Today on YouTube, the creator, showrunner and stars of Nancy Drew gathered for a virtual celebration, commemorating the 90th anniversary of a literary classic, breaking down the thinking behind the CW series’ first seasons, while teasing developments to come in Season 2.
The latest TV series based on an iconic set of mystery novels, Nancy Drew centers on Nancy (Kennedy McMann), an 18-year-old who finds herself and her four friends pulled into a murder mystery, after her plans for college are put on hold.
Toward the end of Season 1, a major twist transpires, as Nancy learns that her biological father is not Carson Drew (Scott Wolf), but rather, Ryan Hudson (Riley Smith), the man she’s accused of multiple murders, whose wife has been haunting her.
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“It’s essentially a dad triangle now, heading into Season 2. I think there’s an opportunity to explore the authenticity as a parent when you let down your kid,” EP Melinda Hsu Taylor said, referring to the arc of Carson, during the ATX TV panel. “It’s really rough, but I think there’s so much juice there to propel journeys, because we want [Nancy and Carson] to get back to the good place they’re in, in the books.”
“What’s exciting about where we go from here is, it’s not the type of show that gets wrapped up right away,” co-creator Noga Landau added. “There’s a real long journey Nancy’s going to go on now with her two dads.”
During the virtual panel—which also featured McMann, Wolf and Jennifer Fisher, President of the Nancy Drew Fan Club—Landau noted that Season 2 will use Carson’s law practice as a story engine, “with the additional twist of, ‘I’ve got a billionaire dad, waiting in the wings.’”
In conversation with Damian Holbrook of TV Guide Magazine, Landau was also asked whether we’ll ever learn the last name and true identity of Ace, the Bayside Claw’s congenial dishwasher/cook who has had secrets of his own to hide. “That’s a great question,” she teased. “We won’t say when. But one day, we will.”
Throughout today’s wide-ranging conversation, Landau and Taylor talked in depth about the genesis of this new take on Nancy Drew, noting that it emerged around the same time as the #MeToo movement, and has thus been written with the movement in mind. Per Landau, #MeToo underpins some of the series’ supernatural elements, serving to keep the show grounded, modern and fresh. “The world opens up more and more in Season 2, when it comes to the supernatural, but the guiding principle is always, what is the [metaphor] we’re telling the story about?” she said. “It’s important to always ground the supernatural in some human truth.”
For the Nancy Drew cast, the notion of taking a classic and powerful female character and bringing her into the modern age was part of what made the series such a draw. “There’s something about hearing the name Nancy Drew. You have all these associations of what this story probably looks like,” Wolf said. “[But] when I first read the script, I was so taken with…how challenging and complicated Noga, Melinda and the team wanted to make this iteration.”
Debuting on The CW last October, Nancy Drew was renewed for a second season in January. Adapted for the small screen by Landau, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the series also stars Leah Lewis, Maddison Jaizani, and Tunji Kasim.
Streaming online between Friday, June 5th and Sunday, June 7th, “ATX TV… from the Couch!” is the first virtual iteration of the ATX Television Festival. Held yearly in Austin, Texas, the festival moved online, after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered countless film and television events held around the world.