Nancy Drew, the gateway drug for people who now have strong opinions about true crime podcasts, will make its debut on The CW this fall. It is not the TV debut for the book series–this isn’t the first time there’s been a Nancy Drew series or even the most recent attempt. The CW clearly thinks they have a winning formula, though, and they brought the show’s team to Comic-Con to show us why.
The Background for the Nancy Drew Series
In case you didn’t live for the Scholastic Book Fair, all you need to know in advance is that the Nancy Drew series will be based on the book character, a teen detective. Created in the late 1920s as a lady version of the publisher’s existing characters, the Hardy Boys, Nancy became an influential character in her own right. Witness this past season of Stranger Things, for example, in which a local neanderthal uses her name as a nickname for Nancy Byers. It’s meant to be insulting, but no one who read the series would ever take it as such. Who wouldn’t want to be rich, good at literally everything she’s ever tried, AND a successful detective?
That ultimate Mary Sue vibe is more likely to alienate modern viewers, though, so that, at least, has been scrapped. According to executive producer Noga Landau, “She’s not perfect. She has tragedy–she has lost things.” Co-executive producer Stephanie Savage, along with showrunner Melinda Hsu-Taylor agreed. The new Nancy Drew will be just as smart and tough as she’s always been, but she’ll be a lot more true-to-life. You know, if true life involved a marked increase in murders.
Following The CW Teen Drama Formula
As this version will be on the CW, after all, it makes sense to look at their other programming for hints. More specifically, we can probably use Riverdale, another adaptation of a decades-old property, as the biggest clue. After all, Nancy Drew will be following Riverdale when it makes its debut on October 9th.
To that end, when we meet Nancy, she’s an 18yo trying to cope with her mother’s death. She’s not only jettisoned her amateur detecting, but she’s also paused her plans for college. She’s just kind of existing in Horseshoe Bay, Maine. That is, until someone dies. Dun dun DUUUUUUUUN.
Nancy, played by relative newcomer Kennedy McCann, must then dust off her detective skills. She and a group of her friends, including boyfriend Ned “Nick” Nickerson (Tunji Kasim), are witnesses to the crime and thus, also suspects. As Nancy works to solve the immediate mystery, she finds out that it has ties to at least one other unsolved murder. She’s a long way from The Secret of the Old Clock, but not that far from Riverdale, season one.
Series Part of the Teen Girl (Detective) Squad
However, if there is a bigger influence on the new Nancy Drew series than its current mates at the CW, it’s a former CW show. Although Veronica Mars, returning to Hulu this month for its fourth season, owes a debt to noir fiction, the teen girl detective concept belongs to Nancy Drew. The stylized version of this new Nancy Drew series, though, hearkens back to Veronica Mars. Think of it as a Mobius strip of influence.
However this all shakes out will remain to be seen. Convention-goers got to see a preview of the first episode, but the rest of us will have to wait until October. In the meantime, you can check out the first-look trailer and let us know what you think. (Also, where are my Trixie Belden fans?)
Featured image via CW
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at email@example.com.