by The Collected Mutineer
When all your favorite TV shows are ending, it can feel like you’ll never find anything to fill that void. In the wake of the news that we’d be losing series like Supernatural, Game of Thrones, The 100, Arrow, and various others all within a year of each other, I fell into a TV slump for a while.
Enter Nancy Drew.
We had the opportunity to watch the first episode of the reimagined sleuth story at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but I wasn’t sure if the rest of the show would live up to the hype of the pilot. It felt like a desperate grab to keep the fans of Supernatural hanging around the CW, and while I was intrigued I didn’t think the feeling would last. Well, it’s been almost six months and I’m not just intrigued—I’m obsessed with this take on the classic children’s/teen books. Here are five reasons you should consider giving Nancy Drew a chance.
This might sound silly, given the name of the show (and its titular character). Obviously, our protagonist is a young woman, Nancy. But hear me out. After years of watching Supernatural on a regular basis, I get really excited when I see shows that have not just one, but multiple, female players who STAY ALIVE. Just like in the Nancy Drew book series, Nancy’s regular compatriots are her friends Bess and Georgia (aka George). Nancy herself, portrayed by Kennedy McMann in this iteration, is just as free-spirited, inquisitive, autonomous, and intelligent as her book counterpart—a refreshing reminder that Nancy has been standing up for girls everywhere since 1930. Furthermore, the overarching mysteries of the season are driven by the murders of two women, whose spirits are haunting the town, and Nancy, in particular.
Dark and creepy twists
Yes, you read that correctly. So far, every episode of this show has reminded me of the early seasons of Supernatural or even Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. I.e., it’s actually kind of scary. Unlike the original stories—which always explain away any supernatural phenomena as nothing more than hoaxes or science—this version is embracing ghosts and pretty much all things creepy, including possession. It’s not the squeaky clean franchise you might remember from your youth. There have been plenty of moments that genuinely made me jump, and I don’t just mean the offputting, paranormal looking content you see in the trailer or in the photo above. There’s definitely something to be said for this darker, more adult take on the detective series. Remember what I said earlier about them wanting to keep the SPN fam around? Well, it’s working on me.
If there’s one way that Nancy Drew has changed its appearance, it’s in their casting choices. The showrunners and writers opted for diversity, which as we all know is lacking in our media. Audiences deserve more than token characters of color, and so far Nancy Drew is delivering. George Fayne is now George Fan, a former high school rival of Nancy’s. Of Asian descent, George is played by Leah Lewis. Similarly, Ned Nickerson is now Ned “Nick” Nickerson and is portrayed by Tunji Kasim. And my favorite part? The local sheriff, Chief McGinnis, is played by indigenous Canadian actor Adam Beach.
Considering that the Nancy Drew novels began being published in the 1930s, it’s quite impressive that the show didn’t take the over-used “well, that’s how the books were written” excuse for not providing LGBTQ+ representation. In fact, by making Bess—who in the books follows the girly, boy-crazy teen dream stereotype—the foremost example of queer representation in the show, they’ve given the audience a main character whose sexuality doesn’t define her, but neither is it only written in subtext (I’m looking at you, Supernatural). Bess’ love interest is one of the few romantic subplots in the show so far, and—even though she and her girlfriend are so cute—it’s not the only story they’ve given her. Bess is a valuable ally and friend to Nancy as she investigates, and she’s not afraid of no ghosts, either.
Conclusion: Not quite Wayward Sisters, but close enough
Ultimately, the feeling I get from watching this updated version of Nancy’s story is what I had hoped I would experience with the Wayward Sisters spinoff. I’m still salty that the CW didn’t take a chance on that show and give us what Supernatural didn’t. However, Nancy Drew is a close second. If I can’t have Jody, Donna, and their chosen family of troubled young women fighting the supernatural forces of the world, well…I’m happy to have Nancy, George, Bess, and their cohorts take on the strange and unnatural mysteries in their sleepy little town. It has so many of the same ingredients as what I was expecting to find in Wayward Sisters, and if it keeps going it might just become my new favorite supernatural mystery series.
Nancy Drew is now streaming on the CW app and airs on Wednesdays at 9 pm.