This is a little different than my usual Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans as I really only recommend this one particular episode, rather than the complete series. And because it is just one episode of the series, I need to lay a little background.
Sweet Valley High was a book series I started reading in the fifth grade. As I kid I really liked the series and wanted to live in their idealic and exciting Californian world. As an adult I know they are not the best written book series. Most of them are cheesy, silly, and sometimes don’t make any sense; but these were the ’80s-’90s versions of Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill except with a different type of drama. The thing I really can’t get over is how “morally superior” Elizabeth acts even though at times she is worse than Jessica.
But I digress. The book series follows twin sisters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Both are juniors in high school, blonde, 5’6, and size sixes. Elizabeth is the smart, responsible one who dreams of being a journalist or writer; while Jessica is the fashionable, cheerleader, social butterfly, that dreams of parties and popularity.
They live in Sweet Valley, near Los Angeles, and attend school with their friends. The first few books focused on the two girls and the people they interacted with, but the later ones were divided into two stories: story A about a friend or relative and story B on the twins. Starting at Book 95 the series became split up into mini arcs with 3-5 books following one particular storyline. Around Book 80 the series got a bit darker with the topics ranging from drugs, school dances, serial killers, sports competitions, werewolves, princes, vampires, kidnapping, stalkers, a face/off face swapping resort, etc. You know normal teenage girl stuff.
Because of their popularity the books were turned into a TV series in the ‘90s which sort-of-not-really followed the book series. As a fan it was fun to watch, although the stories weren’t always accurate, and it was my first introduction to Jensen Ackles.
This episode comes along in season three. Elizabeth developed a crush on her coworker at her internship at the Sweet Valley News, and dumps Todd (only to find out that the guy was a jerk). The two got back together, only to break up when Todd tries to make extra money accepting some pay-for-play in basketball. Meanwhile, Jessica was dating a rock musician, A.J. and advances his career by getting his music played on the radio which causes musicians to invite them to tour. A. J. wants Jessica to go with him but she declined as she doesn’t want to live her life focused only on him.
In this particular episode, story A focuses on Elizabeth and Todd. Elizabeth is helping her friend Enid get ready for her family reunion and accidentally admits over the student announcements that she is still into Todd. Todd tries to win her back, as he was already planning on it, but Elizabeth is not as open to it as she thinks he is only doing it to show off to everyone.
Story B is the one that I am interested in for this review. Jessica is still getting over A.J and has been spending all her time reading (something she never does for fun) her “new” favorite romantic book, The Silos of Billings, Montana.
The book is about a handsome photographer who is looking to photograph grain silos. Like every romance the photographer is the perfect man, and for once Jessica is not interested in dating any guys, as this fictional one is the only one she wants to see.
In the middle of a reread the doorbell rings and who should it be but a gorgeous photographer named Brad looking to photograph silos.
I always thought this was hilarious as Sweet Valley never seemed to be a farming community. I mean the Fowlers and Morrows has computer chip and computer factories; so it seems odd he’d be in Sweet Valley. I do forgive Jessica for not being logical in this as Brad is played by Jensen Ackles.
Yes, that amazingly handsome man not only stops on her doorstep, but also gets her phone number.
Later Jessica is upset that she hasn’t heard from Brad when Elizabeth tells her that a romantic note was left on their jeep inviting Jessica to a picnic. Jessica is over the moon to date Brad and who wouldn’t? Look at him.
Jessica is also doubly excited as it turns out this exact thing happened in her favorite book. Yes, her life has turned into her favorite novel.
The picnic is just as romantic as she dreamed it to be, wiht Brad serving all the romantic food that was eaten in the novel. Everything is perfect…
The next day Brad brings over the photos he took at the picnic and Jessica is disappointed that he didn’t develop them himself and that they turn out to be blurry. He also invites her out to a party. Typically good looks are all Jessica cares about, but she’s actually a little disappointed that Brad isn’t exactly like the novel.
The party turns out to be a big surprise as it is Enid’s family reunion. Enid has a lot of interesting cousins, one of which is Brad. Brad’s interesting characteristic is that when he reads a book he loves, he becomes the main character in the book, living his life just as they do. He had just finished reading The Silos of Billings Montana, loved it, and decided to be it.
