Mar 26, 2020

"Nancy Drew": Riverdale Rip-Off without the Underwear Shots

Nancy Drew, the girl detective who sleuths out The Secret of the Old Clock, The Message in the Hollow Oak, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, and so on, has been in print constantly since 1930, and on tv twice, most notably when she shared the spotlight with the Hardy Boys (1977-79).  Until now, she has been an old-fashioned "good girl," solving mysteries that require brain power, not fisticuffs. No bloodshed, no deaths, and certainly no sex.

But then Archie comics used to be about "who should I invite to the big dance?"

The new Nancy Drew series goes all Riverdale on the girl detective, casting actors with Greek-god physiques, getting them out of their clothes a lot. and spinning a complex, ludricrous plotline in which everybody has a hidden agenda, secrets abound, and the adults are always evil.

Prologue: a montage of a teenage girl being pushed or jumping off a cliff, four teenagers playing in the cemetery, a young Nancy Drew watching her parents bury a body, and Nancy tanking on her college apps.

She hears about her mother's terminal illness.  True to the Riverdale practice of casting former teen idols as the adults, Dad is played by Party of Five alumnus Scott Wolf (top photo).  Mom's grave.

Scene 1: Nancy wakes up in the bed of her boyfriend, Nick Nickerso (Tunji Kasim, the bottom), who is already up, working at the auto shop..  He was a college football star in the books -- apparently dreams fade quickly in Horseshoe Bay, Maine, and he's doing the whole Goodbye, Columbus bit

Scene 2: Nancy runs across a crowded exterior shot -- lighthouse, boats, teens photographing each other -- to The Claw, the diner where she works as a waitress (what, not the Crusty Crab?).  Her boss, a pigtailed Asian girl named George (Leah Lewis), bitches at her.  She starts dishing uot the chowder (wait -- isn't it early in the morning? Shouldn't that order be Adam and Eve on a raft?).

Her other coworkers are the "Zen and the Art of Dishwashing" Ace  (Alex Saxon, left) and the rich ditz Bess (Maddison Raijani).

Why is a rich girl working in a diner?  Why did Blair on The Facts of Life work in the school cafeteria?

Scene 3: Closing time. The parade and fireworks are going on outside.  George decides to stay open for the demanding, imperious "affluent socialite" Ryan Hudson and his cronies, who want to have a sinister "private conversation."

Ryan is played by Riley Smith, former teen idol and underwear model.

His wife, Tiffany, is waiting in the car.  Nancy brings her some food.  And then has a glass of wine!That's like Archie having sex with...oh, right, Riverdale.

Scene 4: Even more closing time.  Suddenly the power goes out to the whole marina.  Nancy investigates, and finds Tiffany dead beside her car!

Scene 5: Sheriff McGinnis (former teen idol Adam Beach) interrogates the crew.  He dislikes all of them.  Nancy discovers that her boyfriend Nick is an ex-con.

"You never told me that!" Nancy exclaims.
"One of many things you never asked me about."
Who asks about criminal records on the first date?

The Sheriff wants to pin the murder on Nancy, so she has to act fast so solve it.

Dad arives.  Nancy yells at him for being neglectful.  Apparently they're estranged.  What adult-child isn't on, I mean Nancy Drew?

Scene  6: Out on the street, Nancy is horrified by the sight of a dress in a shop window.  I don't understand why.  She goes home and looks at photos of her dying mother.

Scene 7: The next day, at the diner.  Nancy believes that Tiffany was murdered by the ghost of Lucy Sable, the girl who jumped or was pushed off the cliff in the year 2000.  I don't understand her deduction.

I know it's 2020, but I was still shocked to hear "the year 2000" expressed as long-ago history.  For most of my life it was a far future science-fiction date:  "We'll have flying cars and colonies on the moon in the year....2000!"

Scene 8: Looking for clues, Nancy breaks into the home of grieving socialite husband Ryan  She finds a secret drawer containing a locket, a note: "For your protection. H. G.", and an address.

She also hears a ghost voice -- the supernatural is real!  Better not tell Shaggy and Scooby!

Scene 9:  The address on Gallows Lane (how cheery!) is the home of a medium (Pamela Sue Anderson, the original tv Nancy Drew).  She conducts a seance, where the spirit of Tiffany says "Find the dress."  Wow, this is getting convoluted.

Scene 10:  Nancy discovers that Dad is dating Karen the Cop.  I don't know why she should care, but she's upset.

Scene 11:  Dad discovers that Nancy is dating Nick Nickerson (dumb name).  I don't know why he should care, but he's upset,and says "keep away from that kid."   He won't say why, so Nancy snoops around and discovers that he was Nick's lawyer during his trial for manslaughter, during which he was convicted due to the testimony of Tiffany the Dead Socialite.  Nick has a motive!

Scene 12: So does everybody else.  George is having an affair with Ryan the Husband.  A montage of scenes I don't understand: a lady leaves a trailer and puts on Dead Tiffany's ring.  Nick finds a brick or box in a car he's repairing.

The lights go out, so Nancy climbs into the attic, rips open the wallpaper, and finds a note: "Lucy Sable, be careful that the killer doesn't get you." And an old trunk containing the bloody dress that Lucy was apparently wearing that night.

So Dad killed Lucy 20 years ago?  And took off her dress? I'm lost.

Gay characters:  If you read ahead, you find that Bess is a lesbian, and starts dating someone.

Beefcake:  No.  Nick wears a muscle shirt in one scene.

Other Interesting Sights:  Not except for the establishing shot of Horseshoe Cove. It's all intereiors or dark streets.

Plot:  I got tired of people not telling each other things so they could  find out and be upset.  Too many secret, hidden connections. And it gets worse:if you read ahead, you find more ghosts, spirit possession, curses, a trip to the spirit world, secret identities, and "The Seawater Festival," in which a bucket of seawater is used to determine if somebody will die in the coming year.

What about clever Sherlock Holmes-style sleuthing?

And where are all the underwear scenes?

Will I keep watching? No.


  1. I've heard of that new Nancy Drew show but, not feeling it.

    I recognize the dude from the 3rd pic from The Fosters, now that show was worth watching! ^.^

  2. I like how you say former teen idol. I watched Suicide Squad (He plays Slipknot, one of the many baddies from the first 45 years or so of DC Comics who took Gypsy Rose Lee's mother's advice to heart: "You gotta have a gimmick.") and he has not aged well.


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