Published: July 15, 2022
THE HARDY BOYS Is An Exciting Adventure Series, Hindered By Mystic Elements
By Movieguide® Contributor
THE HARDY BOYS is a 2020 live-action mystery/adventure series from Hulu based on the classic adventure book series, The Hardy Boys. The series follows brothers Frank (Rohan Campbell) and Joe (Alexander Elliot) Hardy as they navigate family relationships, a move to a small town, and an ever-growing mystery that threatens to encompass them and their newfound friends.
THE HARDY BOYS is an engaging series, full of twists and turns, with characters that are easy to root for as the audience. The family elements are strong, with brothers who look out for each other and work through grief and disagreements together. However, throughout the show, there is a shift from action/adventure to magical realism. The show also involves a lot of standard action/adventure violence.
The Hardy brothers, Frank and Joe, are part of a healthy, happy family, with a father who is a role-model cop and a loving, engaged mother who teases her sons, writes them loving notes, and never misses a baseball game.
When their mother dies in a car accident, their happy life is upended. The brothers move to a small town for the summer to be with their aunt, and their dad takes an investigation job that takes him out of contact with them. Mostly alone and grieving, they try to make the best of their situation, making friends in the town. Frank gets a job at the local diner.
But when strange things start happening in the sleepy little town, too many to be a coincidence, they realize that their mother’s death was not an accident and the same mystery that killed her might be coming for them too.
THE HARDY BOYS maintained a primarily moral/Biblical worldview with a heavy emphasis on the importance of family, working through issues towards unity, and standing against evil, including a brief conversation about faith. But adding some mystical elements, mainly an ancient rock that has power and grants power to whoever has it, slightly undermines the wholesome messages.
The show is consistent with a mystery/thriller-type story, with fistfights, knife fights, stalking, threats, interrogations, and kidnappings. However, it stays out of the gratuitous range with little to no blood, no torture during interrogations, a couple bloodless deaths, and only brief or background language. The theme of lying and deception is prevalent throughout the series, primarily employed by the villains and the main characters, including sneaking out of the house behind the authority figure’s back and taking evidence out of the police station. A secret society full of elitism and backstabbing is a common thread throughout the series. However, its activities are always portrayed as wrong and dangerous.
For the most part, the production quality of this series is well done. The acting was engaging, the choice of music effective, and the visuals have a distinctly classic feel. The storyline remained pretty tight for a thirteen-episode show. In terms of tension and stakes payoff, it held up without resorting to cheap plot points or unnecessary cliffhangers.
Some plot threads could have been better handled or given better closure. The dialogue was on the nose, stilted, and too exposition-heavy in a few places. However, on the whole, the show remained an engaging and visually enjoyable watch.
Overall, THE HARDY BOYS is an exciting adventure series that promotes strong themes of family, brotherhood, protecting those you love, and standing up for what is right. However, because of some violence and mystic elements, Movieguide® advises discretion for teenagers and younger children.