Nancy Drew: What’s this series between Riverdale and Veronica Mars?
Murdered by the death of her mother, Nancy Drew, an 18-year-old budding detective, has put off her university projects and now works as a waitress in her small hometown.She even ended up putting her love of crime and misdemeanors into the closet.But the murder of a young woman, which could well be linked to an old ghost story, will propel her unwillingly into an investigation that is beyond her and will force her to dig up deeply buried secrets.
Like many teen and young adult series before her, including Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Shadowhunters, Nancy Drew, launched yesterday on the American channel The CW, is the adaptation of a successful literary saga, known in France as Alice Roy.The detective novels featuring the young budding detective appeared in 1930 across the Atlantic and from 1955 in France, in the Bibliothèque verte in Hachette until 2011, then in the Bibliothèque rose.Based on an idea by the publisher Edward Stratemeyer, they are written by Carolyn Keene (Caroline Quine in VF), who is nothing more than a pen name under which several successive authors have hidden.Nancy Drew continues to populate younger libraries around the world to this day and has had many variations over the decades.The most recent being the “Diaries” collection, published in the United States since 2013, which is full of references to pop culture.
In terms of adaptations, Nancy Drew is far from being her first screen adaptation, as the young investigator played Bonita Granville in a series of four feature films in the late 1930s, by Pamela Sue Martin (Dynasty) in the series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries between 1977 and 1979 on ABC, by Emma Roberts in the family comedy Nancy Drew in 2007, and by Sophia Lillis (It – chapters 1 and 2) in Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, released this year in the United States.Three years ago, CBS had even tried an adult version with Sarah Shahi in the title role, but the project had not gotten beyond the pilot stage, so it wasn’t until the 2019-2020 season that a new television adaptation of Nancy Drew, which promises to be darker than the previous proposals, arrived.
Broadcast just after season 4 of Riverdale on the CW, Nancy Drew, her grim-looking town, and her heroine who seems to have been separated from Veronica Mars at birth, should easily appeal to millennials and young adults already addicted to the adventures of Archie and his friends.And the good news is that the producers and screenwriters at the helm know a thing or two about teen dramas, since Nancy Drew is headed by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the creators of Gossip Girl and Newport Beach, and showrunner Melinda Hsu Taylor, who has, among other things, made her mark on several episodes of Vampire Diaries.Revisited for the times, the plot of this 2019 version of Nancy Drew seems to turn towards mystery drama, with a murder witnessed by the young heroes of the series and a legend that the spirit of a former high school queen haunts the town in which the story takes place. Soon in DVD, or already in second-hand.
A promise of the supernatural that we hope will be kept and will allow the series to stand out (a little) from what the small screen has already offered us in the genre.What is certain is that we should hear about Kennedy McMann, the young actress chosen to play Nancy Drew, who already seems to be establishing herself as one of the revelations of the American television season.At her side, the seriophiles will recognize Alex Saxon (The Fosters), Riley Smith (Frequency, 90210) in the role of the deceased’s husband, around whom the police investigation revolves, and Scott Wolf (The Life of Five), who replaces Freddie Prinze Jr.as Nancy’s father after the pilot’s first draft was finally reworked.
According to press:
“Nancy Drew is not revolutionary, but the series manages to combine the most interesting elements of Riverdale (which unfortunately goes off in all directions), with its archetypal pop culture, its retro aesthetic, its storyline, and even its idol of the 90s converted into a serial dad (Scott Wolf from La Vie à cinq).And she’s doing it quite satisfactorily.” 4/5
According to TV Guide:
“This more adult reinvention of young investigator Nancy Drew fits the CW series mold with a disturbing small-town atmosphere and an unspoken hero with a tragic past.If you’re looking for a series combining that signature with a sympathetic supernatural element, this should do the trick.” 3,5/5
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
“Nancy Drew’s pilot takes the form of an acceptable post-adolescent drama, but the series lacks the allure of her lead-in Riverdale, to which she prefers a more realistic, down-to-earth, less absurd approach.Which can be positive or negative depending on whether or not you like the crazy shows.” 3/5
According to the New York Times:
“Kennedy McCann has a definite presence and credibility in this more mature and imperfect version of the brave teenage private investigator.But unfortunately the ensemble is flat, and there’s no chemistry between the actors, like Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Peter Gallagher and Tate Donovan in the days of Newport Beach, Josh Schwartz’s first waterfront drama.” 2,5/5
According to Variety:
“Since it’s all about appearance and attitude in this series, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that the mystery at the heart of the plot is uninteresting and that nothing distinguishes Nancy’s friends in the first two episodes.In the end, Nancy Drew is less a series of plots and characters than an attempt to thrill us.” 2/5
According to The Washington Post:
“Instead of being cool and in control, the show is just awful, because it focuses too much on giving a dark side to Nancy and the world she lives in.A very poor attempt at modernization.” 1/5