The CW’s teen mystery drama Nancy Drew is expanding its fictional universe in its second season with the addition of affluent inventor-turned-amateur sleuth character Tom Swift, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. Swift will reportedly make his debut as a special guest on a Nancy Drew episode which will function as a backdoor pilot for a potential spin-off series, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Over the past few years, The CW has fostered multiple shared TV universes, like the Arrowverse, which encompasses a range of works featuring characters under the DC Comics banner, and the ArchieVerse, which connects the teen primetime soap Riverdale to the short-lived musical dramedy Katy Keene and the Netflix original series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which was originally developed at The CW in 2017, as reported by Variety.
Tom Swift’s history as a character actually predates that of Nancy Drew herself by twenty years. During the 1910’s alone, nearly two dozen installments in his book series were published by Grosset & Dunlap, who would go on to publish the first Nancy Drew mystery in the spring of 1930. Despite Swift’s longevity, he has yet to make a successful transition off the page. The closest Swift came to a television debut was in 1983, when a pilot under the title The Tom Swift & Linda Craig Mystery Hour aired on ABC one Sunday night, according to The Statesville Record & Landmark.
The pilot starred Willie Aames (Eight is Enough, Charles in Charge) as boy adventurer Swift, and a nineteen-year-old Lori Loughlin (Full House, When Calls The Heart) shared star billing as his sidekick Linda Craig, inspired by the horse girl detective whose own book series launched in the 1960’s.
Swift’s literary exploits continue up to the present day with the Tom Swift Inventors’ Academy series, whose fifth installment, The Spybot Invasion, arrived in online bookstores as recently as July 2020. The sixth and seventh books are poised to arrive in 2021. Nancy Drew Diary #20, The Vanishing Statue, came out in June 2020. The first ten Nancy Drew Diaries books have been packaged as a box set to commemorate the franchise’s ninety-year lifespan.
The first season of Nancy Drew on The CW is available to watch in full on the network’s official website with minimal ad interruptions. Season 2 is scheduled to air in January 2021, following Riverdale in the Wednesday night programming block, as reported by Crave You TV.