Strangely Jessica is freaked out at the thought of dating Enid’s cousin, something true fans know isn’t true as again all they need to be is hot for her to date them, and instead Jessica takes off.
I think you might have guessed why I recommend this episode for Jane Austen fans. This reminds me a lot of Northanger Abbey with real life “mimicking” a novel, the effect reading novels can have on people, etc. Brad in a lot of ways is similar to both Mr. Tilney and Catherine Morland.
I also always thought that Brad would be someone fun to date as he would want to mimic fictional characters. Like imagine how great it would be if he read your favorite book? And wanted to be that character? Just make sure he doesn’t read a book wiht a character you hate.
But yes, a fun silly episode for fans of Northanger Abbey.
I grew up reading The Nancy Drew Case Files and loved it-my favorites being the crossover mysteries with the Hardy Boys. Now I know Nancy and Ned are meant to be together, but I have to admit-I really want Frank and Nancy to end up together. They are just so cute together!
So this episode is from the TV series, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries. This show came out in the 1970s, the first season alternating every week between the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. The second season saw four crossover episodes, and only three Nancy Drew as the actresses playing her left the series. Season three was reworked to be just the Hardy Boys. I first discovered this show when I bought an old VHS with an episode on it, “A Haunting We Will Go“, at a library book sale.
It was a good series while it lasted, I just wish there had been more. If you are interested in watching, all these episodes are currently on youtube, here’s the link if you want to watch this one. I actually preferred the Nancy Drew episodes to the Hardy Boys, I mean I love Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy but the Hardy Boys always solved CIA, Interpol, spy mysteries and I liked that you never knew what you were going to get with Nancy Drew-embezzlement, theft, murder, etc.
But my favorite of all the episodes were the crossovers episodes, this being the first of them, in fact the very first time any Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew crossover happened. So enough intro, let’s get on to the review:
Mystery, you say?
At the beginning of every episode we see the Universal logo. I’ve always wondered why they haven’t remade it, I would watch it. But then again they would probably mess it up like they did with Nancy Drew (2007) film.
So to start we have the awesome intro and amazing intro music.
I love the setup, and I espechially love the book covers in the background and that music. Ooh! It sends shivers up an down my spine and gets me in the mood for a mystery.
We start off with Fenton Hardy (father of the Hardy Boys) driving up to Dracula’s castle in a taxi, the driver complaining about the American Rock singer using Dracula’s castle.
The taxi driver/caretaker warns Mr. Hardy not to go inside-its very old and possibly cursed. The caretaker won’t stay as he s too afraid, and tells Mr. Hardy he will wait for him at the bottom oft hill. Good-bye.
Mr. Hardy goes into the castle and a bat flies at him, Dracula?
He looks round but doesn’t spot anything, hmm.
Hmmm…from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
But we see that someone is behind him. Mr. Hardy drops his flashlight and lights a torch finding a skeleton in the passage of the castle he is searching, but before he can look further the person following him knocks him out cold.
That’s not good.
We move to Paris 5 days later. Joe (Shaun Cassidy) and Frank (Parker Stevenson) have arrived to the morgue as they lost contact with their dad and was notified of a body that fit his description. They go to to see if it is their father but it isn’t him, thankfully. They are happy he isn’t dead, but that begs the question what happened to him, and where is he?
Can I stop and talk about how adorable these guys are. I love both of them and their portrayal is spot on. They are not only entertaining but completely believable as brothers-at times I forget they aren’t really siblings. They are the Dean and Sam (Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki) of the ’70s. Okay, now we can go back to the episode.
They go the hotel their father had rented a room in and spot a band playing outside, The Circus.
They go to their father’s room, but someone is inside searching it, it is Inspector Stavlin (Lorne Green) of the Romanian police. He was working with their father and trying to solve the case of art thefts occurring throughout Europe. Mr. Hardy called Stavlin to join him in Paris as he had a lead, but after that Stavlin hasn’t heard from him since.
That’s not good.
Stavlin encourages them to give up and go home, Obviously, he doesn’t know the Hardy boys very well as they are totally going to continue to go after their father. Stalin leaves as he has to return to Transylvania.
Joe is more superstitious and that perks him up right away, Transylvania as in Dracula?
The boys search the room and find their dad’s notebook in his usual hiding spot.
