When The CW announced that they were turning The Carrie Diaries -- Candace Bushnell's prequel to Sex & the City following a young Carrie Bradshaw through her formative teen years, beginning in 1984 -- into a primetime drama geared at teens, SATC traditionalists like yours truly feared it could take something we so cherished and turn it into something rebooted, recycled, but still garbage. But the pilot, which aired tonight and was chock-full of engaging storylines and frothy '80s music and fashion, has me hooked.
We first meet Carrie as she hazily floats down a Manhattan street, looking like a mini version of the Sarah Jessica Parker-portrayed Carrie we know and love. When she gets bumped by another pedestrian and fumbles a bit (a la HBO original opening credits), she's right back on her feet again and still in love with the bustle of the City ... until she wakes up, because it's just a dream. But it feels so familiar!
And that familiarity is due in huge part to AnnaSophia Robb. The young actress has some seriously huge Manolos to fill, but after seeing how she captures Carrie at 16, I'm feelin' optimistic about her ability to do our beloved blonde justice. She's even got quite a few of Carrie's little ticks down, like how she would push her hair aside or hunch her shoulders! (Girl musta done her homework!) Not to mention that the signature first-person voiceovers feel like hearing the subconscious of an old friend ...
But this Carrie's friends aren't yet Miranda, Samantha, or Charlotte. Her besties are sweet, geeky Mouse (who lost her virginity and quickly learned a harsh He's Just Not That Into You lesson this week), snarky Maggie (the Samantha of the bunch?), and sensitive Walt. They go to a Connecticut high school, and they're the only ones who aren't walking on eggshells around Carrie, who just lost her mother to cancer three months prior. As a result, she's grappling with a whole new world at home with just her father and her younger, rebellious sister, Dorrit.
It's no surprise she's itching to get out of the sleepy, conformity-lovin' suburbs, and she gets her chance when her dad hooks her up with an internship at a law firm. A day a week in the City? Yes, please -- it's even more appealing than the handsome Chord Overstreet lookalike who plays Sebastian Kydd, Carrie's summer love from a year prior who has randomly transferred to her high school and may be the high school equivalent of Mr. Big.
Before we know it, Carrie goes shopping and her fab-u purse (which was her late mom's and which she redesigned with funky '80s splatter paint after Dorrit spilled nail polish on it) catches the eye of a fashionista named Larissa who works at Interview magazine. Larissa wants to "collect" Carrie as a friend, gifts her an amazing hot pink dress (her first tutu dress!?), and invites her out for a night on the town. Later that night, she notes that she's lost her virginity and is falling for a "man ... Manhattan." Awww. Chills!
Maybe we have former SATC writer Amy B. Harris, who has also written this adaptation, to thank for staying true to some of the characteristics we so loved about the original. Like the scene at the end (which actually had me tearing up a bit!) in which Carrie sits down at her desk to write and looks out a tiny window reminiscent (pre-miniscent?) of her apartment window on the Upper East Side. If every episode is going to charm us like this one did, I have high hopes the show will manage to win the hearts of old and new fans alike.
Did you watch The Carrie Diaries? Thoughts?
Image via Giovanni Rufino/The CW
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