Clue Club: Nancy Drew Episode 101, "Pilot"

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Nancy Drew 101 Pilot

RIVERDALE meets VERONICA MARS in this new cynical take on Carolyn Keene's iconic girl detective, Nancy Drew.

Nancy (KENNEDY McMANN) is an 18-year-old high school graduate. She's been a sleuth since her early teen years, getting hooked on mystery solving when she broke the case of a missing child. But when her mother died, her world fell apart. She tanked her grades, blew her college admissions, and now works as a waitress in her town that's a mixture of idyllic life and pervasive darkness. But when a wealthy patron's wife is found murdered outside the diner, Nancy and her friends are considered suspects in the crime.

Which is ridiculous, and obviously just the police chief displaying his petty jealousy for all the years Nancy was a pain in his ass, solving crimes he couldn't. Right? It certainly seems that way -- after all, we the audience were witnesses to the entire thing, so we know none of the clue crew committed the crime.

Until Nancy starts digging, and we realize soon enough that nobody is above suspicion.

The pilot for the series sets an uncomfortable tone for longtime fans of Nancy Drew. The largest departure is probably the strained relationship between Nancy and her father, attorney Drew Carson (SCOTT WOLF). From the opening moments, we are led to believe there's some shady secret in the senior Drew's past that Nancy has been vaguely aware of since she was a child. But every time the two come face to face, it's a blow-up, and it's usually instigated by Nancy's smart mouth attitude.

There's also a supernatural overtone to the show, as we learn about the urban legend of Dead Lucy, visit with a medium who channels a spirit telling Nancy to "find the dress" (which she does in the most unexpected place), and a video that shows the murder victim being struck down by what appears to be a ghost.

A particularly nice nod to the fans comes with the cameo in the person of Harriet Grosset, played by former Nancy Drew actress PAMELA SUE MARTIN. However, it's still a shaky start for a longstanding franchise. I predict in typical CW style there will be an attempt at a season-long mystery, which is going to make for some drawn-out crime-solving. I'm not sure the Nancy Drew platform is made for that, but we'll see what the writers' room has up its collecitive sleeves.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0