The Shortfalls of Diverse Television

Viola Aderholt (Freshman)

A rather recent Hollywood trend has been an emphasis on making deliberately diverse, often labeled ‘woke’, movies and television. Despite the wish to have every viewer see a part of themselves in characters, this has often been to the studio’s detriment. Eternals (2021) featured such a vast array of diverse characters that it was impossible to develop them all and keep a good film. Batgirl was shelved last year for apparently being too “woke.” 

Velma, a recently released show on HBO Max, might be the pinnacle of this concept. Velma is a reboot of Scooby Doo that features a lesbian teen voiced by Mindy Kaling, an Indian-American actor, producer, and comedian. It showcases a more adult take on the classic cartoon, while showing an array of characters of different sexualities and races.

Credit: HBO Max

“With a show like this it’s tricky because you want to play on nostalgia, but also attract new viewers,” said Pittsburgh Union Progress Film Critic Josh Axelrod. He mentioned that the show isn’t particularly enjoyable and missed the mark with most humor.

Velma is admirable in its address of current events, social issues, and politics, but its unbearable humor and treatment of diversity like a checklist ruins it. The show has an audience score on HBO Max of only 7%.

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