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[personal profile] plausive
This is something I've been meaning to talk about for a while now. It's something I bought eons ago, watched, and then put back on the shelf saying, 'Holy shit that was bad, I should cap that and talk about it on my LJ...'

And so now I am.

Here is the background, via the tiny blurb that Wikipidia has to offer on the series: In 1995, a TV show called simply The Hardy Boys was produced and syndicated by New Line Television, a division of New Line Cinema. The show was co-produced by Canadian broadcasting company Nelvana and was dubbed in French for airing in Quebec and France as well as in the United States. Colin Gray starred as Frank Hardy and Paul Popowich played Joe. The characters were portrayed as in their early 20s, Frank working as a reporter and Joe still in college. The show only lasted for one season of 13 episodes due to poor ratings.

I should clarify that despite what that poorly written sentence might have you believe, it was not dubbed in French for an American audience (though that might have been an improvement). Also, though the boys were meant to be in their 20's, Frank looked like he was having some kind of early midlife crises. I wouldn't have batted an eye if you'd told me he was 35. >_>

Let's start with the opening credits.

Oh hey, it's a... blurry door.

And a blurry, um, blur?

Oooh! Any eye! You know the show you're about to watch is srs biznezz when there is a close up of an eye in the credits.

Well, that's not cheep looking at all.

Okay, I'll be fair here, pretty much every 90's show that was aimed at a younger audience had that font and the squiggly bit behind it. Even My So-Called like used that font, and it's probably one of the best shows to ever be canceled pre-maturely. Maybe even better than, dare I say it, the fantastically wonderful show Firefly. But that's another topic for another post.

A grainy shot of sunglasses and a receding hairline. ...Oh wait, I'm pretty sure that's Frank.

Okay, you can't tell in this shot (seriously, what is up with all the grainy black and white crap), but Joe is actually not too bad looking. I wouldn't kick that out of bed. Still, who cares about Joe? Anyone who ever read the Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys Super Mysteries knows it's all about sexy, handsome, dashing...

...Frank? Uhm, we'll touch more on this problem later.

More grainy black and white crap, ugh, let's just get to the show.

Our story opens with the boys eating in a diner. Joe is, of course, stuffing himself with food, and Frank looks okay from this angle. In this shot he's kind of got the whole Chasing Amy era Ben Affleck thing going on. ...This is a very forgiving angle. We'll get back to Frank in the next screen shot. For now we'll focus on Joe.

In most of the books Joe is described as having light blond hair, blue eyes, and a muscular frame. I can forgive them going with a brunette, that's no big deal, and I guess this guy is probably at least fit-ish for a 90's slacker type. So yeah, okay, I'll accept him as Joe.

Joe's main traits are that he's impulsive, eats a lot, and really likes girls. The writers hit on all these things. This guy isn't a great Joe, but he passes.

All those times when Nancy and Frank nearly admitted that they had a thing for one another, all the times they could have kissed, and all the times you found yourself going 'forget about Ned, Nancy! Ned is dull. Ned is nothing special! You could be with Frank Fucking Hardy!' Kind, brave, handsome- Oh.

Well, this guy probably wasn't who you had in mind.

In this version Frank is an investigative reporter, and as bland as wonderbread with the crusts cut off. He isn't even very likable most of the time.

Enough about the boys though, I'll walk you through the scene. Frank is complaining that his meal looks nothing like the photo in the menu, and Joe points out that the menu photo is likely airbrushed, and I quote, "More like a centerfold than a pastrami sandwich.' Which I guess is supposed to convince us that this show will be full of quick wit and nineties cynicism.

They start talking about how Frank wrote about some senator in the paper this week, and basically had his nose shoved up the guy's ass while he licked his balls, while another paper published a piece on how the guy is crooked and fiddling little boys or whatever*, and- oh hey, right on cue here comes the guy who wrote the other piece for the other paper. What are the chances?

*Okay, he wasn't actually doing anything with little boys, but you get the idea.

At least I think he's a reporter. I mean he's got the trenchcoat, the hat, and the over sized camera. If he isn't, this is going to be the best Inspector Gadget crossover ever.

He gives Frank a hard time about his article, and Frank stomps off in a sulk, because he's manly like that.

Cut to the boys looking for their car in the parking garage.

They make their way through the parking garage while Joe continues to tease Frank a little, and Frank gets his panties in a twist. In return, Frank basically calls Joe a worthless layabout with no responsibilities- which seems fair, since Joe is meant to be in Uni, but he never seems to go to class. They're so busy bickering that they wander riht past their car and have to turn back.

The boys turn away just as a pair of lady legs wander across the parking lot. Joe spots the lady they belong to, and whacks Frank, who is currently driving, so he'll gawk at the girl as well. I guess they don't see many girls as her Sears catalog model looks are apparently enough to make their jaws drop, and they don't realize they're about to run over some dude with a cool mustache.

The guy bounces off the hood, gets knocked out, and the boys call the cops.

Remember when cellphones were this big (or bigger) and touch screens only existed on crappy poker machines and Star Trek?

So anyway, the cops turn up, Frank answers some questions, and Joe sees a key taped to the leg of the guy they ran over. Of course he steals it, who wouldn't rip a key of the leg of a badly injured man? As he takes it, however, he spotts the mystery girl again as she drives off. They wrap things up with the cops and the adventure begins.

They take the key and check every trunk in the parking garage, until finally they open one and find... A box full of really cheep looking gold coins. They take them, and then head home to talk about how they look like they're from a display in a local museum. It's not very exciting.

They then argue about whether 'All that glitters isn't gold' is a metaphor or an adage, while playing with swords.


This is where the interesting stuff ends, so I'll gloss over the plot and we can get back to how bad this show was.

The coins they find are fake, Joe thinks they've stumbled onto a plot to steal the real gold from the museum. Frank is a dick about the whole thing but eventually they look into it.

Long story short, the girl is the thief, Joe is a dumbass who gets suckered into almost helping her steal the real coins because she feeds him some bs about how she's switching the coins back or some crap. However, they don't get far since Frank works out what's going on and saves the day. ...All while being a complete dick about everything still.

It sounds like I'm glossing over stuff, but I'm really not. The plots are all fairly simple and the episodes are only half an hour so nothing is ever drawn out.

Is it worth buying? Eh, unless you're a hardcore Hardy fan, or enjoy Canadian produced 90's shows aimed at an American audience- not really. Worth downloading? Sure. If you've got 30 min to kill and like laughing at bad 90's TV, this is totally worth a peek at. If anyone is interested I'll upload a couple of episodes at the weekend.

There was also a companion Nancy Drew Series, which was... Eh.

Actually, to be fair, Nancy's stories were a bit more interesting, and though Nancy looked more like a low budget Neve Campbell than a titan haired anything- well, she wasn't an awful actress, and there were enough little details to make the series at least fun to watch.

In my next review post we'll talk about Nancy Drew 95, her cool car, and what the 90's did to her poor BFFs.
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