Nancy Drew Review: …It’s a TV Show

You ever buy pizza from a supermarket?

The cheese doesn’t cook right, the toppings aren’t spread out right and the base is kind of papery. And then there’s the bite, you sink your teeth in and what you get taste like pizza but it doesn’t hit the same way the pizza you’d order in would taste. But its a Wednesday night, you’re tired, works been crap and the weekend is still an age away so something that’s warm and carby with a whisper of flavour will do for now.

That’s how I feel about the new Nancy Drew TV show

Who the hell is Nancy Drew

 

A1GTPf9yV5LNancy Drew might not be a familiar name to the audience this new CW show is trying to court but then again that’s kind of the point. She was a girl detective in books as far back as the 1930s, she’s been through so many iterations in this time but the heart of the character has always been an inquisitive intelligent girl getting to the bottom of mysteries.

In a way she was ahead of her time, headstrong and active main character it’s easy to see why she had an enduring popularity that spanned over a 150 books, tv shows and movies.

She’s a pop culture touchstone at this point and the inspiration for many female detective characters although as we progressed as a culture you can kind of see how- like many characters who had their heyday in the 1950s- she was relatively twee for her target audience now

Why reboot Nancy

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I vaguely remember a couple of years ago they were floating around a Nancy Drew pilot where she was a cop in New York city, this was after the success of the Sherlock Holmes reboots in both Elementary and Sherlock. Nancy seemed like a logical reboot character we’re living in an age of constant reboots so why has Nancy never been given the same courtesy.

The first Nancy Drew reboot was during the 1990s featuring Nancy Drew as a criminology student in New York city and lasted a season, there was another failed pilot in the late 80s and the aforementioned recent pilot. But Nancy Drew never really captured the TV viewing audience.

But then the age of the reboot really got underway, Fuller House,90210 X-Files, Twin Peaks everything is coming back. An element of history made you sit up and take notice, there’s some studies about the eternal nostalgia of millennials that makes shows that have a backing behind them do well. There are very few shows these days that are entirely original, without at least a novel or a comic book as their main hook even if said TV show is entirely different.

Which brings us to our guy Riverdale, the gritty reboot of the Archie comics is a full on success with a connected Sabrina series attached. Nancy Drew seems like an obvious addition, an easy update to 2019, what could go wrong?

Nancy Drew for the CW

So we get to the pilot and our girl detective is retired. After the death of her mother she hung up her magnifying glass and graduated high school. She’s now working in a diner in her tiny hometown stuck. She’s in a casual relationship with Ned Nickerson and her frenemy George is now her boss. Nancy Drew is depressed and repressed and going nowhere fast.

And even before we’ve got a mystery this is where we run into our first problem.

Nancy Drew was brilliant, annoyingly so, in every iteration of Sherlock we saw a total embracement of this behaviour even if it was dickish. These guys were brilliant and new it straight off the bat, here at every turn Nancy Drew is seen apologising for what she’s doing and what she’s figuring out.

But why is this show hitting like this? In my opinion they seem to be following what works from it’s kind of cousin show, Riverdale. But Riverdale works with Archie as a kind of bland leading character because the world is supposed to make up the colour in Nancy’s world she’s supposed to be the colour. Here she’s conflicted about her mother’s death and overall just stuck, if we don’t know her history then Nancy doesn’t seem interesting at all which brings me to my next point.

The Nancy before

Veronica Mars - 2014

Although there hasn’t been a proper Nancy Drew TV reboot in the last, a girl detective became part of the cultural lexicon in a way that would define the genre. Veronica Mars. A neo-noir interpretation of a high-school girl detective, Veronica Mars drew the inevitable, um, Nancy Drew connations and readily embraced them for the new century. This version of a girl detective was smart, sassy, funny and a little dark, Veronica Mars became a cultural touchstone in her own right. So did the creators of this show not want to copy their kind of not really predecessor? They left this version of Nancy broken and a little loss as she tried to find her way. would it have really been so terrible for this Nancy to embrace her power in the same way as Veronica, Sherlock or the original Nancy Drew?

The mystery

In this version of Nancy Drew the driving plot of the story is the murder of Tiffany Hudson at the diner where Nancy Drew works. Nancy, Georgia, Bess, Ned and Ace are all suspects in her death and Nancy and her gang must work to find the real culprit. At the same time we’re presented with a twenty year old murder of former Sea Queen (homecoming queen watevs) Dead Lucy who may or may not be haunting the town.

