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Hercules Says The SEX IN THE CITY Prequel THE CARRIE DIARIES Is Better Than Average By The CW Standards!!

Published at: Jan. 14, 2013, 2:45 p.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!

“Gossip Girl” is gone but the “Gossip Girl” creators are already back with drama “The Carrie Diaries,” the tale of the “Sex and the City” character when she was a Connecticut 16-year-old commuting to her first internship in 1984 Manhattan.

To damn it with faint praise, it is a bit better than most of the pilots that found their way onto the CW – but it’s certainly not in the league of the netlet’s beguiling if short-lived “Life Unexpected.”

“Carrie Diaries” is the creation of Amy Harris (working from the young-adult novels by Candace Bushnell), who wrote on both HBO’s “Sex and the City” and “Gossip Girl.” Josh Schwartz, another “Gossip” alum, is aboard as producer -- but in quality the new show strays much closer to the mediocre “Gossip” than Schwartz’ touching and often hilarious Fox soap “The OC.”

(I seem to recall Schwartz previously oversaw a 1980s-set prequel pilot that followed the teenage years of one of the mothers in “Gossip Girl.” Or did I just dream that?)

It’s fun to revisit all the ‘80s MTV/John Hughes songs (there are a ton of them in the pilot), but I wonder if producers will pony up for a lot more of these tunes subsequent to the first hour.

I confess the first episode isn’t really compelling enough to make me stick around to find out. Better perhaps to seek out Anne Beatts’ “Square Pegs,” the far more interesting 1982 high school sitcom starring the teenage Sarah Jessica Parker (who, it turns out, looked nothing like AnnaSophia Robb).

Hitfix says:

... succeeds on its own nostalgic terms. …

The New York Times says:

... a fair to middling CW teenage soap opera with some nice performances … It’s not relationship material, but you wouldn’t feel guilty about spending a night with it. But if you watched and enjoyed “Sex and the City,” it’s pretty unlikely you’ll be able to take its new prequel (beginning Monday night) that benignly. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... The situations are stock — John Hughes wrote this playbook pretty thoroughly — and the dialogue does not exactly crackle. But it is all well-staged and believably played and at times it becomes quite lyrical and, even, moving. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... Writer Amy B. Harris has crafted a clever, credible script, carefully adding a few veiled life lessons within the witty dialogue …

The Washington Post says:

... there’s not enough Visine in the world to soothe the eyeball-rolling that greets the arrival of CW’s “Sex and the City” prequel series, “The Carrie Diaries.” But even here, several artistic dimensions away from Hannah Horvath and “Girls,” the allure of a story about a young woman’s self-discovery in New York is indomitable. And, pleasant surprise, “The Carrie Diaries’s” premiere episode is a nimble and entertaining trip back to Carrie Bradshaw’s high school years. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... doesn't reinvent the teen drama but it does offer a comparatively tame take on the teen years, at least in the pilot. …

The Boston Globe says:

... isn’t bad enough to despise. It’s a sweet, somewhat bland portrait of an Everygirl …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

... at 16 she has other interests, namely the cute rich kid/rebel Sebastian (Austin Butler) and the lure of another man – Manhattan. Yes, that last line comes straight from The Carrie Diaries and it’s clumsy, as are a number of others, but there’s something sweet and engaging about this series even though it’s not so much about drawing hearts on notebooks as it is giving blowjobs and learning to party in Manhattan. …

Variety says:

... primarily resembles "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles." Both involve exploring the youthful version of a well-known fictional character, and while there's moderate intrigue in seeing what forged the man or woman, the setting is so different and touchstones to the main franchise so glancing that the result is only fleetingly interesting and mostly inert. …

8 p.m. Monday. The CW.

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