Over the past few years, we’ve seen vintage characters come alive again in modern reboots. Older content has proved to be quite able to cross a gap of several generations with a few modern tweaks and a shiny, new coat of paint. Shows like Riverdale, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Scooby-Doo, The Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew have kept today’s young adults entertained. However, nowadays, the mysteries have gotten a little more sophisticated, and the story tone has shifted into the dark and gritty. Let’s look at how these vintage characters and their mystery stories have changed to match a modern audience.
The Members of Mystery Inc. have gone through many new adaptations since their original debut in 1969. The Scooby-Doo movies that premiered in 2002 and 2004 brought the gang back in a mystery that was still very goofy and laced with more adult humor. The characters are fleshed out into more three-dimensional individuals, recalling the tropes that kept them stereotyped. Daphne is sick of always being the damsel in distress. Velma is tired of not being listened to. Fred is called out for being arrogant, and Shaggy and Scooby finally take the initiative when it comes to a mystery. In 2018, Daphne and Velma finally got the spotlight in their own mystery movie – proving they could do far more than getting kidnapped and lose their glasses. If you want to see how the characters from Scooby-Doo compare to other vintage characters from Riverdale, check out this article!
Riverdale took Archie Comics to another level by submerging the squeaky-clean 50s characters in a gritty mystery thriller. Now Archie, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica are faced with drug lords, crime gangs, extortion, murder, and a plethora of other dark plot twists. The characters themselves have grown up also. In Riverdale, Jughead’s goofy nature is replaced by wit and cynicism; Betty shows she has a dark side; Veronica deals with the fallout of a broken home; Archie struggles with his disillusions. Riverdale mysteries are so darn entertaining not only because they twist and turn like a roller coaster, but they keep you on the edge of your seat with high stakes and real consequences.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Sabrina the Teenage Witch was first introduced to audiences as part of the Archie Comic Group in 1962. Most of us first encountered Sabrina in her 1990s adaptation. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina does away with the kitschy spell casting of the 90s version in favor of a horror-inspired story. Sabrina delves into her past’s mysteries while juggling life as a teenager as a potential servant to Satan. In her comic, Sabrina’s hijinks were about fitting in with a high school crowd. But this modern adaptation is closer to the actual Salem witch trials. Along with the creepy context, Sabrina faces real-world issues, including feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, and diversity, all while she walks the gray expanse between good and evil.
Nancy Drew has always seemed to be a clean-cut character since her 1930 origin. However, the original Nancy Drew isn’t the icon of middle-class values like the 1950’s version. She’s authoritative and outspoken, an independent woman who takes matters into her own hands. The CW’s modern interpretation of Nancy Drew seeks to recapture this more feminist portrayal of the character. The Nancy Drew mysteries have also been altered to reflect a more paranormal storyline. Nancy has to use her sharp mind to gather clues while avoiding ghostly possession and malicious hauntings.
The Hardy Boys
Like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys’ image as icons of white, middle-class respectability wasn’t the characters’ true origins. In the beginning, the Hardy Boys were working-class underdogs who took risks to help those in need. The new Hardy Boys series on Hulu went back to its roots to portray the beloved brotherly duo as teens who tackle a mystery to bring their mother’s killer to justice. However, in the modern-day, the Hardy Boys are just like they once were. They’re the kids-next-door who stood up to the corrupt elite and didn’t back down from bullies.