Now we encroach on my main issue with this show…

To say I’m a connoisseur of good TV would be a god dam lie I watched every episode of Pretty Little Liars after all. But I do like a good mystery and for a good mystery you need a good victim.

In this version of Nancy Drew our main murder victim is Tiffany Hudson- who to the best of my knowledge isn’t even a character from the series (if she is feel free to send me hate I deserve it) the spoilt wife of Ryan Hudson, a kind of shady character who seems relatively removed from Nancy’s life. The character herself is a bored, overtly fancy wife of a character named Ryan Hudson who seems to have more of a relation to the characters however even here we’re left hanging for information.

We see Tiffany Hudson for all of two minutes within the pilot, she’s a caricature of a spoilt rich woman and she has no effect on anyone’s life so we don’t feel especially bad when she dies. This isn’t the best opening to a mystery.

If you look at similar shows, from Twin Peaks, Riverdale to Pretty Little Liars and Veronica Mars, hell even Broadchurch the death or disappearance was felt throughout the community which is why a small town murder mystery works so well. Lauren Palmer, the dead prom queen, Jason Blossom, the brother of the popular girl, Pretty Little Liars; the popular girl and Lily Kane…it’s all the mystery of this person that we find appealing and it gives space for the characters to grow without an overtly critical eye because hey they’re uncovering a mystery.

Here there may be a smattering of motive to kill her but no one grieves this character, not even her husband, the town isn’t moved by this murder. We don’t care that she’s dead because no one else does.

Which is why I think it shoehorned a plot about a dead prom queen which would of worked for the main plot but adding a prologue and occasional reference to her just seems like forgotten emotional labour.

The flicker of a good show

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I regret not using Nancy Drew book puns as subtitles, if you’re writing something similar please Dm me and we will brainstorm.

Anyway…

This frozen pizza of a show does have some good points. Mainly acting, int his show mainly take place in one or two locations without much call for action leading the bulk of the interest to fall on the dialogue and the four main actors do a fantastic job. There’s genuinely chemistry between them and the campy, sarcastic and fun version of this show seems apparent when the four of them are together in the diner. I would hit the guys who play Ace and Bess as standouts.

It’s also a very slick TV show, it’s gorgeous to watch with a great colour palette and even though there seems to be only a few locations but everything about them is beautiful and it’s genuinely nice to watch.

I will keep watching, mainly because I’m a goblin with no tastebuds but also I want to see how this story progresses and how they cultivate those initial hurdles. There are some big names behind this show so I doubt my issues are just growing pains but rather integral points of the show as a whole.

Let me know what you think or what I got wrong in the comments down below…

Charmed Pilot Review

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s witchy reboot season, and the first offering is the revival/reboot/continuation of the 90s hit TV show Charmed now on the CW.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while (it’s cool I know you haven’t) you’ll know I’ve been following the Charmed revival since it was first in the works as a prequel just over two years ago.

The first episode aired on the CW last night with Madison, Macy and Mel being our new Charmed ones in a college setting with one dead mom and a book of shadows and ready to fight the forces of evil (I think.)

Ostensibly I thought it was a good pilot, things were set up but dynamics take a while to be defined, and I don’t think modern audiences are as cut out for a ‘monster of the week’ format as they were in the 90s but were this season is going remains to be seen.

Now lets got onto the thoughts I had about it as a whole, word of warning there are spoilers, and there’s no particular order to the list I’m just attempting to get a framework and pretend this blog is professional.

If you’ve watched, then please join me down below, if you haven’t go watch- it’s a fun 40 minutes- then read and please feel free to email and we will argue.

Things I liked About The Charmed Pilot.

  1. I love me a college setting with a solid reason for every sister being there; it’s like having a small-town setting with all the amenities of a big city- a perfect choice
  2. I enjoyed all the sisters as individual characters, everyone was clearly defined, and I believe that helps with the witty banter that weaved itself into the show
  3. It was campy af, from the dialogue to the way the story goes  and I love me some camp we’ve seen too many gritty revivals give me something silly
  4. Enjoyed the White Lighter character- looking at other comments I think I’m in the minority for this- but I guess they objectively need a light sparring energy to play off some of the more serious elements- again campy shit is something I enjoy
    Did not realise the eldest sister was British until I googled so I’m impressed with the accent
  5. The main ‘humanistic’ (is that the right word?) arc of the story to do with sexual assault within a college based environment I felt was handled well
    I liked all the acting  everyone was charming and seemed to have a hold on their character
  6. The sorority captain was also very funny, and I hope she stays around as like their human adversary
  7. Overall I liked it because it was fun, silly and an enjoyable piece of TV, I will be watching the next episode however if they don’t find their feet quick enough I am worried that this won’t last long

