Nancy Drew, the teenage sleuth, first premiered in novels (175 published between 1930 and 2003) in the 1930s and has been through many adaptations, from television shows to movies, each time catering to a new generation. The CW’s new spin on “Nancy Drew” is no different. In the new hour-long mystery drama, Nancy Drew is an 18-year-old who has recently graduated from high but has put going off to college while she deals with the death of her mother and tries to get her life back on track. In the meantime, she is working at a diner called The Claw, surrounded by a ragtag group of co-workers and “secretly” dating Ned Nickerson (or “Nick”) until one night when she is swept up into a murder mystery with a paranormal twist.
This new version of Nancy Drew is still a plucky, intelligent and authority-challenging murder-solving teenage girl, but done with the typical CW contemporary twist and supernatural overtones that have become the network’s bread and butter (a lá “Riverdale,” “Charmed,” “Supernatural” and “The Vampire Diaries”). Nancy Drew is cut from the very same cloth as the network’s hit teen mystery drama “Riverdale,” loosely based on the “Archie” comics (“if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”). Nancy Drew’s show opens with the mysterious death of a teenage pageant queen that will haunt the small town and effect everyone living in it in someway. Both of the wildly popular “Riverdale” and “Nancy Drew” employ narration and an introduction of main characters and a little of their backstory throughout with themes of class and redemption factoring heavily into the storyline. They also both have diners that are a prominent fixture in the story, almost like another character themselves. And then there’s the “must-have” CW trademark; everyone’s got a secret.
When the season starts, Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) has moved past her sleuthing days and is trying to regain some teenage normalcy in her life. That only lasts until the mysterious murder of a socialite in the parking lot of The Claw while Nancy is on shift. Nancy tries to stay out of it after being treated like a suspect, but she is inevitably pulled into the mystery and tries to solve the crime herself, with the unwanted help of her very different co-workers (George and Bess) and her boyfriend Nick. Along the way, family and friend’s secrets are revealed. Per the CW usual, everyone is a suspect surrounded by skeletons in the cupboard, lies and behind-the-scenes coverups.
The CW continues to stick to the formula in this teenage drama by adding lots of family-relationship drama (and parents played by familiar “teenage” TV stars from pop culture mainstays of the 90s; this time it’s Scott Wolf of “Party of Five” fame) and a clear delineation of the rich and the “not-so-rich” in small town USA (or Horse Shoe Bay in this instance). But this color-by-numbers adaptation within the CW mold makes the series seem unoriginal and just a regurgitation of it’s hit “Riverdale” with different characters. There’s nothing new to see here, but the show is sure to pull in the teen crowd (the show is chocked full of beautiful and good looking twenty-something “teenagers”) and some older viewers nostalgic of the baby-faced Wolf and the immortal Nancy Drew.
“Nancy Drew” will premiere on the CW on October 9th. The show will air Wednesday’s at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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