Friday, 23 August 2013

The Hardy Boys Grow Up: The Hardy Boys Mysteries Season 3 Review

Are there any mystery fans out there who haven’t read at least one Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mystery? Dating back to 1927, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries have been the gateway drugs for generations of mystery junkies and their influence can be felt in a wide range of other teen and children’s series ranging from Scooby Doo to Veronica Mars and Supernatural. Yet, amazingly, none of the various attempts to adapt these series directly for film or television have ever been all that successful. That is, with the exception of the late 1970’s series The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries starring Pamela Sue Martin (and later Janet Louise Johnson) as Nancy and Parker Stevenson and pop singer Shaun Cassidy (half-brother of David and uncle of Katie) as Frank and Joe Hardy.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries started off as a weekly series that alternated episodes featuring the Hardy Boys with those featuring Nancy Drew, but in Season Two the format was changed to include cross-over episodes (such as The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Meet Dracula) with the three detectives working together for the first time ever. It managed to remain true enough to the original novels (in particular, maintaining the supernatural-themed mysteries that made the books so much fun), while updating a few details here and there to appeal to the audiences of the time (such as giving Shaun Cassidy ample opportunities to sing). However, due to the fact that the Hardy Boys developed a bigger following than Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boy eventually became the main characters of the series and Nancy a supporting character. Which brings us to Season Three, the primary focus of this review.

In the third season, Nancy was written out completely and the show retitled The Hardy Boys Mysteries, although a better title might have been The Hardy Men. In this season, Frank and Joe, having presumably graduated from college, take up jobs with the Justice Department and the Scooby Doo-esque mysteries of the first two seasons are suddenly replaced with more serious fare, such as Joe tracking down the hit and run driver who killed his fiancĂ©. Cassidy and Stevenson had some great chemistry going between them that made for a brotherly bond as convincing and likeable as that of Dean and Sam Winchester, and that’s still present. However, all the fun has been sucked from the series, rendering it indistinguishable from every other mystery show of the time. Cassidy isn’t even given the opportunity to sing – quite surprising, considering that one episode centres on the Hardys working with singer David Gates and his band Bread to find a Russian girl who has defected to the US. Needless to say, the changes to the series didn’t go down well with fans and after ten episodes, the show was finally cancelled.

The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries is essential viewing for any fans of the books, past or present, but only the first two seasons. After that, save your time and money and switch to watching the similar, but much better, Supernatural and Veronica Mars instead.

Verdict: A disappointing ending to an otherwise entertaining series. For fans only.

No comments:

Post a Comment