This has been the subject of much debate on message boards, such as ToonZone, ever since Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated was royally screwed over by Cartoon Network, which decided that the 2nd season episodes would be shown in a weekday package, with each 13 episode block airing over a 2 1/2 week period, with no repeats. An utter disgrace to a franchise once worshipped like a god at the network under a different administration.
What the problem seems to be is that it was lacking a specific element to the formula. Humor.
In the warped mind of CN's Stuart Snyder, it was too much of an action show for his liking, and it was too dark and scary for his self-admitted target audience of boys between the ages of 8-14. Scooby's own creators, Joe Ruby & Ken Spears, have been on record stating that they felt head writer-producer Mitch Watson's vision was closer to their own original vision when they first developed Scooby 45 years ago. In my own opinion, Watson had made some mistakes, the biggest of which was perpetuating the notion, established in the 2002 live-action movie, that Fred was a bit of an airhead, which he certainly wasn't in past incarnations of the franchise.
Even though he was the title star, Scooby has always been a comedy character. He and his owner-partner, Shaggy, were used for slapstick comedy in the midst of each episode, but that went the way of the Edsel in Mystery Incorporated. What Watson wanted to do was make Scooby, in particular, more assertive, and less comical. From what I saw in season 1 (never saw season 2), it appeared that he'd succeeded. Unfortunately, serious Scooby doesn't bring the ratings, at least that's how Snyder and his idiot cohorts see it. They essentially buried season 2, and haven't even scheduled a DVD release insofar as I know.
So that brings us to the topic at hand. How do you put the inevitable next incarnation of the franchise together? It has to be a mix of comedy and adventure, much like it has been for most of the last 45 years. Silly slapstick will attract the little boys Snyder covets as his core audience. However, for older fans, the next series has to have the following:
*--Done-in-one mysteries. Part of the reason Mystery Incorporated ultimately failed in Snyder's eyes is that Watson went with the serial format, which was fine and new for the franchise, but Snyder felt it was too much for the kids to bear. As What's New Scooby-Doo demonstrated, a procedural whodunit works well for the Mystery Inc. team, just as it did for Clue Club years earlier. In fact, since the two teams never met, the next series could fix that little problem, since the CC weren't part of that fever dream Scooby had in season 1 of Mystery Incorporated.
*--Reintroduce "lost" supporting characters, specifically, Scooby's relatives, like his cousins, Scooby-Dee & Scooby-Dum, last seen several years ago, brother Yabba, who has been missing in action for more than 30 years, and, of course, Scrappy, who was really screwed over by the internet.
You all know the story with Scrappy. Fans turned away in droves because of his obnoxious but assertive persona, introduced in his first season (1979), which, in turn marked Scooby's 10th anniversary. Scrappy matured as time went on, but the writers of the 2002 movie seemingly ret-conned everything post 1979 out, as the movie was written with those haters on the internet in mind. Watson apparently also followed this logic, as Scrappy was mentioned in passing in season 1 of Mystery Incorporated, and not in a good way.
As for Dee & Dum, they've been missing for way too long. Dum was the Mortimer Snerd-influenced dimbulb who aspired to be a real detective like Scooby, hence the deerstalker cap he often wore. Dee was an actress, which would come in handy if /when she does get used.
*---Guest stars. Watson managed a minor miracle, one that I didn't get to see, by reviving Dynomutt, and ret-conning Blue Falcon into a former security guard instead of a millionaire. He didn't see the value in keeping Falcon a Batman-clone, and I can't blame him there. However, given the way season 2 was scheduled, should it surprise anyone at all that CN isn't interested in spinning the new-look Dynomutt off into his own series, what with his 40th anniversary 2 years away?
I mentioned the Clue Club earlier. Let's take it a step further and reboot the fever dream into something a little more substantial, and have Scooby meet Goober & the Ghost Chasers as well. And, then, there is the matter of returning the favor to Johnny Bravo after the gang paid him a visit in 1997.
*---Continuity. Some ill-informed souls on the message boards don't want to see the romantic subplots from the last series. Here's a newsflash, folks. There are older fans that do want to see Fred & Daphne's relationship develop in a more mature, dramatic fashion. What hurt that angle before was how Fred was written, as a trap-happy imbecile. If you revert Fred to what he was in the first place, as an assertive, mature sleuth, to fall into line with how Daphne's character has evolved from being a damsel in distress to being more assertive. They would be a toon couple on the order of, say, Popeye & Olive Oyl or Mickey & Minnie Mouse. I'd find love interests for Velma & Shaggy, but not with each other.
*---Format. Instead of the usual half-hour, or the 15 minute format CN has favored for their original series these days, I'd go with a 1 hour show in the style of live-action procedurals. That would ensure the "Done-in-one" format is employed.
*---Shopping to networks other than CN. An absolute must, given how CN screwed its audience and the franchise in one fell swoop. I'd shop the show to Nickelodeon and the Hub, or even to CW's Vortexx block. CN? Fuhgeddaboutit, as long as Snyder's in charge.
It will be interesting to see how CN celebrates Scooby's 45th birthday later this year.