We couldn’t help but wonder: Could The Carrie Diaries — The CW’s new series about a pre-fancy shoes, pre-Mr. Big teenage Carrie Bradshaw growing up in the ’80s — win over loyal Sex and the City fans and newbies alike?
Before you respond to that question, a brief refresher of Monday night’s premiere: Based on Candace Bushnell’s novels about the future Manhattanite’s adolescent years, The Carrie Diaries is not a prequel to the HBO series, so there are some notable changes to the brief backstory glimpsed on SatC.
The year is 1984, and this Carrie (Soul Surfer‘s AnnaSophia Robb in a charming, breakout performance) has recently lost her mom; the teen lives with her younger sister (Running Wilde‘s Stefania Owen) and loving father (Scandal’s Matt Letscher) in suburban Connecticut.
She has a trio of friends, including geeky Mouse (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World‘s Ellen Wong), who recently lost her virginity; and the confident Maggie (The Killing‘s Katie Findlay), who’s secretly hooking up with an older police officer; making Carrie the lone virgin among her female pals. (Maggie’s closeted boyfriend Walt (newcomer Brendan Dooling) rounds out the group.) Then there’s the new kid — cool, mysterious transfer student Sebastian (Switched at Birth‘s Austin Butler), who just so happens to have a history with Carrie.
But the allure of Manhattan proves even more exciting for our heroine than the cute boy at school. To help his daughter get over her grief, Carrie’s dad arranges an internship for her at a law firm in the city. She quickly meets Larissa (Doctor Who‘s Freema Agyeman), a style editor for Interview magazine who draws young Ms. Bradshaw into a world of glamour, art and parties where everyone is free to be “distinctly themselves in a city that celebrated them,” Carrie’s voiceover marvels.
And that’s where Carrie Diaries provides a refreshing twist on the average teen soap. Rather than just being about the hunt for a boyfriend, it’s about “searching for me,” Carrie remarks. “Who I was. Who I wanted to be.”
Now it’s your turn, TVLiners: Hit the poll below to let us know what grade you give The Carrie Diaries, then hit the comments to back up your pick!Follow @VladaGelman