In case you missed it the CW is trying their hand at adapting the Nancy Drew novels. That’s something that’s been done a lot but this new show, titled Nancy Drew, is looking to set itself apart a bit by making Ms. Drew a teenager and involving the supernatural. Think of how the network took Archie and turned it into Riverdale.
“She is very much derived from the original character,” the show’s star Kennedy McGann said when we got the chance to sit down with her at NYCC 2019. “Always willing to stand up for justiceat any cost. A good girl rule breaker. But we’re seeing her in a modern context where she’s dealing with a littler more trauma than we ever got to see her in the original books.”
What was clear from talking with the producers is that they wanted to update the series into a modern time while still keeping that feeling of mystery-solving sleuth from the classic novels. Over the course of 13 episodes Drew and her friends will tackle a major case with a few individual cases cropping up throughout. Producer Josh Schwartz said they were trying to make it both accessible to someone just flicking on an episode and have that bingable quality that television shows are so hungry for these days.
There’s one other big emphasis that the show is driving home: the paranormal. Throughout the interviews the actors and producers mentioned that the paranormal and supernatural aspects of the show are real this time. For anyone who has read the novels you’ll know that there were always hints of the paranormal here and there, but like a Scooby-Doo mystery they were always proven to be something else than an actual ghost. Not so for this new Nancy Drew, the paranormal is real this time around everyone insists bringing the character into a much different universe than the “reality” based one she inhabits in the books.
That universe could expand too. I brought up the fact that there are plenty of other popular “children mystery” book characters to bring to television and some of them (the Hardy Boys) have even worked alongside Nancy Drew in the past. Could we be looking at bit of a Nancy Drew Universe along the lines of what CW has done with the Arrowverse? The answer was basically yes from both Executive Producer Noga Landau and Showrunner Melinda Hsu.
“We are [thinking about a connected universe,” said Landau. “We shall see what happens. There certainly are more characters out there waiting.”
“Our ambitions say ‘Yes’ but our legal coverage is more cautious,” added Hsu. “But we would love that.”
I’m pitching my vote for some Box Car Children love. That series was my go to, though, obviously The Hardy Boys are the obvious next option. Maybe they can pull Veronica Mars into just for fun? That show, by the way, is an influence on this one. McGann spoke about how this Nancy Drew is quick-witted and also has many of the noir aspects that Veronica Mars played with.