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The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries boasts very mild thrills and chills, making it perfect whole-family viewing for mystery lovers. The mysteries are mostly pretty gentle stuff: Tourist locales appear to be haunted, valuable jewelry is stolen from a benefit. Very rarely, the program will focus on a death, but no onscreen deaths occur. Scooby Doo-like supernatural trickery, in which monsters or ghosts are ultimately revealed to be hoaxes at the end of an investigation, is another running theme. Drew and the Hardy Boys are squeaky-clean and great role-models for teens and tweens, even though they can be a bit eye-rollingly sincere. The long-outdated fashions, hairstyles, and slang expressions may cause parent mocking; Mom and Dad may be called upon to explain such seventies fads as feathered hair and satin hot pants.
What's the story?
Based on long-running book series that featured teen sleuths, THE HARDY BOYS NANCY DREW MYSTERIES distinguished itself by changing the focus of its mystery hour each week. Some weeks, Nancy Drew (Pamela Sue Martin) would be investigating a supposedly haunted theater; some weeks, the Hardy Boys (Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson) would be looking into a UFO sighting. The weekly setup, however, was always the same: A mystery would be introduced and solved by the end of each hour (or the end of two episodes, for double-partners). Though Nancy and the Hardys were often prowling around dangerous locations or menaced by criminals, the shocks and thrills are very mild and there's never any real danger. In addition, the patriarchs of both the Drew and the Hardy families appear in each episode, giving guidance and support to their children.
Is it any good?
Nostalgia is the chief appeal of The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries, and few teens or tweens will want to watch it on their own without parental urging. Everything moves a little slowly, and there's a lot of talking about what characters will and should do and not as much actual doing as one would find on a modern detective show. That said, the show is a lot more innocent and fantastical than more modern updates. While a teen sleuth like Veronica Mars found herself in the middle of a brutal murder mystery, Nancy Drew or the Hardys are a lot more likely to go after a haunted cruise ship.
This is fare that parents would love their tweens and teens to watch, if only to connect over a shared love of mystery tales, and an appreciation of the kinds of shows Mom and Dad loved to watch. But said tweens and teens are probably likelier to enjoy the corny old clothes, hairstyles, and expressions than to be mesmerized by the unraveling of the show's mysteries.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are characterized and contrast it with the way wrongdoers are shown. What differences do you see in how the detectives dress vs. the criminals? What about what they say and how they act? Is it obvious on the show which characters are bad and which are good? How can you tell?
Why would a television show want to focus on teenage detectives rather than adult ones? Who do you think The Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Mysteries was made for, adults or for young people?
There have been many television shows and movies featuring young sleuths. Can you think of any? How are Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys like or unlike a detective like Veronica Mars, or the detectives on 21 Jump Street?
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