Don’t we all like a good mystery? A murder, conspiracy theory, or disappearance; anything that sends a chill down our spine. While we may have tried to find that fulfilling mystery through series such as Riverdale, it didn’t quite succeed in achieving what we were looking for.
While on the hunt for a new bone-chilling mystery, I stumbled upon a new CW series, called Nancy Drew based on the novels by Edward Stratemeyer. Nancy Drew has the same creators as Riverdale, which worried the audience because the former did not live up to its comic origins.
Despite the negative attention, I decided to give the show a try. While it did fail in certain aspects, it flourished in others. After watching the first three episodes of the series, I found myself pleasantly surprised. There were small things that aggravated me, but most of them were minor details that I could look past.
In the novels, Nancy lives in River Heights, whereas in the show, she lives in Horseshoe Bay. It was pretty disappointing that the iconic town isn’t mentioned. Furthermore, Nancy’s boyfriend throughout the novels, Ned Nickerson, goes by Nick in the show. Many people were saddened, but it’s just a name—besides, the name Ned in the twenty-first century isn’t exactly common.
Georgia (George) Fayne’s name was also changed to George Fan. The show made the characters more diverse and decided to make George Chinese. Fan is a Chinese last name, so the little alteration makes sense. The added diversity to the show was one thing I appreciated, as it is a more accurate representation of a multicultural America.
A detail that made many people, including me, upset was the relationship change between Bess Marvin and George. In the books, Bess and George are not only cousins but good friends. However, in the show, they are unrelated and not friends anymore. This change made me miss the classic friendly banter between the two cousins that contributed to my interest in the novels.
Moving on to more significant issues people had, was Nancy’s character and the supernatural spin on the series. In the novels, Nancy is the perfect person. She is respectful, popular, smart, and the girl next door. However, she is nothing like this in the show. She has no friends, issues with her father, and uses sex as a coping mechanism to deal with her mother’s recent death.
People loved Nancy because of her innocence. She was never sexualized, and the novels focused on Nancy’s abilities to solve a gruesome mystery. The problem with adapting well known characters from novels like Nancy are that her traits would be unrealistic in this era.
Making Nancy “imperfect” makes her more relatable and realistic. This new Nancy shows us that everyone makes mistakes, making it a more accurate representation of young adults and teens in today’s society.
One of the biggest criticisms from viewers is the supernatural take on the show. In the books, the supernatural themes always have a logical explanation by the end of the mystery. The showrunners confirmed the ghosts are, in fact, real in the show. Being a sceptic myself, this made the ghostly jump-scares a little silly.
The supernatural embellishments could be a good thing if you’re all about ghosts, curses, and legends. Except most viewers are upset about this. Nonetheless, the mystery is still intriguing, exciting, and gets you wondering: who did it? A human? Or a ghost? It makes the show creepier, perhaps on-theme for its October release.
If you did read the books, you’d enjoy the little Easter Eggs placed within the episodes. Mentions of Shadow Ranch, the Lilac Inn, John Sander, and Rita Howell are all derived from the original novels and classic Nancy Drew mystery games.
Whether you’re a fan of the novels or not, there’s something in this show for every mystery lover: ghosts, murder, secrets, lies, and more. Most of the criticism is over minuscule details that do not change the intrigue of the story.