And The Real Nancy Drew Is…?

Pamela Sue Martin - Nancy Drew

Bonita Granville, Emma Roberts and then only last month, Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew in the Katt Shea-directed feature film (which kind of vanished in a blink). Now there’s Kennedy McMann, who’ll assume the role of the plucky ‘girl detective’ in the upcoming CW series due this Fall, which from all advance news sounds more like Veronica Mars meets Riverdale than a Carolyn Keene novel, which may not be an entirely bad thing, after all.

Pamela Sue Martin - Playboy

But there’s still one more Nancy Drew we shouldn’t forget: Pamela Sue Martin, who played the part in the late 1970’s The Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew Mysteries series on ABC, which alternated between Parker Stevens and puppy-love heartthrob Shaun Cassidy as the Hardy Boys one week, then Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew the next. A largely forgotten bit of 70’s era TV, perhaps, but episodes are actually all over the place online, and I assume available as DVD’s…I mean, every  television series good or bad seems to be. Martin went on to do some films (the original The Poseidon Adventure, for instance) and more TV series, initially stirring up quite a to-do when she tried to rev up her clean-cut ingenue image by posing for several men’s magazines including France’s Lui and U.S. Playboy. Now Pamela Sue Martin will join the CW’s Nancy Drew series, playing Harriet Grosset, a psychic who assists the teen detective with her murder investigation, though the clues will lead to some seemingly otherworldy mysteries.

Playoby 1978

The CW network seems to enjoy inside-TV nostalgia casting. Supergirl, starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El/Supergirl has included Helen Slater (star of the one-shot 1984 film Supergirl) as Kara’s earth stepmother Eliza Danvers, while Dean Cain (Clark Kent/Superman in ABC’s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures 1993-1997) as her stepfather, and Terri Hatcher (Lois Lane on that same show) was a villainous alien mother of Supergirl’s season two love interest. Oh yeah, and Linda Carter, star of ABC’s kitschy 70’s Wonder Woman series, played the President (who turned out to be an alien).

Nancy Drew, High School Hipster

Nancy Drew by Tula Lotay

The prior post noted that the CW Network will soon launch a Nancy Drew series, starring Kennedy McMann as the iconic teenage sleuth. From what I can glean of the planned storyline, I get the feeling the series’ inspiration comes less from the classic ‘Carolyn Keene’ books and perhaps more from the Dynamite Entertainment Nancy Drew comics series that started last year.

Nancy Drew 1 by Tula Lotay

In writer Kelly Thompson’s reimagining of the Nancy Drew universe, the plucky girl detective’s in a hipster high school world with old pal Bess and gay punkette George forming her ‘Scooby’ gang of investigators. The interior art is by Jenn St-Onge (look for more of her work at the artist’s site, jennstonge.ca) with each issue released with multiple covers (that annoying trend among greedy comics publishers) and I’ve gone with the ones drawn by British comic and illustration master Tula Lotay. I’m only four issues into the series so I think I have some catching up to do, but it’s a good read for a “Teen+” marketed title, and it sure ‘feels’ a lot like what the CW is touting for its network Nancy Drew series.

Nancy Drew 4Nancy Drew 5

Nancy Drew on the CW

Kennedy McMann Nancy Drew

The CW network is a reliable go-to destination for superheroes – traditional (Supergirl) and reimagined (Arrow) along with tween/teen soap operas redone with some contemporary sizzle, and now they’ll take a whack at rebooting that iconic teen mystery classic of all classics, Nancy Drew.

Let’s guess that this new Nancy Drew won’t drive a sporty roadster, have a kindly housekeeper or go poking around in attic’s or behind grandfather clocks. Kennedy McMann will take over the on-screen role previously done by Bonita Granville in several B-movies, Pamela Sue Martin in the 70’s Hardy Boys-Nancy Drew series and Emma Roberts in a quirky big screen re-imagining.

Three Screen Nancy Drews

McMann’s Nancy Drew will find her college plans derailed by a family tragedy and herself a murder suspect, which rekindles her love for detective work. Drew will team up with ‘George’ played by Lydia Lewis, a tattooed tough girl from the wrong side of the tracks, the duo reluctant partners at first due to some bad blood from their past, but destined to form a close bond while becoming kickass investigators. Initially, their sleuthing suggests the real culprit may actually be a long dead local girl, which will lead to some ghostly goings-on, though online rumors suggest it’ll be more Twin Peaks style weirdness than a spook show. Myself, I’m picturing Veronica Mars meets Scooby-Doo. If anything, I suspect much of the inspiration comes from the current Nancy Drew comics series from Dynamite Entertainment, scripted by writer Kelly Thompson. The show will be CBS Studios’ third attempt to launch a Nancy Drew series, with key creators culled from CW projects like Supergirl, Charmed and Vampire Diaries.

Not sure if ‘Carolyn Keene’ would approve, but we’ll see.

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