no. 4: Nancy Drew is TV's Best Kept Secret

in which Sydney interviews Sarah and Ben from What's New Nancy Drew and Kati discusses the pulp goodness that is the Nancy Drew Files

no. 4: Nancy Drew is TV's Best Kept Secret

Nancy Drew may be one of the best spooky shows on television right now. Actually, I’ll say it is the best spooky show. The CW mystery series draws on the characters and lore of the Stratemeyer Syndicate book series, weaving together nostalgia with a fresh take on everyone’s favorite girl detective.

For this week’s issue, I had the privilege of chatting with Sarah and Ben, hosts of What’s New Nancy Drew. Their weekly recap podcasts are filled with the best Nancy Drew takes, analyses, and theories. During the off season, they’ve watched other Nancy Drew media, read prequel novel The Curse, and even interviewed Tian Richards, star of soon-to-come ND spinoff Tom Swift.

Connect with Sarah and Ben on Twitter. Listen What’s New Nancy Drew on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.

Nancy Drew returns on October 8th at 9PM EST on the CW.

Interview with Sarah and Ben of What’s New Nancy Drew

Find excerpts of our conversation below. Read the whole conversation where we discuss Ryan’s character growth, season three theories, Tom Swift, and more!

What is What’s New Nancy Drew?

Decorative: What's New Nancy Drew Podcast Cover

Sydney
What led to your initial interest in the show? Why did you decide to start the podcast?

Sarah
It was my idea to do one. Ben and I have been talking about doing a podcast for a while, and then I saw Nancy Drew was coming out. So, I texted him and said, “Hey, do you want to do this podcast? I know you don’t know anything about her but I know you like Buffy [the Vampire Slayer] and strong female characters.” He gave me a thumbs up and an hour later I texted him again that I was serious. He said, “Yes, I would love to do it.” Then, we jumped in. We watched Buffy and Veronica Mars together, so this is our type of show.

Ben
I actually do a podcast with Sarah’s husband, who’s my brother, so she knew that I enjoyed the podcast element. She wanted to talk about Nancy and the only way to get me to do that is recording me

Sydney
Did either of you read the books or play the video games when you were younger? Or did your interest in the show stem from these other sci-fi and supernatural shows?

Sarah
All of the above for me. I played the games and still play them. I’ve always loved Nancy.

Ben
I knew nothing. Though, I was in a Hardy Boys play in school so I have a slightly closer connection to them. I was Joe [in the play]. It was called The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From. It was very silly and slapstick, an I-get-tied-to-a-chair-in-my-underwear kind of thing.

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Show and character growth

This section contains some spoilers for seasons one and two.

Sydney
How do you think the show has grown from season one to season two?

Ben
The world is really established and the characters are who they are so the [writers] can play with [the storylines] a bit more. Season one was really focused on Lucy, but now that we’ve got past Lucy and we've seen you know Nancy's history, it gives them the ability to dive into all the separate characters.

Sydney
I agree. I’ve been doing a rewatch with my Nancy Drew discord. It's interesting watching it back now and seeing how much the characters have changed.

George (Leah Lewis) looks on at her sister in the kitchen of The Claw
George (Leah Lewis, right) can have a hard exterior…except when it comes to her sisters

Sydney
Is there a character whose growth you think is really significant? Someone you like to watch grow and change throughout the show?

Sarah
The character with the biggest growth of the Drew Crew is George. George has learned to open up and she's overcome a lot of trauma that she went through, like her relationship with Ryan. Now, she’s become comfortable and happy in her relationship with Nick. George is accepting death now, so it’s a little bit dark, but she’s gotten a good arc. Otherwise, I think it’s Ryan.

Ben  
I knew you were going to take my Ryan answer! I'd like to throw Nick in there too. He's a lot more developed now and definitely stands up for himself a lot more than he did at the beginning of season one when he was in a relationship with Nancy. By the end of season two, he speaks his mind and doesn’t deal with people's shenanigans.

Sydney  
I agree with both of you on all fronts. I really enjoyed seeing Nick’s growth, especially at the end of season two when he stood up to the coffee shop person who was going to live in his building. And with Ryan, he's a completely different person than he was in season one.