Things I didn’t like About The Charmed Pilot

  1. This should have just objectively been a two-hour special to settle into the rhythm of things as we moved very quickly from mom’s death to secret sister to we’re witches to there’s a demon oh wait that’s the wrong demon. We’re introduced to all these characters and what’s more these characters are added to each other, it just felt natural that it would take them a little longer. Two hours would have also given them time to set up the mystery more although I will be watching the next episode I’m not desperate to watch it if you get me
  2. At the moment I don’t understand why this is a Charmed reboot (or is it a revival or a continuation I don’t know atm) add one more sibling and make half of them male, and you could do the same storyline without the connection to Charmed. I feel like this show could have worked on its own merits it’s not like a Book of spells, and the Source of All Power are two unique concepts to the original Charmed.
  3. On a different but also kind of the same note, most revivals/reboots at least have a connection to the original and at least casting Daryl as campus security would have been a nice homage. I feel like Charmed fans are really loyal (we would have watched that Billy spin-off for christ sake.) Even the way the book and the whitelighter worked didn’t seem cohesive with the old show if you want to get the old fans on board you have to give us something.
  4. WHY WAS THE MAIN DEMON LITERALLY WALMART THE NIGHT KING- I will eventually find a screenshot but my god none of them mentioned it throughout the whole fight scene even said the shocking similarity to the Game of Thrones character- it was right there just put a lampshade on it
  5. I just feel like I don’t know what I’m in store for this season, will this work or will it be cancelled after three episodes who tf knows at this point.

Anyway, I’m here for the next lot of episodes, and I’m secretly hoping for an original cast appearance here’s the trailer for the second episode.

18 Things About The New Netflix Sabrina Reboot

So I may have missed the boat talking about the new Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot when everyone cared about but my excitement is still there and whether you’re discovering that there is a Sabrina reboot through this post or you’re just bored and hoping to point out something I got wrong

Hi

So after trawling the internet here are 18 things we currently know about the Sabrina reboot

  1. Sabrina will be based on the comic books not the TV series. Fans will be more likely to remember Sabrina the Teenage Witch from the TV series starring Melissa Joan Hart in the 90s however this version of Sabrina will be based on the darker and twister Sabrina published in 2014 called ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
  2. It will be a Riverdale spinoff: Although we don’t know exactly what that means at this point, we know that Sabrina will exist in the same universe as the Riverdale most likely taking place in Greendale which has been shown/referenced to before
  3. It’s going to be on Netflix instead of the CW. Netflix and CW do have a contract so a smarter person than I could unpack that for you but this potentially means more blood and violence (yay) and less actors cast because of their unbelievably stunning good looks.
  4. The show itself is said to be in the vein of Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist
  5. It was rumoured that Sabrina was going to show up in the first season of Riverdale walking into Pops, this was back when Chloe Grace Moretz was rumoured to be in the role
  6. A leaked casting list showed Charlie Torr, Ariel Kaplan and  Adelina Hudson in the running
  7. A quote from the show added to the imdb also says “I… wanted you to see where I was born, Harvey. Not in Greendale General, like it says on my birth certificate. Here. In this grove of trees. Almost sixteen years ago… And, uhm, where I’ll be reborn this Saturday night. On my birthday. At the stroke of midnight. In the middle of a – a penumbral lunar eclipse. The kind that only happens once every sixty-six years… That’s why I can’t go to Rosalind’s Halloween party this weekend. Keirnan Shipka (Mad Men) will be playing the title character of Sabrina Spellman, described as a relatively ordinary girl who knows she’s a witch but is sort of not super on board about the whole being evil side of it “
  8. Miranda Otto (Lord Of The Rings) will play Aunt Zelda who is described as pragmatic and she was played by Beth Brodrick in the 90s sitcom version
  9. Lucy Davis (The Office UK) will play Aunt Hilda who is described as ‘forbearing’ and was played by Caroline Rhea in the 90s version
  10. The showrunner will be Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who has previously worked on Riverdale, Supergirl and Glee
  11. It’s rumoured to be getting a Halloween release date
  12. The first episode is called ‘Chapter One: October Country’
  13. The first season will have twenty episodes in total
  14. Chance Perdomo (Midsomer Murders) will be on the roster as Ambrose Spellman, Sabrina’s cousin who is unable to leave the Spellman house due to breaking the rules. From a bit of digging Chance seems like a British actor and this will be his first major role stateside.
  15. Michelle Gomez (Doctor Who) marks the fourth Brit on the cast list, she will be playing Mary Wardell, a favourite teacher of Sabrina’s who becomes possessed by the devil
  16. Texas actress Jaz Sinclair (Easy, Paper Towns) joins the cast as Rosalind Walker, Sabrina’s best friend who is the daughter of an outspoken pastor in the town
  17. Richard Coyle (The Fall) is the fifth Brit and will be playing Father Blackwood, theHigh Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts
  18. Harvey Kinkle has not been cast but his role is very important to the series

