Drew (CBS) pilot preview: Nancy is back, older, smarter, sexier and more boring than ever!

Sarah-Shahi-Backgrounds

Gotcha Day“. Created by Joan Rater & Tony Phelan (Grey’s Anatomy, Madam Secretary). Based on Edward Stratemeyer. Directed by Marc Webb (Limitless, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, 500 Days of Summer). Executive produced by Dan Jinks (American Beauty, Harvey Milk, Big Fish), Nick Nantell, Joan Rater & Tony Phelan. For CBS, CBS Television Studios & The Dan Jinks Company. 60 pages.

Description: Now in her 30s, Nancy Grace is a detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world and grieving the death of her best friend…

With Sarah Shahi (Person Of Interest, Life, Fairly Legal, The L Word), Anthony Edwards (ER, Zodiac, Top Gun), Vanessa Ferlito (24, Graceland, Grindhouse), Steve Kazee (Shameless US), Felix Solis (The Following, The Good Wife), Debra Monk (Grey’s Anatomy, Damages)…

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I’m not very familiar with the iconic Nancy Drew character -never read any book, never seen any movie or series about her- but I’m pretty sure that what CBS is doing with this version is wrong and not respectful to the spirit of the original idea. What made it fresh and different at the time was that the heroine was a 16-year-old teenage girl solving mysteries. Not a big boy. Not an older woman. Not a professional. Veronica Mars before Veronica Mars. That was the whole point! CBS Television Studios could have turned the cult property into a nice little CW show while keeping the character as a child. But instead, they decided to make of her a 30-year-old detective. Like we already had a million over the years. Sad to say Nancy Drew is not fresh and different anymore. She’s just one more smart cop investigating crimes in New York. Does CBS need her? Not really. Do we? Certainly not! Then why bother?

The first scene of the pilot is exactly what we don’t want to see in detective dramas anymore. How to turn off your TV in 30 seconds. Nancy is driving a Uber -it’s her a job since she left the NYPD- and starts analyzing every detail coming from her client’s look and clothing, just to pass the time and because clearly she can’t help it. In a minute, she’s able to tell her whole story, just because of a stain on her shirt (I’m not kidding). This know-it-all attitude, from The Mentalist to Dr House and recently useless addition Rosewood, has had its day. It’s just irritating now. Not funny anymore. Especially when there’s nothing else to get our teeth into. At least, Lucifer is fucking Lucifer, the Devil! The hero of Forever was immortal. That’s something! But Nancy? Just a sad and angry woman who lost her best friend, Bess -same as in the books, at least they kept the characters- six months ago and who can’t stop thinking about her ever since (the same as Unforgettable‘s heroine with her sister). The girl wrote a suicide note but Nancy is convinced its a fake, that she was murdered. Long story short: she investigates about her suspicious death the whole episode, with the help of her other best friend, George, a lesbian who also happens to be a cop. Of course. And in the end, spoiler alert… they crack the case. How surprising! So now, Nancy is not so sad anymore and she’s even ready to go back to the precinct. Meaning: the next episodes will be even more boring than the first one! You’ve been warned.

The first act is really painful to read. The writers use the laziest way to introduce the story and the characters. Writing for dummies. That’s what it is. I can’t even say it’s efficient. Because it’s not. Who likes watching two people saying things they already know to each other so the viewers can be on the same page? Who likes watching a character saying out loud what we all very well understood, just to make sure we’re not lost because maybe we’re stupid? The other acts are not particularly better but at least they’re a little less predictable. Overall, the investigation is full of plot holes and nonsense. I’m not good at solving mysteries but Nancy didn’t impress me much. Even the dialogues are lazy. Okay, from time to time there is a funny line or a good joke. But the parts where George says “like we learned at the academy” (to underline the fact that she’s a by-the-book cop, contrary to Nancy) or Nance asks “Do I sound like a crazy person?” (as if there was any doubt about it, yes she does!) get excruciating at some point. Plus, everybody in Nancy’s entourage is very practical when you look at it: her father is a lawyer; her ex is a journalist and George’s girlfriend is a doctor. Meaning she will ask for their help every time she needs to. That doesn’t make her a good detective. Just a lucky girl. And where did the feminism of the books go? Still looking for it…

You know what could save Drew from the complete disaster it’s meant to be according to the pilot script? Sarah Shahi! People love her since Person Of Interest (and some of us since Life). It’s true, she’s great. She’s beautiful, she’s sexy, she can be funny and badass. She doesn’t really feel like Nancy Drew, at least the idea we have of her, but I’m sure she can do a decent job even with such a poor material. That what she already did with USA’s legal drama Facing Kate a few years ago, actually. But will it be enough? Drew belongs to Lifetime or Hallmark Channel, not to CBS. And the young demo will never watch this. Nancy Drew was a big inspiration for many writers, many shows they created, now she’s obsolete and should stay where she belongs: in our memories. Next year, CBS will probably try to revive “The Famous Five“…

 

17 comments

    • Kara says:

      I think it has a good chance. CBS needs another female lead series, now that they won’t have The Good Wife next year. And, “Doubt” is way too much similar to TGW, not sure CBS would take the risk (nothing against the series, but I wouldn’t watch exactly because I’m a big fan of TGW).

