Friday, October 1, 2021

Reflections about the Nancy Drew Series on The CW

I wrote this awhile back and thought about splitting the post into two parts.  In looking over the post today, I decided that it was fine overall but edited some parts.  The third season of CW's Nancy Drew series premieres in one week, so this is a good time to publish this post.

The Nancy Drew CW show is quite controversial since it is very different from the original books.  Some fans have been able to enjoy the show, while others cannot.  My impression has been that at least 75% of Nancy Drew fans don't like the show.  However, when many people are vocal about being against something, the fans who like it don't speak up.  The actual percentage of fans who don't like the show is likely lower than what it appears, but I still think more than 50% of fans do not like the show. 

This is quite understandable, especially considering how the first five minutes of the first episode of the series played out.  The series opening scene was ill-conceived and guaranteed that a majority of Nancy Drew fans would never like the show.

Back in 2002 (or more likely in early 2003), I spoke up in favor of the Nancy Drew movie starting Maggie Lawson amid strong criticism by what seemed like most other fans.  Many were making rather strong negative statements about the movie, and I didn't understand why they were so upset.  I still don't understand why they were so upset.  But anyway, I felt I had to say something to defend the movie.  I did but immediately regretted it. 

One fan who didn't like the movie upset me by specifically responding to my comments, tearing them apart, and twisting them around to support his viewpoint against the movie.  I've never forgotten that response and remain a bit bitter about it.  I was wryly amused not too long ago when that very person posted on Facebook about how he has changed his mind about that movie.  Years ago, he was so upset about the Maggie Lawson movie that he could not tolerate people expressing opinions in favor of it.  Now he thinks that movie is okay.

If I could go back in time, I would never have spoken up in favor of that movie.  My feelings were quite hurt after what happened. 

I stay out of discussions about the CW Nancy Drew series when the content overwhelmingly consists of fans stating that they do not like the show.  That's because I don't belong in those discussions.  I do read the comments, and I respect the opinions.  

Likewise, most of those fans stay out of episode discussions and posts where the content is from fans who enjoy the show.  If you are one of those respectful fans, your actions do not go unnoticed.  When you state your negative opinion of the show, it holds more weight because you comment when appropriate.    

Other fans insert themselves into every discussion post about the show.  They'll interrupt a discussion just to let us know that they hate the show.  Being obnoxious doesn't win any points.  I just ignore them.  Nothing in their comments even makes an impression on me because of how they do it.

If you want to have a chance at convincing people of something, you have to do it right.  You can't force people to agree with you like some people try to do.

I pay attention to the negative comments of the thoughtful fans who place their comments appropriately.  Some of you have stated that you are concerned about how the CW series could impact Nancy Drew's legacy.  You worry that the series could change the books.  This is a valid concern.

At this point in time, I'm not worried about it, but it is possible that the show could impact the books eventually.  If  it ever does, then I will be in line to complain.

To me, book Nancy is sacred.  Everything about book Nancy is sacred: the covers, the titles, the stories, and the character.  I dislike altered covers.  That is, I do like some altered covers if they gently poke fun at the original cover and keep the spirit of the original cover.  I strongly dislike altered covers that use sex, drugs, or foul language to make a joke.  That's not funny to me, since book Nancy has nothing to do with any of that.

I have had a problem with some of the books in the Nancy Drew Diaries series because I have felt that the ghostwriters have not be true to book Nancy.  In some books, Nancy seems reluctant to solve mysteries.  The other characters poke fun at her.  That's not how book Nancy should be.  

Some readers of this blog have tried to defend Nancy's characterization in the Diaries books, saying that the publisher is trying to make her relatable.  If that is true, then they have missed the mark.  Characters can be imperfect and shown to be that way without making them the butt of jokes.  

I want to mention why I like the CW show even though it isn't like book Nancy.  I see filmed versions as in a separate universe from the books.  If I find the filmed version to be entertaining, then I can accept it being off from the original premise.  The show is not at all a proper version of Nancy Drew, but I do like it for what it is

I see the show as a young adult story that has a touch of horror and a good bit of humor.  It's not surprising that I like the show because I like young adult horror.  I like young adult books just as much as I do vintage series books.  I really do, and this is the main reason why I do like CW Nancy Drew.  It's not a children's show and is not at all innocent, which is why many (or most) Nancy Drew fans don't like it.  I like it fine since it fits into a genre that I greatly enjoy.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I read Christopher Pike's books.  The stories usually have supernatural content, are humorous yet scary, and oftentimes are absurd.  The CW Nancy Drew show has all of those characteristics.

In the last decade, I have gravitated towards young adult dystopian novels.  While CW Nancy Drew is not dystopian, it certainly has some content that falls close to some of the books I have enjoyed reading.

I also appreciate that this show has lead me to watch at least one show that I otherwise never would have watched.  In the subreddit for the series, one fan asked for suggestions for other shows to watch.  One answer was Cruel Summer, which is a show from the Freeform network.  I read a short statement about the premise, which is that one teenage girl disappears while another one takes over her life.  I was intrigued, and checked out the first episode, which was available on Hulu with the rest of the episodes.  I was immediately captivated and ended up watching all of them. 

Watching Nancy Drew on The CW has also led to me being willing to watch some shows and movies based on books, such as Enola Holmes and the Fear Street trilogy on Netflix.  Thanks to the Nancy Drew series, I have actually learned a few modern songs that I otherwise never would have heard.  I like that.

I just wish that certain people wouldn't imply that something is wrong with those of us who choose to watch the CW series.  I wish that those certain people would quit pestering us.  It's okay that some of us are able to enjoy the show, just like it's okay that others aren't.  Please feel free to share your thoughts about the show, either pro or con.  It is okay.

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