The Heather’s Reboot Is So Not Very

Was I super pumped for the Heathers reboot? Yes

Did said pumpness wane when I saw the trailer? Yes

Was viewing The Heather’s reboot super disappointing? Yes

Will writing a far too long opinion piece on a TV show not many people are watching do anything to help my insomnia, also will I ever stop asking myself questions in text form? No on all counts.

For anyone coming to this blind, Heather’s was a much loved dark comedy from 1988 featuring a young Christian Slater and Winona Ryder. The story revolved around a clique of Heathers who were rich, blonde and your typical 80s movie characters and their friend Veronica Sawyer who was not. In a twisted fantasy played out Veronica and her sociopathic boyfriend end up murdering the popular girl.

Heather’s were your original plastics, they were your original clique and you’ve seen the exact same set up in a bunch of different places from jawbreakers to scream queens, teen murder and killing the high school popular girl is as common as you’d expect.

The new version plays out in pretty much the exact same way except the new version is filled with those gosh darn millennials being offended by everything and using a lot of social media to talk with hipsters (or whatever the current teen lingo is)

The new Heathers has Veronica Sawyer feeling isolated as she’s just ordinary compared to her peers who define themselves by their problems. It just all feels…eh… which is a huge disappointment because I loved the original and I was so down for this reboot.

I’m going to dust off my old English lit hat to try and explain what disappoints me about this…

The original Heathers were the old guard of high school cliches, the preppy, scrunchy haired popular girl that was at the epicenter of most 80s high school movies, she was the girl in Can’t Buy Me Love, Revenge of the Nerds and literally any horror movie. And then we had Veronica who dressed in all black and with an apathy for life literally kills off her old counterparts. Heathers which was released in 1988 coincided with the grunge movement, Veronica moreover Winona Ryder epitomized that next stage of teendom that had previously gone unnoticed and would define the upcoming 90s.

The Veronica in this version is defined by her ‘ordinariness’ and is constantly harkening back to the days when you didn’t need a label and you could just be normal, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming out of the mouth of a sixteen-year-old. Assuming Veronica is 16/17 in 2018 her old days stretch probably as far back as 2012, which is the same year 21 Jump Street (the reboot) came out making a very similar joke except it was ‘nerds are cool now’.

Moving on, ‘You ugg boot latte’ word salad and catchphrases like ‘just’ and ‘feeling toastie’ all feel like pale comparisons to the original script and I can only imagine how they come across to someone who hasn’t seen the original. The jokes were what held together the Heathers but here the same awkward diversity jokes kind of read like rejected phrases from Glee (which is the closest show I can relate this too)

There are some things I like about it, the sight gag out of the school board outside, the ‘big fun’ potato chips and a lot of the direction and use of colors were fun to watch.  Furthermore, I can’t fault the actors, most are really good comic actors which sold the ‘sad face emoji’ joke.

Next to- for some reason again – reference a Ryan Murphy show, Scream Queens ridiculous first season got a lot of the pop culture references and social media stuff right. Here social media seems nonexistent until the main Heather uses it there’s a massively missed opportunity to go full ham with a mean girls cafeteria scene around social media cliques and the way they make their way into schools ‘you’ve got your instagram hoes, your linkedin bros, your meme posters and your follow boasters’

We are due a decent satire of modern-day high school and horror has always been a side order of the teen genre so it goes well together. But Heathers just feels like it trips over itself. 80s pretty popular girl was such a common high school movie trope that she fit perfectly into the caricature Heather of her time which is why so many people responded to it. Here there just aren’t enough mainstream high school TV or movies where our diverse Heathers are portrayed that they’ve become a trope of the genre. (again possibly Glee but I think I’m probably the only person that watched glee through to the end)

Does anything I write matter? In the words of Veronica Sawyer probably, at some point, no but I keep thinking how this could have made a solid one and half movie on Netflix to burn fast and bright but as a TV show Heathers feels like it’s going to grow tired quickly.