      Honestly, I hope Drew gets picked up. The cast is great, and, from what I hear, so is the crew. And, who knows, maybe they rewrote or cut the scenes Lulla said were bad. These things happens sometimes.

  1. Zach says:

    Just saying, Marc Webb is directing. He is 3 for 4 on pilots getting picked up. I didn’t think Limitless was that great of a script. He made the pilot fun and cool. Wait, a fun and cool CBS show? When did I turn 50? In all seriousness, he is the reason I wouldn’t count this out.

    • Lulla says:

      Honestly, I wouldn’t count it out either. I do think they will pick it up, whether it’s bad or not… I just think they will have to make a choice between Nancy Drew & MacGyver.

  2. Grammar Police says:

    I think you meant “heroine” not “heroin.”

    “Heroin is an addictive narcotic derived from morphine. A heroine is a female protagonist in a work of fiction.”

  3. Raine says:

    My mom introduced me to Nancy Drew which I later continued collecting well until Minstrel and Wanderer books that I can find through the book thrift shops near me and when I heard about the new show and the lead, I was apprehensive and not feeling the premise. *sigh* I wish they left the iconic character alone. I used to watch “Person of Interest” but I wasn’t just clicking with Shahi even in “Shades of Ray” movie.

    I vaguely remember the Hardy Boys/ Nancy Drew Mystery TV show (thanks Mom) but it would be great to have from that original cast do a Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Movie for either Hallmark or Lifetime, just as this fan list idea posted. The virtual list reminded me of what Smallville did by inviting the actors connected with the Superman mythos through the show’s run. I hope someone throws the movie idea around or… maybe they have? 🙁

  4. Barrett says:

    I love Nancy Drew, but this reboot seems WAY off!!! I’ll check it out since I’m a die-hard fan, but I’ll surely be making fun of it (although Sarah Shahi should be great).

  5. Elli says:

    Sorry, but get your facts straight. Sarah Shahi is absolutely disliked (hated) by many of the Person of Interest fans. She was a big factor that ruined this show. Period.

    While i wish her luck for this new job (because this means she can’t ruin the shows i still watch) i already know for sure i won’t watch anything with her in it. She has no talent.

    • Dee says:

      Sorry guys. Sarah was well loved by POI fans. It is the JC fans that are really the haters who thought she was taking up their preciousssss John Reese’s screen time. In fact JC is getting old and tired of all the fight screens and welcomed Sarah’s addition to the show. It took some stunts off him. Other than the fact her acting skills are way better him…..

  6. OldyBuggA says:

    You didn’t read the book… why bother trying to see if it corresponds or not?
    Shahi could switch it yes… she is loved since way before POI, but people should never base a series on its pilot. Let’s wait and see.

  7. lulabell says:

    As a kid, I devoured the Nancy Drew books. I wasn’t sure how this re-imagined concept would work, and I don’t hate reboots just because they’re reboots like some, but I fully intended to give this show a try. *sigh* But here’s CBS thinking they’re on the forefront of “diversity” by hiring the truly mediocre Sarah Shahi and trying to pass her off as a woman of color. *heavy sigh* Even if I could’ve gotten past that, this preview pretty much tells me to not waste my time. Thanks for that.

  8. Mary Beth says:

    So George is a lesbian (lightly implied in the books, but in this context it just feels like pandering) and Bess is dead. And Nancy is 30-something. Why did they ever bother keeping the character’s name? It sounds awful. What exactly is their target audience here? My teen daughter won’t watch it because it’s too “old”. My older sons won’t watch it because “Ewww, Nancy Drew, those old books? Yuck.” I won’t watch it because I loved the books as a child and unless it’s damn clever, it will just piss me off.

    And like Anna, I am pretty unimpressed with Sarah Shahi’s acting abilities. I’m fearful that they’ll resort to shower scenes in short order in a desperate attempt to gain demo.

  9. Anna says:

    I hated, no, I loathed, Sarah Shahi on Person of Interest. (Can you hear her rabid psycho fans screeching in anger as they read this? It’s like nails on a chalkboard) I stopped watching when her one expression, boring delivery, talentless ass made series regular.

    So, it goes without saying that this new Nancy Drew series doesn’t hold any appeal for me. Which is a shame because I enjoyed the books.

    Wish they had picked someone else. You know, someone who could act.

    • John says:

      Woah all the haters…. If you think she is bad? Then Jim Caviezel must be the worst of all. No expression at all. Not even when he is dying, bleeding to near death. Nothing at all. They must be hiring him for his height.

  10. Shizuru says:

    Sounds just as bad as Supergirl. Not surprising since CBS only has one great series – Person of Interest – and they’re treating it like crap.

    • Chris says:

      I have nothing against any of the actors, but this doesn’t sound at all like the Nancy Drew I grew up with (I still have a complete set of ND books). I’ll repeat what has been said before: CBS, why bother??

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