake. Unfortunately, Velma endured a lot of controversy, and as a result, has awful reviews from critics and viewers alike.

Why Velma’s Reviews Are So Bad

Velma Has A 39% Rotten Tomatoes Score

While a handful of critics enjoyed Velma and granted the show positive reviews, the majority of publications felt the exact opposite. On Rotten Tomatoes, the Max adult animated mystery series holds a 39 percent Tomatometer score (which is only based on season 1 because season 2 hasn’t accumulated a Tomatometer score as of the writing of this article). Velma season 1’s Critics Consensus on the review-aggregation website reads:

“Jinkies! This radical reworking of the beloved Mystery Team has plenty of attitude and style, but it doesn’t have the first clue for how to turn its clever subversion into engaging fun.”

Based on Rotten Tomatoes, most were turned off by Velma because it had the potential to be great and separate itself from other shows in the Scooby-Doo franchise (in a good way), and instead, it fell short. Some believed that Velma had the opportunity to dive deep into Scooby-Doo‘s backstory, but the result was a “cringy” and “pointless” series with “unpleasant” characters and “exhausting” jokes. Additionally, many critics seemingly gave Velma a bad review because they found that the Max show leaned too heavily into its meta nature instead of balancing it out with heartfelt moments and character development.


Release Date



Audience Score


January 12, 2023 – February 9, 2023





April 25, 2024




Velma’s Review-Bombing Explained

Audiences Are Negatively Reviewing Velma, Too

Whereas critics were more mixed about Velma (with more negative reviews than positive ones, as proven by the show’s “Rotten” score), the Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes tells a different story. Season 1 has a seven percent Audience Score, while season 2’s is at 14 percent. On the surface, these numbers suggest that viewers hated the Max adult animated mystery series, but review-bombing could also be an explanation for Velma‘s bleak scores.

isn’t a masterpiece worthy of high praise, but its overwhelming amount of terrible reviews also isn’t warranted.

Review-bombing is when a group on the internet targets a movie, television show, restaurant, business, or other entity by using multiple accounts to negatively review it. They hope that their publicly poor reactions will hurt the service. As for films and series, this targeted attack typically materializes on Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb, and some believe review-bombing is the reason behind Velma‘s awful criticism from viewers. Oftentimes, racism drives the phenomenon, which could be the case for the Max show based on its diverse casting (and consequential changes to beloved characters). The Velma premiere even addressed the racist backlash.



Velma Pitch Meeting

Screen Rant’s latest Pitch Meeting series video covers Velma, the animated Scooby-Doo spinoff series, which has been renewed for season 2.

Is The Velma Spinoff Show Really That Bad?

Max Renewed Velma For Season 2 Despite The Negative Reviews

Despite its awful reception, Max still renewed Velma for a second season, which premiered on April 25, 2024, as it seems the phrase “all publicity is good publicity” was proven right. The first season was Max’s most-watched animated show, and it had the biggest premiere day of an original animated series on the streaming service. So, the writers and producers must be doing something right to accumulate high viewership totals and a renewal.

All episodes of
(including the entirety of season 2’s episodes) are available to stream on Max.

Yes, Velma isn’t a masterpiece worthy of high praise, but its overwhelming amount of terrible reviews also isn’t warranted. When forgetting all of one’s biases and notions of what a Scooby-Doo show should be, Velma isn’t that bad and can be a fun watch (if one can handle the occasional cringy joke). Nevertheless, despite the negative reviews, people are watching the Max adult animated mystery series, meaning that Velma season 3 is a very real possibility.

Velma Season 2 Poster Showing Velma Holding a Magnifying Glass

A darkly comedic and mature take on the Scooby-Doo franchise, Velma sees the titular character, played by Mindy Kaling, taking the spotlight in a retelling of her origins, leading to her joining Mystery Inc. A significant departure from the family-friendly rendition released decades ago, Velma will modernize the characters and has cast Sam Richardson as Shaggy, Constance Wu as Daphne, and Glenn Howerton as Fred. Scooby-Doo will not be featured in the show, as it features the earlier days of the crew as they solve murderous mysteries and find themselves getting in over their heads more often than not. 

Mindy Kaling , Sam Richardson , Constance Wu , Ming-Na Wen , Gary Cole , Debby Ryan , Melissa Fumero , Glenn Howerton
Release Date
January 12, 2023
Charlie Grandy

Source: Rotten Tomatoes

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