By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
On YTV (Canada) and Hulu (USA)
Please check local listings for accurate showtimes
The television show, Hardy Boys, is finally broadcasting in Canada! Since making its debut in the States, I think interest has been minimal. Nancy Drew is better because it has a paranormal edge. Sadly, this series is being handled by another studio, so no crossover is expected. Had it, I would’ve been more invested in the ongoing narrative concerning a mysterious Tall Man and digging into the D. B. Cooper trope.
This version sees the duo differing in age by a wide margin. Anyone familiar with the books knows they are a year apart. In the live action, the five-year difference is also in their attitudes towards one another. The eldest is a teen. This detail makes for a different dynamic in their relationship. It’s reflected in how they feel when their mother dies under mysterious circumstances. She was killed while writing about something.
It’s assumed the Hardys are indirectly involved with the theft of a missing Egyptian artifact. Sadly, by the next episode, its importance is not played up and its significance gets forgotten according to online synopses. Viewers with access to Hulu (not available in Canada) can see the series in full, and I’m forced to wait because of geographical location restrictions.
This show was off to a good start in its pilot but its sputtered since then. The artifact everyone is after is key to revealing why the boy’s mother was killed. Maybe she discovered something about it in a story she’s working on for a local newspaper. This woman must’ve come across vital information revealing who stole it!
But at two episodes in, I don’t feel connected to this modern take. The early books were distinctive by being a product of its time, and for this new series–a modern setting takes fans out of the zone. Plus, the duo lacks chemistry and the world isn’t very fleshed out. The pilot establishes the fact they’re moving away from one life and being pushed into another, Bridgeport, a small town to get away from the fact a parent was lost. This new world hardly feels like Astoria, Oregon, a place I’ve been and its uniqueness barely gets established with the second episode. Comparisons have been made to Stranger Things and I really don’t need another copycat product to watch.
The episode guide for the Hardy Boys season reveals the possibility of “While the Clock Ticked” influencing season one’s arc. My motto is “Have ghost will travel,” and when the Hardy Boys are hardly chasing ancient history for the early part of the season, the purpose is out of whack.
Out of all the books, non-popular or not, my number one choice for a story to adapt is The Mystery of Devil’s Paw!