All hope is not lost for the Nancy Drew TV series that executives, if not fans, have been thirsting for. After CBS dropped the project last year in part because it “skewed too female,” NBC is here to pick up the remains, refashioning them into a different concept altogether.
According to Deadline, the series will have the same executive producers as the CBS version, and the network will still have a role in production. Otherwise, though, NBC’s Nancy Drew will be completely different from the earlier iteration:
In NBC’s Nancy Drew, written by the duo, when the author of the most famous female teen detective book series is thrust into a real-life murder mystery, who does she turn to for help? Her two best friends from childhood, who were the inspiration for all those books and the women who have a real ax to grind about the way their supposed best friend chose to portray them all those years ago.
CBS’s “too female” take would have focused on Drew, portrayed as an adult working as a detective for the NYPD while “navigating the complexities of life in a modern world,” which I take to mean long days on the beat and long nights waiting in Park Slope cocktail bars for Tinder dates that never show. Person of Interest star Sarah Shahi would have played the title role, and the cast was briefly lauded for its “diversity” before it got dumped.
But CBS opted not to pick up the show, deciding instead to green-light executive producers Tony Phelan and Joan Rater’s other pilot, Doubt (which has since been cancelled). The new version sounds somewhat more captivating than the earlier pitch, but also laced with potential pitfalls if not handled deftly.
In NBC’s version, Nancy has grown up and achieved a certain measure of fame for writing books based on her childhood exploits with her two best friends, though her habit of casting herself as the main protagonist had a chilling effect on her friendships:
The series is about Nancy getting back together with her girlfriends as they all are now women of a certain age, in their 40s or 50s. Overcoming the inevitable bad blood, they pull on their strength, which is their knack for solving mysteries together.
Their age “we think is their superpower; no one notices them when they walk in. It’s a way for them to fly under the radar,” Rater said. “They talk about how they feel unseen.”
On the one hand, good that the issue of sidelining women over the age of 35 is being addressed. On the other hand: “Their superpower”? This could end badly, and there are so many other networks left to shop this to.