If you caught the first episode of The CW’s new series ‘Nancy Drew’, based on the perennial childhood favorite novel series, you may have noticed that this adaptation has taken a major left turn– the spooks are real! Unlike in the books, where teen sleuth Nancy would uncover the machinations of a human who may have been using the “supernatural” to scare folks– like a literary ‘Scooby-Doo’– it looks as though The CW’s show is diving full-on into the paranormal.
On ‘Nancy Drew’, viewers are introduced to the gloomy ‘Riverdale’-esque town of Horseshoe Bay (as opposed to River Heights, the books’ setting), home to teenager Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) who was a crack sleuth as a child, but who hung up her magnifying glass after her mother’s death. Horseshoe Bay is haunted by the ghost of former teen beauty queen, Lucy Sable. I would say it is “supposedly haunted” but as the first episode reveals, nope, it’s just straight-up haunted for real.
Viewers get a first glimpse of this when Nancy and her friends turn to a fortune teller for help. Of course, unlike ghosts, fortune tellers are indeed bogus, but despite the fakery, this psychic finds herself truly possessed during their seance. Freaked out, the supposed-psychic kicks Nancy and her friends out.
At the end of the episode, Nancy goes snooping in the attic, in search of a bloodstained dress that supposedly belonged to Lucy Sable, but just before the screen cut to black, it was revealed that Nancy wasn’t alone!
TV Guide asked the show’s creator Stephanie Savage about the decision to take ‘Nancy Drew’ into the realm of the supernatural, and she replied:
“From our earliest conversations, we talked about bringing out the darkness in the book series. Our favorite editions were the ones that hinted at a supernatural force. Noga [Landau, writer] is a huge horror fan and it was her idea to actually go there in the series.”
When asked if Lucy’s ghost will continue to play a role on the series, Savage teased:
“Yes! Dead Lucy’s role only increases. And she may not be the only spirit haunting Horseshoe Bay.”
So, ‘Veronica Mars’ this is not. Neither is it ‘Riverdale’, which has embraced the thriller angle, but has remained based in reality… well, soap opera reality, anyway.
The ‘Nancy Drew’ series has diverged from the books– which were originally written in the 1930s– by removing the sources of comfort for the teen hero. Her relationship with her father, Carson (Scott Wolf), is strained to put it lightly. And her boyfriend and best girlfriends from the books are practically strangers. Ned, called Nick here, (Tunji Kasim) is some guy she just hooks up with. Bess and George (Maddison Jaizani and Leah Lewis, respectively) are co-workers at the diner where Nancy works. They are not cousins on the show, and George has a long-running dislike for Nancy, while Bess is new in town. And all of them, Nancy included, are suspects in a murder that takes place in the parking lot of the diner.
Did you catch ‘Nancy Drew’? If not, it is available to stream on The CW app. New episodes are released on Wednesday night at 9pm EST after ‘Riverdale’.