Other thoughts

  • J.D reads  Tate in American Horror Story (seriously I don’t even watch that many Ryan Murphy shows but for some reason these are my only comparisons.) And stoic and brooding psycho boy feels out of place next in horror comedy, Christian Slater’s original ott performance would have been perfect here.
  • Shannen Doherty’s cameo was divine, shocking, creepy and perfect
  • I so desperately wanted to like this but when you’re rebooting the original of a popular genre you’ve either got to stick exactly to the original or capture something entirely new, this did neither.
  • Nothing felt shocking or offensive enough for this to be a scandalous hate watch either

Hasn’t Charmed Always Been A Feminist Show?

The planned reboot of Charmed is adding ‘feminist storyline’ but isn’t the whole show unapologetically feminist anyway? 

The Charmed reboot offically has a pilot order with the new tagline reading: “This fierce, funny, feminist reboot of the original series centers on three sisters in a college town who discover they are witches. Between vanquishing supernatural demons, tearing down the patriarchy, and maintaining familial bonds, a witch’s work is never done.”

Witchcraft has always been linked with female power which is why during the 18th century it caused just a slight murdery international panic. And Charmed reclaimed that within it’s first episodes, the Halliwell sisters were a martiarchy, powerful and well developed women. A feminist take on Charmed is like having well…a magical take on Charmed, the show just isn’t Charmed without feminism guiding it’s way through.

And this is echoed by Holly Marie Coombs on twitter who expressed feeling slightly peeved about the reboot. And it’s a fair point. Why is it a reboot without the support of anyone from the original show, even the Heathers reboot got a Shannen Doherty cameo.

I personally would have preferred the new Charmed to be a continuation of the show that ended in 2006. Although continuing the Roseanne reboot trend they should ignore the final season and any mention of Billy but timewise we are perfectly positioned for a teen Wyatt and Chris story and for Phoebe and Paige’s kids as well. There is a generation that would really  respond to the backstory built up by the old Charmed shows and you could easily modernise some of the issues.

Diversity was a glaring problem in the rewatch, race and sexuality were not topics discussed or touched upon. As a lot of the Charmed mythology was pulled from real concepts e.g. wicca, widening the diversity aspect of the show could pull through the inevitable dry spells a 22 episode season is going to go through.

I honestly don’t know why the Charmed reboot never worked there was a whole host of stories there, it could have easily done what 90210 did but with more magic and a bit more bite.

Despite everything I’m really excited for the Charmed reboot, screenwriting duo Amy Rardin and Jessica O’Toole who worked on Jane the Virigin, Selfie and Greek, shows I personally loved and are plentiful with wit and dry and humour which I believe made Charmed great.

But the proof will be in the pudding, a modern Charmed will have to be a good balance between the three sisters (a tricky task when most modern shows have a main cast of at least five) a magical element that doesn’t look like a bad Supernatural and a romantic element that doesn’t eclispe the overarching story.

I’d like to see it have the same episodic feel as the original Charmed but I’m guessing it’ll attempt a little bit more of a Riverdale style.

Casting ideas anyone?

 

That’s So Raven spinoff gets a name

The That’s So Raven spinoff is officially gaining steam as it’s been announced the Disney Channel show will be called ‘Raven’s Home.’

Although we know that Raven-Symoné and Anneliese van der Pol will be reprising their roles of teen-psychic Raven and best friend Chelsea.

The original series ran between 2003 and 2007 as one of the most well-loved shows on the Disney Channel. Now over ten years later Raven looks to be returning home as a single mother moving in with Chelsea as her twin boy and girl inherit her mystical power.

The CW is rebooting Dynasty

After uneven success with the likes of 90210 and Melrose Place the CW is continuing their tried and tested method of relaunching beloved soap series. The original series which ran from 1981-1989 documenting the trials and tribulations of two feuding families, the Carringtons and the Colbys, both oil rich families in Denver, Colorado.

Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage who helmed the notorious Cali teen soap “The OC.” Richard and Esther Shapiro who created the original series are also attached to the reboot which is great so hopefully it will continue to have the heart the original season possessed.

Heres the longline from the Hollywood Reporter:

The series will be told primarily through the perspectives of two women at odds: Fallon Carrington — daughter of billionaire Blake Carrington — and her soon-to-be stepmother, Cristal — a Hispanic woman marrying into this WASP family and America’s most powerful class. In an age where dynasties appear everywhere