Saw a commercial for the upcoming Nancy Drew movie. Apparently they don’t think they can sell the character as a teenage detective. They’re selling her as a makeover story, pulling the same fish-out-of-water concept used for the Brady Bunch films.

Admittedly I haven’t read the books, but I did go through a phase as a teen when I read all the Hardy Boys books I could find, including crossovers between the two series. The then-current books weren’t all set in the 1920s, and they weren’t about the title characters being anachronisms. They were updated for modern audiences. Modern techniques. Modern equipment. I remember one book in which Frank and Joe end up training for a mission on the space shuttle.

Logically, Nancy Drew should be enmeshed in the world of cell phones, bugs, web research, and spy cameras. Veronica Mars without the angst. Making her an old-fashioned fixer-upper is missing the point of the character, and turns her into a metatextual parody of herself.

But then, if VM’s ratings and cancellation are anything to go by, today’s audiences don’t actually want to see a story about a modern teenage girl detective. And makeovers, extreme or otherwise, are what’s popular.