The Case of the Secret Society – The Hardy Boys Season One (2020)

The Hardy Boys, a new family-oriented show which premiered on Hulu in December of 2020 was widely anticipated by many as it would give life to one of the longest-running entertainment properties around. With Nancy Drew having found success over on the CW, it was good to see The Hardy Boys make their way back to the small screen and even better to see that it would distance itself from that other show.

Set in the early 1980s, Joe and Frank Hardy along with their mom and dad are one happy family. When their mom is killed, Fenton Hardy decides to pack them all up and head to Bridgeport where his sister Trudy lives. It is not long after that when Fenton gets a tip and heads off to find out why his wife was possibly murdered, leaving Frank and Joe to mourn on their own and miss their dad at the same time. In Bridgeport, the boys meet the local kids who they end up hanging out with on a fairly consistent basis – those being Callie, Chet, Biff and Phil. As it is though, after overhearing their father on the phone and with other things coming to light, the boys also believe their mother to be murdered and so they start their own investigation which leads them to thief JB Cox and then onto their grandmother, to the revelation of a secret society who wish to control the world and a mystical artifact which will let them do just that.

At thirteen episodes, the show never felt overlong and thanks to a very talented cast and some strong writing, there was enough mystery, drama and humour to keep things rolling along quite smoothly. Rohan Campbell would star as Frank while Alexander Elliot would play Joe and the two would make a great pair despite the differences in age. Additionally starring Keana Lyn, Bea Santos, Riley O’Donnell, Adam Swain, Atticus Mitchel, James Tupper and Linda Thorson as Gloria, among many others, the cast would make it all come alive in the best of ways, gripping its audience from the first until mystery’s end in that final episode.

Of course, not everything on television can be a faithful adaptation, some things having to adapt to make it work better on the screen than it did the page but there were quite a few changes here that in the end, aside from the names of the characters being the same, everything else was different. The small town being Bridgeport instead of Bayport, the age difference between the boys, gender-swapping of characters and so forth, changes that did not necessarily ruin anything but made little sense. For many fans of the books, this might have seemed like a tragedy when everything they knew and loved was turned on its head but for those real fans and those new to the property, the mystery was still there, the curiosity and tenaciousness of the boys and of course, the bond between the brothers.

As it is, whether for young or old or altogether, this new iteration of The Hardy Boys turned out to be a lot of fun, full of whimsy and danger and mystery and everything that one could want in a show like this.

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