There is a list of dates on the art thefts, and something else was booked at the same time. There is a meeting note, which the boys intend to keep:
Meet at the Ritz
June 11 5:00 pm
Book Rm 301
There is also another note on about a Dracula Festival on June 12th. That sounds awesome.
They pay the band they spotted earlier, to join them. Of course the band is down for it as they will be making money. Joe is going to sing and first he is upset that Frank threw him out into it like that- but of course he can sing, he’s a Cassidy after all. And it turns out they are headed to the same Dracula festival-fantastic. They boys head to Munich and arrive on June 10th, just in time for the meeting. Frank sweet talks the concierge and gets the room. The boys leave their stuff and stop to get something to eat.
Meanwhile, Nancy Drew (Pamela Sue Martin) has arrived and is shock to hear there are a group instead of a man in Rm 302. She is traveling with Bess which is odd, as Nancy never brought her friends with her on “serious” cases, usually they were with her when things turned into a case.
Nancy is upset to hear that there are young men in the room instead of a 40-year old man. They send the suitcases back to the desk. Bess questions how does Nancy know that she hasn’t sent the contact away, but as they aren’t an older man so she doesn’t care.
From Mean Girls
I’m with Bess, that doesn’t seem like a good idea Nancy. What if your contact sent someone else in his place? What I would have done was stayed in the room and ordered room service until I could talk to the guys.
Frank spots the bellman and grabs their luggage sending them back up in the room. Meanwhile Joe is still trying to get the attention of a waiter, but no dice. Frank questions if it is his father, but finds out it is ladies. He sends the girls’ stuff down.
Joe tries to order but his waiter is stolen by Nancy. This exchange is hilarious and as Frank comes back in a bad mood because of the luggage, and it develops when there is no food on the table. Him being upset with Joe was so realistic, like real siblings. No joke, this is me and my sister.
From The Awful Truth
Meanwhile, Nancy has spotted her bags being taken down and sends her bags upstairs. She’s had enough and leaves Bess downstairs to eat while she heads up to the room. Frank and Joe also decide to go upstairs as they are tired of this too. Sharing the elevator, Frank is very into Nancy and tries to talk her up-but she’s in a hurry and Nancy brushes him off. Joe is upset with her as she stole their waiter. Frank is hurt to lose a chance with a beautiful girl, but Joe consoles him as he’ll see her again-she has the same room as them.
Nancy: What do you want? What are you doing in my room?
Joe: We want our waiter back
Hilarious!!!! If I was Nancy I think I’d be a freaked out that this boy has diner rage to follow me my room. Like, this guy is crazy.
You are crazy From The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Frank tells her this is their room. Then he threatens to take the bags out himself if Nancy doesn’t leave and when he tries to touch her luggage-Nancy does a Judo flip on him. I love how Frank and Joe are impressed with Nancy’s skills, as for Frank he likes her even more.
Of course they hash it out and discover that Nancy is the one supposed to meet their father.The boys share that he is missing and they are searching for him. Nancy tells them she got on the case through her father. She and her friend were in Paris taking a summer class (that’s why Bess is with her) when one of her father’s client’s painting was stolen. It turned out to be one in a series and Nancy started to investigate it and came across Fenton Hardy. She spoke to Fenton 10 days ago, and he told her that he discovered that the rock group Allison Troy was always in the city that the art was stolen from. They believe it to be either Allison Troy or a member of his entourage. Nancy is set on taking over the case herself, but Frank and Joe aren’t letting go. As they have an in with the Dracula rock concert, they think Nancy should stay behind.
Nancy won’t be left behind as she is heading to Transylvania as well. She storms off to collect Bess.
Nancy Drew: Come on we have an appointment to keep.
Bess Marvin: With who?
Nancy Drew: Dracula
So the boys arrive at the castle a day early and it is a dark, spooky, rainy, and chilly night, of course it is as it is the Dracula’s castle. The band is too freaked that they head down to the town to relax.
Inspector Stavlin is at the hotel with the town council and is not happy about this concert and them using Dracula is such a way. No one else heads his warnings of troubles coming as everyone else is happy with the money coming in. Hotel’s almost sold out, restaurants packed, shops are doing good, etc.
The boys spot the Inspector and meet the mayor and the rest of the council. Stavlin continues to share his disgust at the idea of the Dracula festival. The mayor is making fun of him and asks who he fears…Dracula, coming for revenge? Stavlin states he isn’t afraid, but that the others should have more respect…Dracula desires it or else.
