Each handful of years, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys get their tales revamped for the display screen. Final yr, it was Nancy’s flip. She got down to remedy a ghostly homicide in a soapy Riverdale-style CW series that ended up with mixed reviews. This yr, it was The Hardy Boys’ shot at a comeback. The brothers obtained a Hulu reboot by which they try to sleuth out the secrets and techniques that led to their mom’s homicide within the mysterious fictional city of Bridgeport.
In contrast to the CW’s Nancy Drew, the brand new Hardy Boys is just not an edgy, melodramatic teen collection. It goals to be a extra healthful, curious small-town drama for a normal viewers and never simply younger adults. Does this work? Properly, type of. The Hardy Boys has a enjoyable, basic thriller really feel, nevertheless it additionally tends to really feel tedious.
Immediately, The Hardy Boys introduces us to Frank (Rohan Campbell), an athletic 16-year-old who thoughtfully takes care of these round him; Joe (Alexander Elliot), his snarky 12-year-old brother with the helpful means to select a lock; and Laura (Janet Porter), their warm-hearted mom, who’s murdered throughout the first quarter-hour after getting blended up in a harmful journalistic investigation.
Laura’s premature demise has the boys’ dad, Detective Fenton Hardy (James Tupper), setting out on a secret mission to determine what occurred to his spouse. In the meantime, Frank and Joe transfer to their dad and mom’ hometown of Bridgeport, the place they’re to stick with their Aunt Trudy (Bea Santos) for the summer time whereas they await their father’s return. Moderately than simply sitting on the sidelines, the boys search solutions with the assistance of the brand new mates they make within the seemingly sleepy city.
One of the best characteristic of The Hardy Boys is its old-timey sleuthing aesthetic.
One of the best characteristic of The Hardy Boys is its old-timey sleuthing aesthetic. Although the collection by no means specifies what decade it takes place in, there are sturdy ’80s vibes. The diner is the recent hangout in Bridgeport, everybody drives classic vehicles, and there are not any smartphones. The selection to not modernize the collection matches the small-town-full-of-secrets narrative and provides it a way of favor. Plus, the plot makes full use of its setting.
The boys uncover clues everywhere — at the highschool, the library, the carnival, the movie show, the police station, the seaside, the underground tunnels, and so forth. This retains the scope of the thriller feeling massive. Whereas they’re working out and about, vibey tunes like ’80s bops “99 Pink Balloons” and “I Need Sweet” enhance the temper. It is all very enjoyable. However whereas the story world is massive, intriguing, and tremendous retro, the characters and plots working within it really feel second charge.
If you wish to get pleasure from The Hardy Boys, go in figuring out it isn’t neatly plotted out like Knives Out.
If you wish to get pleasure from The Hardy Boys, you need to go in figuring out that though it options loads of twists and turns, it isn’t neatly plotted out like Knives Out. Characters who refuse to provide out clues one second change their minds later with little convincing. Others occur upon handy solutions to puzzles. (For instance, Officer Hooper [Jennifer Hsiung] figures out the sheriff had been mendacity about his whereabouts by discovering brick mud on his tires). Even Frank and Joe make some selections about whom to belief and what to do this are illogical and appear merely for the aim of upping the stress. Many issues that occur are loopy handy.
There’s an excellent greater flaw of the present, although: A lot of its characters are simply not notably compelling, with clunky dialogue and unfastened growth. There have been just a few I preferred — for example, the boys’ grandmother, Gloria Estabrook (Linda Thorson), whose persona blends collectively class and energy. I used to be additionally entertained by the sarcastic allure of the youngest Hardy brother, Joe. However others, like con-man J.B. Cox (Atticus Mitchell) — a supposedly a very good thief who actually simply lucks out rather a lot — are arduous to get behind. Then there’s Callie (Keana Lyn), who will get twisted right into a catty subplot with the brand new lady in school and blames her jealousy of the incoming scholar on the newcomer’s obvious suspiciousness. Their ongoing teenage tiff feels type of dated and makes Callie come off as unlikeable, regardless that I doubt the writers supposed this.
Maybe slicing down the quantity or size of the episodes would have additionally helped. There are 13 episodes, all of that are over 40 minutes lengthy. The thriller actually did not want that a lot time to be solved. Tightening up the collection would have made it much less monotonous, particularly as a result of the center dragged at occasions.
The Hardy Boys has quite a lot of sturdy components that it by no means makes full use of it. However in case you can droop your disbelief and do not thoughts the sluggish tempo, you would possibly be capable to get pleasure from its cinematic B-level thriller. Simply do not anticipate it to be something greater than extraordinarily positive.
The Hardy Boys is now streaming on Hulu.