Hey TV.com, Should I Watch The Carrie Diaries?
With Gossip Girl out to pasture, The CW needs to fill its respective “pretty white people in New York City” and “based on a book series” quotas. Thus, The Carrie Diaries its forthcoming Sex and the City prequel! I've seen the pilot and am here to let you know whether or not you should watch Carrie Bradshaw’s superhero origin story, or skip it in favor of catching up on Stars in Danger: High Dive.
What is The Carrie Diaries?
AnnaSophia Robb is Carrie Bradshaw. Yes, that Carrie Bradshaw. In 1984, Carrie is just 16 years old and starting her junior year of high school in Connecticut. She struggles with the first day of school because her mother passed away around Memorial Day, leaving Carrie, her younger sister Dorrit ,and her father Tom to figure it all out on the fly. To take the edge off these terrible circumstances, Carrie’s father sets her up with an internship in New York City, which immediately deepens her big city dreams and forces her to choose between NYC nightlife and her friends (and a possible love interest) at home.
When does The Carrie Diaries premiere?
This is The CW’s first big premiere of the midseason and the centerpiece to the network’s future, and as such, it takes over Gossip Girl’s Monday-at-9pm timeslot starting January 14, 2013.
Who created the show?
There are a lot of the cooks in the kitchen here. The Carrie Diaries is based on Candace Bushnell’s book series, which itself is a prequel to her Sex and the City series (and the show, obviously). The pilot script was written by Amy B. Harris, who worked on Sex and the City and on Gossip Girl with The Carrie Diaries’ executive producers—and ubiquitous CW auspices—Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.
Who’s the target audience?
Theoretically, Sex and the City diehards (and I guess those exist, considering the two film’s box office receipts). One would think that this one will appeal all those CW viewers who enjoy shows about relatively wealthy white people in high school. However, though The Carrie Diaries shares executive producers, a network and a timeslot with Gossip Girl, it is most certainly not Gossip Girl. This show’s lack of cynicism and load of heartfelt earnestness should be appealing to those viewers who remember some of The WB’s best offerings. And hey, if you just really love period pieces or the 1980s, this might also be for you.
What’s good about the show?
Quite a bit, actually. This is, somewhat surprisingly, one of the better pilots of the 2012-2013 season. The opening episode doesn’t require you to be familiar with the obviously impenetrable Sex and the City mythos, though it does feature a few subtle, nice nods to Carrie’s future. Most importantly, The Carrie Diaries feels like its own show, with its own characters and world. AnnaSophia Robb is wonderful, and not just because she manages to evoke Sarah Jessica Parker’s performance at times. The pilot is a straightforward, sincere look at this girl’s life; it takes her emotions seriously, it doesn’t feature any “LOL, the '80s” moments, and establishes each of the supporting characters in a brief moment or two.
What sucks about it?
The high school drama is formulaic, which could rub people the wrong way (though, as a big fan of the genre, it didn’t bother me). The pilot’s most egregious mistake is asking us to believe that a group of artists in their mid-to-late twenties actually think high school junior Carrie is older and more mature than she looks. Robb is perfect for this role, but she doesn’t look like she can pass for 23.
So should I watch it or not?
You might come to this show with a lot of baggage. Maybe you hated Sex and the City and maybe you think learning about Carrie’s high school origins is a silly conceit. Perhaps you don’t care for teen dramas, period pieces, The CW or Josh Schwartz’s monopolization of The CW’s real estate. It's possible you were an '80s kid yourself and will hate The Carrie Diaries' soundtrack of classic songs from the decade redone by new young bands you've never heard of. I can understand all of that. But really, The Carrie Diaries, at least in the pilot, might make you forget about all of it. This show could appeal to a wide swath of viewers, many of whom will likely be surprised at how well-constructed it is. Give it a chance, really.
Can I see a trailer?
You know it.
What beverage would best accompany The Carrie Diaries?
There are two obvious answers here: Wine coolers (because 1984) or a Cosmopolitan (because they are Future Carrie’s favorite).
The Carrie Diaries debuts Monday, January 14 at 9pm on The CW.
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