Some are calling it 'an insult to the franchise.'
Despite many high hopes for Velma, it looks like the Scooby-Doo spinoff fell flat with fans.
The animated series premiered on Thursday, Jan. 12. After its release, viewers headed to social media, venting about their disappointment with the HBO Max original, with some calling it "an insult to the franchise."
Velma reimagines Scooby-Doo as "an adult animated comedy series discovering the origin story of Velma Dinkley," one of the original five Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. characters, now voiced by Mindy Kaling.
Kaling, who also serves as an executive producer of the show, previously expressed excitement over the series and its re-envisioning of her character, Velma, as Indian.
"We knew it would be fun for me to play Velma, but we had a conversation where Velma is white, and we have this new choice to do the show and If I'm voicing her, should she be white or should she not?" the Never Have I Ever creator told reporters earlier this fall, adding, "The essence of Velma is not necessarily tied to her whiteness. And I identify so much as her character, and I think so many people do, so it's like, yeah, let's make her Indian in this series."
While Kaling's sentiment is in the right place, critics disagreed with her performance, calling it a "disappointment" despite the show's incredible animation and design.
"I’m happy Mindy Kaling’s style of writing brown girls that hate themselves wasn’t around when I was younger & only became a thing when I was at the age where I loved my heritage and skin color," noted Women's Republic founder Sai Sailaja Seshadri, "I can’t imagine being young & already self conscious and then seeing that portrayal."
"mindy kaling needs to stop portraying indian girls as losers. i’m personally extremely cool and sick of it," one viral tweet read.
"the fact that Velma is just an obvious self insert for mindy kaling is so f–king lame," another wrote.
Someone even compared Kaling's involvement in the show to British imperialism.
Kaling isn't the only crew member receiving backlash, fans are also going after the show's creator who's been credited with writing the episodes: Charlie Grandy.
"If yall are giving Mindy Kaling her lashings for Velma don't forget this man Charlie Grandy is the show creator and is the writer for the first episode of Velma, so if u hated the first episode don't forget him if yall can jump a woc u can jump a white man too."
"The only thing I’ll say about that Velma show is that it’s insane to me that 'adult' shows rely so much on vulgarity and snark as their only sensibilities when stuff like this is already very funny," someone else tweeted with a clip of an original Scooby Doo cartoon skit.
Another claimed it "is erasing the best Scooby Doo series ever made."
"Just watched #Velma and gosh the tears in my eyes. The plot, The themes, the characters, the dynamics, the drama, the lore, the emotional moments...everything was garbage from beginning to end," another harsh tweet read in part.
Another reenacted a scene from Glee, writing, "me to velma in new velma series."
And while many internet critics display frustration with the show, only two of the 10 episodes ordered for Velma have been released so far. Whether they'll tune in and give the show another go in the coming weeks remains unclear, as some are protesting even the "hate watching" of the series.
The show also stars Sam Richardson (Shaggy Rogers), Constance Wu (Daphne Blake), and Glenn Howerton (Fred Jones), among others, and is currently streaming exclusively on HBO Max with new episodes released in pairs each week.