Mindy Kaling’s Hated Velma Series Is Also Somehow Extremely Successful

Mindy Kaling's Velma series is the biggest animation premiere ever on HBO Max.

By Douglas Helm | Published

mindy kaling
THE MINDY PROJECT — “Mindy Lahiri is a White Man” Episode 512 — Pictured: Mindy Kaling as Mindy Lahiri — (Photo by: Richard Foreman/Universal Television)

Mindy Kaling’s Velma series on HBO Max is already a massive hit for the streaming platform, at least as far as viewership goes. Movieweb reported that the show premiered its first two episodes and broke the record for the most-watched premiere for an original animated series on HBO Max. The series was created by Charlie Grandy who executive produces along with Kaling, Howard Klein, and Sam Register.

Mindy Kaling voices the titular character in Velma, which reimagines the classic characters from the Scooby cartoon. Other characters that made it into the adaptation include Fred Jones voiced by Glenn Howerton, Norville “Shaggy” Rogers voiced by Sam Richardson, and Daphne Blake voiced by Constance Wu. Scooby-Doo is not featured as the creators not only wanted to leave him out of the more adult-oriented series, but Warner Bros told them Scooby was off-limits anyway.

Along with Mindy Kaling, Richardson, Wu, and Howerton, the series also stars Russell Peters, Melissa Fumero, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Nicole Byer, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, Debby Ryan, Ming-Na Wen, Shay Mitchell, Fortune Feimster, Weird Al Yankovic, and Frank Welker. Welker has previously voiced Fred and Scooby-Doo and appears in Velma as Fred’s father. With only two episodes out, it’ll be interesting to see if the show can continue to hold on to these high viewer numbers.

scooby doo velma

While Mindy Kaling’s Velma is getting a ton of viewers, it’s getting torn up in the reviews. The show currently holds a middling 53% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an abysmal 7% from audiences. Since there are only two episodes out, there’s always a chance the reviews could go up, or they could go even further down.

Mindy Kaling’s Velma is getting mostly average reviews from top critic sites, with the consensus being the show has potential but also has its issues. Audiences are being far less generous. Maybe the future episodes can change their minds, but social media reviewers usually like to dig their heels in pretty hard.

There are still eight more episodes of the first season of Mindy Kaling’s Velma to go, so there is plenty of room to turn things around. The first two episodes may have landed with a thud, but the number of viewers shows that there is clearly interest in the concept. The next episode is set to hit HBO Max on January 19 and the final two episodes of the season will hit the platform on February 9.

If Mindy Kaling’s Velma manages to maintain these high viewership numbers while also getting slammed by reviews, it’ll put Warner Discovery in an interesting position. Would the company greenlight a second season of a show if it gets terrible reviews? If it’s putting up huge numbers, it’s very possible that they’d be willing to look the other way at the reviews and bring back the show for more episodes.

Warner Discovery is also not hesitant to quickly ax projects that they don’t see a future in, so it could very well go the other way. We’ll just have to wait and see if the viewers continue to watch Mindy Kaling’s Velma while simultaneously hating it. For now, you can catch the first two episodes of the series on HBO Max.