- By MICHAEL JACOBO
- Photos Courtesy of THE CW NETWORK
The CW Network has predominately young-adult-themed content compared to the other “Big Four” broadcast networks — Fox, NBC, ABC, and NBC. With series like One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, and the more recent Riverdale, the limited choice of themed content isn’t at all a drawback, especially when the teen soaps are structured in more mature, grittier (Riverdale), and satirical (Gossip Girl) writing.
Two new series premiering this month on the network — Batwoman and Nancy Drew — take classic, well-known, literary characters and update them to reflect modern themes and issues. That concept isn’t new for the network, yet these two new female-led series are as original and innovative as any memorable television series.
Batwoman, the first of these two to premiere on the 6th, is an adaptation of the Caped Crusader’s female counterpart, introduced in DC Comics in 2006. A member of The CW’s Arrowverse (which includes Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and soon in the crossover event Crises on Infinite Earths, Black Lightning), the series sets itself in grim and gritty Gotham City three years after Batman — and his civilian alter-ego, Bruce Wayne — have disappeared from the public eye. Wayne’s cousin, Kate Kane, returns from self-exile after a figure from her past has been taken for hostage by a new crime syndicate. Inspired by her predecessor, Kate adopts her own vigilante alter-ego to save her home.
Ruby Rose, who rose to instant celebrity status after her role on Netflix’s Orange is the new Black, stars as Kane/Batwoman. The actor, openly gender-fluid, made headlines when she was cast as the lesbian comic book superhero back in mid-2018. The series is the second (after Supergirl) to feature a female lead in the comic book inspired shared universe. As the show adopts a much darker, bleak tone than the light-hearted feel good tone of Supergirl, the themes are the psychological affects of trauma, grief, and the aftermath of a social/political movement like the recent #MeToo movement.
The second show on the line-up is Nancy Drew. Premiering on the 8th, the series is a modern update of the classic book series, itself a part of the Hardy Boys literary universe. Although created by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage who have had success on the network with their hits Gossip Girl, Hart of Dixie, and Dynasty — not to mention their breakout success The OC which aired on Fox — the series utilizes a retro Eisenhower-esque Americana look that’s similar to Riverdale, also on CW and an adaptation of the popular 1950s Archie comics.
Starring as the famous young sleuth is newcomer Kennedy McMann, who definitely brings the charm and the strength to what is both a funny and highly intriguing pilot. Trying to live a normal, young adult life after a tragedy proves impossible to solve, Nancy stumbles into a seemingly inexplicable murder mystery, which actually might have a much more logical, but shocking, truth.
Schwartz and Savage definitely bring the sharp teen satirical wit that they’re so known for and finely implement it into a format that’s embraced and well recognizable. It’s bordering on parody, except the TV dynamic duo retain the elements of the Nancy Drew franchise that made it so likable and popular in the first place. This is Schwartz and Savage’s sixth collaboration with the teen network; with their great track record it’s sure to be a hit. Not to mention it could open another door for a shared universe (my money’s on the writers introducing The Hardy Boys in season 2 and possibly a spin off).
Greg Berlanti, a familiar and seasoned producer who’s helmed the Arrowverse helped develop Batwoman. The pilot was written by Caroline Dries, who has writing credits for Smallville, Melrose Place, and The Vampire Diaries, the latter two having aired on The CW Network.
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