Nancy Drew has always been a bit of a mystery. From her first adventure titled The Secret of the Old Clock to The CW’s new fall show, she remains a pop culture phenomenon but struggles to stay relevant.
Though Nancy has been a teenager since 1930, she has changed a lot over the years.
Publisher Edward Stratemeyer created the fictional female teenage sleuth after the success of his Hardy Boys series. The Stratemeyer Syndicate began publishing Nancy Drew stories with the author credited as Carolyn Keene, though she never existed (cue the spooky music).
Keene was the pen name used by many ghostwriters for the series which included many men.
In the early days, Nancy was tough. She was 16 years old and had already graduated from high school. She lived with her lawyer father, Carson Drew, and housekeeper, Mrs. Hannah Gruen. Her mother had passed away.
Nancy was known for being outspoken despite criticisms that she should be more lovable. By the ’40s, she became 18 but didn’t appear to hold down an actual job.
Over the years, the original Nancy Drew books were edited and updated along with many new stories written. Nancy’s character bounced back and forth from a tough tomboy to more agreeable and always cheerful girl, and it wasn’t until 1995 that her she attended college.
The CW’s new Nancy Drew presents a whole new version of Nancy Drew. The show begins after the young girl solved crimes in the town of Horseshoe Bay, Maine for years. While preparing to go to college, her mother dies of cancer, and Nancy (Kennedy McMann) decides to shelve her crime-solving desires.
She spends her days as a waitress for The Claw Cafe and works under her former high school enemy George Fan (Leah Lewis). Bess Marvin (Maddison Jaizani), a woman with a mysterious past also works there along with dishwasher Ace (Alex Saxon).
Within minutes of the new show’s premiere, Nancy finds herself needing to solve a new mystery when she becomes a suspect in the death of a socialite.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a CW show if there wasn’t a supernatural element to the story. Here, Nancy discovers that the current crime has connections to a previously unsolved murder in town.
Nancy Drew features a group of relatively unknown actors, but there are a few a surprises to the cast too. Scott Wolf (Party of Five, The Night Shift) plays Nancy’s lawyer father.
His relationship with Detective Karen Hart (Alvina August) and Nancy’s relationship with ex-con boyfriend Nick (Tunji Kasim) makes their relationship complicated.
And there is a mystery woman who appears in the pilot episode played by Pamela Sue Martin, who once played Nancy Drew for ABC.
At the age of 24, Martin played the famed teenager for 1977’s The Nancy Drew Mysteries. However, Martin was replaced by Janet Louise Johnson halfway through the second season of the show when it merged with the network’s other show, The Hardy Boys.
Martin reportedly was upset by her reduced role, and the show never received a third season.
Hopefully, for The CW, this new show will do better than the former WB TV network’s show which starred Tracy Ryan as a 21-year-old criminology student. The WB canceled that show after a few months due to low ratings.
Nancy Drew premieres on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, on The CW at 9 p.m.