Have you ever wondered what would have happened if you had stayed in the town you grew up in and not ventured into New York City to start a career? Carrie Bradshaw of "The Carrie Diaries" has yet to move into New York City, when we meet her at the tender age of 16. Staten Island girls who have worked in the city can relate to this premise. In “The Carrie Diaries,” we meet Carrie Bradshaw before she met “Big.” This is a Carrie who has still to meet Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha. This is a 16 year-old Carrie who is finding out about herself the hard way. It’s a Carrie in the city before the sex. Intrigued? I am. I read both the prequel books and found the story line interesting and innovative. I will be watching from my home on Staten Island tonight.
The Los Angeles Times says that in a nutshell the show explores the time before the hit television program “Sex and the City.” Adds the LA Times, “In 1982, Sarah Jessica Parker, who 16 years later would play Carrie Bradshaw on "Sex and the City," played a smart, suburban teenage outsider on Anne Beatts' paean to high school unpopularity, "Square Pegs."
“And now Carrie Bradshaw is being played as a smart, suburban teenage outsider, in 1984, by Anna Sophia Robb, in a rather charming "Sex and the City" prequel, "The Carrie Diaries," premiering Monday on the CW,” adds the newspaper.
“Apart from the hair (crinkly) and the height (short), Robb does not particularly resemble the young Parker, whom she is playing, in a sense, and whose features are delicate where Parker's are strong. Like most every quirky ingénue on TV, she is pretty in a most regular way,” adds The LA Times.
Based on a pair of young-adult novels by Candace Bushnell, whose journalism was the basis of "Sex and the City," the series was developed by Josh Schwartz, who with producing partner Stephanie Savage has gone down this YA-to-TV road before with "Gossip Girl," a series whose now-vacant psychic space "Carrie" occupies, partially and more politely, adds The LA Times.
“Like Grown-Up Carrie, Young Carrie belongs to a gang of four, here completed by Mouse (Ellen Wong), Maggie (Katie Findlay) and Walt (Brendan Dooling), who, when introduced, is wearing a sweater identical to "the one Rob Lowe was wearing in Interview," two names that will drop again before the hour is done,” adds the story. “Sebastian (Austin Butler) is the troublesome new kid who will have business with our heroine.”
“Notwithstanding the Interview reference, the hairstyles, the posters and the padded shoulders, and songs on the soundtrack that sound better now than at any time since the 1980s, the pilot doesn't make a fetish out of period details,” adds the article. “What matters more is the decades sense of personal possibility, of new communities driven by a kind of competitive fabulousness — its vogue for self-reinvention.”
Carrie at 16
“Carrie is made different to start with because her mother has recently died, though this is not such a rare thing in such stories. She has a contentious relationship with sullen younger sister, Dorrit (Stefania Owen), who comes with dark-rimmed eyes, bad teenage skin and a bag of weed, and a concerned father (Matt Letscher) who sets her up with a once-weekly internship in a Manhattan law firm,” adds The LA Times.
“On her first day, she is "collected" during a lunch break by fashion editor Larissa (Freema Agyeman, from "Doctor Who"), who likes her purse, takes her for an adult and ushers her into the night life, where Carrie gets a glimpse of the world she'll inhabit on another TV show in the future,” according to the review.
“Pains are taken to establish that Carrie, who is 16 here, is still a virgin, and it would be nice to feel the producers are in no hurry to change this statistical likelihood. Still, none of the young characters seem knowing beyond their years, or their date in time. And though there will be trouble, it remains to be seen whether it will be of the "Pretty in Pink" or "Less Than Zero" variety,” adds The LA Times.
Adds The New York Times, “there is a low-budget evocation of post-punk 1984 Manhattan, with “Burning Down the House” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” on the soundtrack and suspiciously well-scrubbed “artists” dressed in shoulder pads and bright primary colors.” The Times adds: “And wistful “Sex and the City” fans can keep an eye out for homages; for instance, one story line in the pilot explains the adult Carrie Bradshaw’s distaste for pantyhose.”
“The Carrie Diaries”
Where: The CW
When: 8 p.m. Monday (repeating at 9 p.m.)
Rating: TV-14 (may be unsuitable for children younger than 14)
Cast: AnnaSophia Robb (Carrie Bradshaw); Stefania Owen (Dorrit Bradshaw); Ellen Wong (Mouse), Katie Findlay (Maggie); Chloe Bridges (Donna); Austin Butler (Sebastian); Brendan Dooling (Walt), Freema Agyeman (Larissa) and Matt Letscher (Tom).