Since the first season of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries was a mid-season replacement, that first season only had 14 episodes. Each franchise got half the episodes, so even though this is only their seventh appearance, "The Secret of the Jade Kwan Yin" is the final appearance for Frank and Joe. They certainly go out on a high note as this may be their best case yet.
Recommend this product?
It all starts when Frank (Parker Stevenson) and Joe (Shaun Cassidy) are out snorkeling in a little used cove near their hometown of Bayport. Somehow, this snorkeling trip is to help out Callie (Lisa Eilbacher), although that is never really explained, especially since she isn't even in those scenes. Anyway, a boat comes up and drops a water-proof box almost literally on top of them. They take it home and discover a little jade statue.
Their investigation takes them to Chinatown, where they learn the statue is of the goddess Kwan Yin. A local businessman has led the effort to bring it to Bayport to give the entire Chinese community good luck, and he wants to have it for a big festival that is to take place in a couple of days. The Hardys are all too willing to turn it over to him, but it is stolen before they can. Can they find it again in time?
I wasn't really that surprised at some of the plot developments early in this episode. While an original story starring the famous teenage detectives, it borrowed plot elements from the series, like the villains taking an important piece of evidence that Frank and Joe have. And it was telegraphed to us since we saw the thugs waiting outside their house.
That aside, the mystery manages to be pretty decent with a twist or two I didn't see coming. And there's a scene involving a bomb that had me on the edge of my seat. All in all, it was pretty entertaining.
I did have to wonder when Bayport got big enough to have a Chinatown. It's supposed to be a New York City suburb after all. But that thought didn't last for long. If you're at all familiar with the books, you are quite used to anything the plot needs showing up in town. I found it amusing but quickly moved on. Kinda like how Frank and Joe's 70's hairstyles looked perfect when they got home from their snorkeling trip without taking the time to style it again.
The main characters were pretty enjoyable this time around. There are a couple of great scenes with Edith Atwater's Aunt Gertrude that had me laughing. Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy's natural chemistry as the brothers in perfect here as well. Chief Collig did seem harder on the boys than he ever was in the books, but it was actually very realistic.
My problem with the acting comes from the guest stars. While it's better than it was in the last episode, it's still not nearly as impressive as it could be, even for a 70's TV show.
Speaking of the 70's, this one seemed to find Frank and Joe in more 70's fashion than the others. That more than anything else dates the show, but it hardly dampens the fun.
If "The Secret of the Jade Kwan Yin" is a sign of things to come for the Hardy Boys in season two of this show, it's quite obvious why their episodes proved to be more popular in season two. It's lots of fun and a decent mystery.
This review is part of the It's Elementary My Dear Watson! Write-Off.
Read all comments (2)