Adaptions can go a long way when it comes to childhood icons. The CW network has taken huge steps into making revamped TV adaptions, especially those with mixed reviews all around. With the success of “Riverdale,” “Sabrina” and shows of the Arrowverse (“Arrow,” “Supergirl,” “Flash,” etc.) the network recently decided to add another adaption to the family: Nancy Drew.
The CW picked up the series and recently released a trailer on May 9, 2019. The premise of “Nancy Drew” involves 18-year-old Nancy Drew who is almost set for college when she and her four friends (Ace, George, Bess and Ned Nickerson) become suspects and witnesses to a murder. The young amateur sleuth will be portrayed by Kennedy McMann along with Scott Wolf as her father, Carson Drew. The series is said to be the third adaption since the first was in 1977. “Nancy Drew” is set to debut Oct. 9, 2019.
There are some key differences within the upcoming series from past adaptions. Before making comparisons, let’s take a look at those past adaptions:
“The Hardy Brothers/ Nancy Drew Mysteries” (1977-1979 series)
The first time the Nancy Drew series was adapted was the 1977 version “The Hardy Brothers/ Nancy Drew Mysteries.” The series was picked up by Universal TV for ABC with Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew. This was noted as the most successful and faithful to the books. This adaption was centered around the brothers Frank and Joe Hardy and occasionally, Nancy Drew (and friends George, Ned and Bess), where they solved mysteries in the city of Bayport, Massachusetts. Episodes would alternate between the Hardy brothers and Drew or shift as crossovers. Unfortunately, into the third season, Drew’s role was reduced and the series was cancelled.
“Nancy Drew” (1995 series)
In this adaption, Nancy Drew is a 21-year-old criminology student in New York City. Drew’s partners in crime were similar to the last series with Bess, George and occasionally her love interest Ned. Producers had also attempted to pair up the series with the Hardy brothers. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled due to low ratings on the Warner Brothers (WB) and UPN (United Paramount Network) networks.
“Nancy Drew” (2007 film)
Separating the world of TV and film was this adaption which is probably the most memorable because of Emma Roberts’ role as the amateur sleuth. The film received a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and it’s an accurate rating. The plot involved Nancy Drew moving to Los Angeles with her father on an extended business trip. Drew and her father pick the house of a murdered movie star, a suiting storyline for a setting in LA, but a cheesy one.
Overall, all of these adaptions centered around the original Nancy Drew mysteries. It was the difference in her age and setting of her story that really changed the concept. Each version had an iconic star as Nancy Drew and the same general characters such as her dad, Ace, George, Bess and Ned Nickerson. In other instances, the relationship between each character differed in each series like Drew’s relationship with Bess, who wasn’t always Drew’s friend. However, Ned has remained her main love interest.
CW being CW tried to stay true to the series through the mysteries Drew would take on and investigate, in this case: murder. With their version, they’ve adapted the setting with a similarity to the show “Riverdale” with its veil of mystery. The tone is very serious, but intriguing at first glance (it has potential).
Looking at the characters, Drew looks similar to the original, however, the rest of the other characters look more diverse. Drew’s friend George is portrayed as a female in this version and Ned is portrayed as a person of color. The relationships Drew’s friends have with her are similar to past adaptions with the exception of Bess, who is her friend in this version of the series.
Reception to the series have been pessimistic, but there are still those who are excited for the series.
Realistically, it’s impossible for people to be 100% satisfied with a series; either people like it or people don’t. But when you really think about it, if the character was a copy and paste of the original, then the story wouldn’t be as interesting. The characters, setting and storyline wouldn’t be as unique and distinct on its own. A distinguished twist is what makes an old classic live and thrive in this new age of television.