Hey TV.com, Should I Watch The Carrie Diaries?

By Cory Barker

Jan 13, 2013

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.

  • Comments (48)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • Star_0315 Jan 14, 2013

    Yeah, Gossip Girl burned me so I am steering clear of anything even minimally touched by Savage and Schwartz. They always start good and then before you know it Big just pimped Carrie out for his business ambition or she is sleeping with guys to support her shoe habit. These two have NO business writing or dealing with female characters/issues. So, thanks but no thanks, I will let the show play completely out before I watch it on netflix or something. Lol

    I do like Amy Harris though, her GG episodes were some of the best written in those last seasons, let's see how much control they let her have as well. If Savage is poking in the storyline directions it will go to hell fast. :/

  • AnoukvdZee Jan 14, 2013

    I don't know why, because a lot of the things said here I do find appealing, and would at least try out the pilot, but when I look at the trailer I'm thinking it's a copy of a hundred things I've seen before and I'm over it. I don't know exactly what attracted me so to Sex and the City, but "Carrie before Carrie" just doesn't make me want to watch this.

  • itsmemadie01 Jan 14, 2013

    I'm giving this one a chance but it has a lot on it's plate, I think the settings itself recreating the 80's is a tough challenge for once and SATC has set the bar. I did not live yet to see the glory and gory fashion/hair of the 80's but I like to see more of that since it's set in '84 and aside from some leggings I'm not feeling the vibe there but at least I get a break from lying/vengeful/cynic/gossip girls. Carrie is a breather at least seeing the pilot... Awww... now I wanna kanow if she'll meet Samantha during the course of this show.

  • jtgreat_20 Jan 14, 2013

    LET'S SEE.....gossip just ended. let's fill the void.,.

  • Photo_recap_fan Jan 14, 2013

    We were told in Sex and the City that Carrie's father abandoned her and her mother when Carrie was 4.And I don't remember C having a sister.Not to mention that what contributed to SatC 's success was fashion.Who would wanna watch a show about 80's fashion,let alone copy it?The whole concept sounds ridiculous,maybe I'll check it out for some laughs!

  • CoryBarker1 Jan 14, 2013

    Well, this pilot follows Bushnell's book series in that regard, so whatever changes were made, she helped make them.

  • Photo_recap_fan Jan 14, 2013

    I understand.I knew of the book,but I didn't know any details.

  • Gubuchi Jan 14, 2013

    C'mon guys have a little faith. Just try out the pilot and see how it goes.

  • KevinG87 Jan 14, 2013

    maybe it's because I'm a guy and I didn't really GET S&TC;, but I won't be watching.

    also, why would a S&TC; diehard be watching The CW? those two don't mix.

  • CoryBarker1 Jan 14, 2013

    I'm a guy.

    But, yeah, that's the big question: Will any Sex and the City viewers come to The CW? Probably not, but that doesn't change the quality of the show.

  • KevinG87 Jan 14, 2013

    I just meant because I'm a guy I didn't get the appeal of S&TC; as much as female audience did.

  • zeofan1 Jan 14, 2013

    Might give it a shot. I was a little boy when Sex & The City was around, but now that this is here and on top of your positive comments...

  • Geek_Queen Jan 14, 2013

    In the picture, AnnaSophia Robb looks a bit like a young Lindsay Lohan.

  • coutterhill Jan 14, 2013

    NO! It's a do not watch, it is based on The Carrie Diaries book, not Sex and the City the tv show. So her having a dad is throwing me off, because she did not have one in the show (she says he ran off). The book itself threw me off because it didn't follow the tv show, and come on, that is what we are all looking for; parallels between this show and SATC

  • clarkkent420 Jan 20, 2013

    i agree with you coutterhill - it should be called a reimagining instead of a prequel. i prefer consistency or what's the point in being a fan.

  • prowly Jan 14, 2013

    Oh no! We can't possibly enjoy the show now!

  • coutterhill Jan 14, 2013

    I wouldn't be able to. Glad you will?

  • prowly Jan 14, 2013

    Thanks. I'm glad I'm flexible enough to enjoy a show despite a minor perceived inconsistency. Sad for you though?

  • coutterhill Jan 18, 2013

    I guess it is sad I expect consistency with my television characters. Maybe I should get a life?

  • See More Comments (16)