Great news for mystery fans: CBS has announced that they will be adapting the Nancy Drew book series for TV, and they have already found their star.
Nancy Drew Mysteries
Nancy Drew first appeared in print in the 1930s as the star of her own series of mystery novels. The character was a young woman who had graduated high school, and now spent her time solving mysteries as a hobby. She would generally hear about some kind of unsolved crime or mystery, and using her intelligence and moxie, followed the clues to discover what really happened (something the police never seemed capable of).
As the series progressed, Nancy changed along with it. In the '60s, Nancy became more feminine and the books were re-vamped to eliminate some of the more racist stereotypes found in the originals. In the '80s and '90s, The Nancy Drew Files revamped the series further, adding romantic sub plots and finally sending Nancy to college. In 2003, Girl Detective brought Nancy into the modern age of technology, but many criticized the series for dealing with non-cases (rather than the hauntings and crimes of her early days) and changing too much.
Now, Nancy is coming to the small screen in a new CBS show titled simply Drew. She's appeared in TV and film adaptations before, but this new series will have a very different approach to the classic character.
Drew takes place later in Nancy's life, when she is in her 30s with a successful career in homicide for the NYPD. After a very public humiliation for arresting the wrong person, Nancy quits the force and gets back to solving crimes as a solo sleuth. Much of her history (like her friendships with George and Bess) will remain the same, but the series will focus on the struggles of life as an adult (rather than a teen), and will undoubtedly be focused on a more realistic portrayal of the character.
THR has announced that Person of Interest and L Word star Sarah Shahi has been cast as the title character for the series. Shahi is an established name in TV, and has had brushes with mystery and crime series in the past, appearing in Psych, Fairly Legal, Life, Alias, and Sleeper Cell. With her experience, there is little doubt that she will make a fantastic ex-cop turned lone detective, and it will be fantastic to see what she does with this new incarnation of Nancy.
She's also a far cry from some of the earliest portrayals of Nancy as an uber-white blonde teen from a wealthy family — a decision that was made consciously to add diversity to the series.
The Future For Drew
Right now, Drew is still in the very earliest stages. The pilot is being written and produced by Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (Grey's Anatomy), and we will have to wait and see whether it is picked up by the network beyond that. Superhero and crime-fighter series are doing incredibly well on TV right now, and re-imaginings of characters popular in the '80s and '90s are huge.
It seems that Drew will fit nicely within these categories, and with the right angle, could be a huge success for the network.