All about season three

This section contains some spoilers for season two and prequel novel The Curse.

Nancy Drew Season 3 Promo Image: The Drew Crew stands in a candelit circle. A shadowy figure stands behind them as if a puppet master.
Season 3 premieres in just a few weeks!

Sydney
Is there anything you’re looking forward to seeing in season three? Any theories you have about what might happen?

Ben
The thing I'm most excited about for season three, now, is to hopefully have some Tom Swift crossovers. I want to see him come back. I want to see Nick and George go see him.

Sarah
I want to know more about the Women in White. We just read the prequel novel, The Curse. One of her friends is Daisy DeWitt and she's a member of a founding family of Horseshoe Bay. I really hope they bring her into it and maybe she's a Woman in White now, that kind of thing.

Sydney  
I'm also interested in that and in The Road Back and where all that goes. It's been two seasons of setup for this really big thing to happen.

Why should people watch Nancy Drew?

Sydney
Why should people watch Nancy Drew?

Sarah
It’s so good and it has a little bit of everything. It’s got mystery, it’s got humor, and it’s got serious stuff.

Ben
From a practical standpoint, with it being only two seasons in, it's not too late to catch up. Sometimes when someone will recommend a show to me, I'll say, “How many seasons are there?” If there's more than three or four, I'll say “You know, I'm good,” because it's just a lot of catching up. It’s still live and watching one and two won't take that long so anyone can get on board.

Read the full conversation


Why we love Nancy Drew

Ace hacks into a computer while Nick, George, and Bess look on
Ace (Alex Saxon, far right) aids the Drew Crew with his hacking prowess

I asked some members of my Nancy Drew fan discord why they like the show and this is what they had to say:

What I love about Nancy Drew Is that it’s a show that actively cares not only about its characters, but also its audience—and actively talks about things regardless of it being uncomfortable. What I also really love is that it manages to treat its characters that are people of color with so much respect and empathy that I’ve not seen in a TV show. [Nancy Drew] actively makes sure that people are being heard and seen through the characters and their storyline.
I love Nancy Drew because it gives me an opportunity to experience nostalgia in a new way! I feel like Nancy Drew as a whole is always re-inventing itself as it ages and new generations bring their own unique experiences to the fan base. I love how this show in particular has the spirit of the Nancy Drew that I grew up with in the books/games but makes much needed changes to be more inclusive and modern.

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Screen Break

by Kati Bowden

Working in a children's library means that I get to see Miss Nancy Drew just about every single day. While I can't call myself an avid reader of the girl detective's cases, what I do know is that the 1980s-1990s series, The Nancy Drew Files, had the best, pulpiest covers, and the most drama. At the time, The Nancy Drew Files was considered the edgiest version of the previously-squeaky clean stories that kids across America loved. Bad guys are really bad in this series--like, suuuuper rancid vibes. And the crimes that Nancy investigates now are happening to hip, stylish young folks in the eighties, making them more appealing to the modern youth. Basically, these are the most fun Nancy Drew books, in my opinion, and the gorgeous pulp-style covers are just one more reason why we should all form a giant book club dedicated to this series.

For the modern girl detective, I'd like to suggest Kit Frick's I Killed Zoe Spanos. Perfect for fans of the true crime podcast wave, I Killed Zoe Spanos is the story of two teens who become linked by one murder that rocks an entire town. Anna came to Herron Mills for a summer nanny job, but instead finds a community still reeling from the mysterious disappearance of a local girl--a local girl who looked a lot like Anna. Anna does her own investigating into the Zoe Spanos case, and soon convinces herself that she is connected to the missing girl. When Zoe's body suddenly turns up, Anna breaks and confesses to the murder. But Martina Green, host of the Missing Zoe podcast who's been studying the facts for months, thinks Anna's lying. It's up to Martina to prove Anna's innocence and find Zoe's real killer before the town of mourners turns into a mob against Anna.

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Listen to What’s New Nancy Drew!

Thank you again to Sarah and Ben, hosts of What’s New Nancy Drew for talking with Thursday Matinee for this week’s issue. Want to hear more from them? Listen to the podcast!

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