If you’ve been a fan of the Hardy Boys for a long time, read the classics and all, you’ve probably given the newer books a try. Published by Simon & Schuster, the revised series was called “The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers.” Before I go further, I’ll just list out my pros and cons with their approach.
- First-person narrative – I liked it. We get to go in their heads, and see what they’re really thinking, instead of some omnipotent 3rd party’s readings. It gives the characters more realism.
- ATAC – I like the whole “American Teens Against Crime” thing. It makes sense, as far as putting teenage agents into situations where it’d be hard for a full adult cop to fit in, but I wish they would offer more details and give a better root of where it exists within the government bureaucracy. The Hardy’s fit in line with that, and it provides a realistic means as to where they get their funds to do their missions.
- Nancy Drew crossovers – I loved the original “Supermystery” crossovers, and these were pretty good too. There’s good chemistry between Nancy, George, Bess, Frank, and Joe such that it’s not like they’re all too goody-goody with each other, but it’s not like they hate each other either. I liked these slightly more than the regular books. Frank still likes Nancy too
- It’s targeted towards ‘tweens’ – Not even really tweens. 8-12 would be pre-teens really. 13-15 fits more of the tween type. They used to be geared towards tweens or high school students. As a result, the writing is a bit dumbed down and too goofy at times.
- The boys’ images – If you’ve seen the covers of recent books, they have Bieber-like haircuts or shaggy hair, and they’re not even athletic looking or anything. The original Hardy Boys had short(er) haircuts and they were involved in football and worked out a bit. Now they seem kind of lame, and I hope their style isn’t a trend.
- Few old characters – Where’s Biff? Tony Prito? Callie Shaw? Iola? Chet is barely there. New ones include Playback, a parrot I find rather ‘meh’ and a bully named Brian Conrad. Plus his hot sister Belinda. The local enemy thing is OK, but it doesn’t add much.
- No boating? – I don’t think they’ve mentioned Barmet Bay once. Or that they had boats or anything. I wasn’t a fan of that in the original, but I’d think they’d have it for nostalgia.
- Graphic novels – I don’t like the idea of them existing. Sorry for being so traditional. Plus the storyline involves different characters too!
- Trilogy series – Annoying. Initially, they were cool, but looking into the last few, it’s just basically one long book divided into three, to get you to buy more. At first, there’s was at least one person apprehended in each book, where the following book revealed there was someone else involved too. Now, it’s just let’s make a long story where some things get figured out in each.
- The computer games – The first was OK, but definitely not as good as the Nancy Drew ones from HerInteractive. I don’t like Jesse McCartney and Cody Linley’s voice overs. It fits with their whole stupid dweeb image S&S keep putting, and I had so much trouble with a scene I almost just gave up. Didn’t even play the 2nd one because it was a dumb hunt-and-click thing which is boring in my opinion.
Overall I’m disappointed. Plus I’d really like to know who these ghost writers are. Make yourself available so we can directly communicate our opinions. I like to know who writes the books I read.
Anyway, it seems like they sacrificed a lot of the good hard-crime elements, in favor of a more humorous-oriented, slightly wackier storylines.
Plus I find the whole bit about them not being to tell their Mother and Aunt Trudy they’re agent to be pretty dumb. It’s a distraction from the storyline, and it just feels like a filler piece as they try to find a way to worm around making up a story to get out and do their missions. CIA agents can tell their family, but the Hardy’s can’t?
Also the mysteries are less complex and intricate. Instead of trying to find who the bad guy is, and use their deduction skills, they have a specific target and their goal is to just find some evidence. Though several times there are cases where they need to use deduction skills to find out who the bad guy is, but the whole mystery plot just seems to lack any depth. Maybe because these books are geared towards 8-12 year olds? I don’t know. But the mysteries are just watered down.
Anyway, apparently there is a new line of Hardy Boys books called “The Hardy Boys Adventures” in 2013. Hopefully their new formula will take my pros, attempt not to deviate too much from the original Hardys, but still have a modern take as well.
Please don’t ruin this one Simon & Schuster.