Frank shares that they found their father’s notebook and that their father had written about the festival. Stavlin thanks them for sharing and tells them if they find anything else to come to him.
When the boys sign in Joe spots that a B. Fredricks registered at the same hotel. So if his father came and was such good friends with Stavlin, why didn’t he meet him there? Is their father still there? Kidnapped? Dead?
June 12th arrives and so starts the rock concert. Allison Troy is dressed up in a Dracula style outfit and has a party with many people dressed up as monsters. This looks so cool, I wish that it was real so I could go.
From Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School
The boys arrive and Troy and his people have the contracts and costumes. They warn the band to watch out for the crumbling castle and to treat the house with respect as it is a national treasure. One area they are not allowed to enter, it is forbidden. Of course the boys perk up on this and plan to investigate it later.
Stavlin is obsessed with Dracula, calling the castle a cemetery and acts like he believes Dracula is real and will rise again. The mayor hates Stavlin and is happy he’ll be gone soon he’s at the retirement age (they are forcing him to retire). The Mayor and the rest of the council are taking a tour of the castle as they haven’t been in there before.
Joe goes on to perform while Frank plans to search the castle. On of the running gags on this show is that every time Joe sings, Frank always misses it.
Frank starts searching the spooky castle, and someone is following him as we can see their boots.
That’s not good.
Meanwhile, Bess and Nancy have arrived in costume. Bess doesn’t want to search the castle but stay and listen to Joe, but Nancy insists they need to search the cavern.
As the Mayor and friends are looking through out the castle, they find a large seal that says Dracula. This is supposedly his grave and the rest of the group and the caretaker/guide of the castle are all deeply frightened.
The mayor is the only one who has no fear and feels the Dracula story is just a lot of hooey. However, after they leave the “grave” we see it move aside and that someone resides in the chamber…or some monster. The black boots we have seen earlier come out. Is it Dracula having risen from the grave?
From The Horror of Dracula
One of the members of the group falls behind, its Berger the hotel owner, and is taken.
From the Cat and the Canary
The mayor and his people finish their tour and Frank is also searching passing by the seal. Nancy and Bess as well poke around the caverns. Bess is no help at all in this story as she just complains about being there in the cavern. As the girls pass by Dracula’s grave, the wall opens again and whoever it is (Dracula? ) starts following them.
From Return of the Vampire
Frank spots Berger in a cell and runs in to see if he is okay when he is locked in as well. Frank checks Berger and sees the vampire bit marks on his throat:
Nancy and Bess see them and Bess screams.
So typically Fridays are the days that I review TV episodes but as I couldn’t see waiting a whole week, I will post part II tomorrow.
So the second half of this episode I think is actually better. This one was a lot more set up with the detectives meeting up, getting them to Transylvania-more exposition. Tomorrow’s episode will have a lot more action to it.
The first time I saw this episode I was soooo into it I just had to find out what happened next. Where was their father? Would Nancy and Frank and Joe get along? Is it really Dracula or is it someone who thinks they are Dracula/pretending to be Dracula? As this was done by Universal I could see it going either way. We’ll find out tomorrow.
This won’t be easy. Only five guys? I’ll try my best. Here we go, my five swoonworthy guys.
5) Jensen Ackles
So starting it off with one I’m sure anyone who’s not blind can agree on, Jensen Ackles is one beautiful man. This green-eyed, gorgeous, guy is the stuff dreams are made of. Wow, that’s all I can say, WOW.
First fell in love with him when I saw Back to the Future. The smooth, slick, hot; yet somewhat adorable and vulnerable actor just stole my heart. Continued watching his films, and loving him more and more.
I was…er…um…what was I going to talk about again? This image of Jensen Ackles/Dean Winchester has caused that train of thought to go right out the door. I mean how can you think of anything else but his gorgeousness?
Mmm, mmm, mmm. It’s hard not to look upon him and objectify him. For those of you who are not Supernatural fans, this is Dean Winchester. Dean is the hot, caring, charming, older brother played by the hot, caring, charming, actor Jensen Ackles. Sorry, but as all of you know, a fangirl can never qualm the urge to objectify and adore one of her favorite characters. 😉