Let me preface by saying that not every show deserves a “3 Reasons to Watch” booster. After seeing “The Carrie Diaries” pilot, I can honestly extend the list to about ten reasons why you should watch this quirky, fun and good-spirited series. Keeping it short, I’ve limited myself to three to subvert rambles and digressions.
1. You don’t have to be a “Sex and the City” fan to fall in love with Carrie Bradshaw.
I happened to pass the dizzying nights with Carrie and her gal pals traipsing around Manhattan and drinking bottles of wine. I must have been a generation shy, or just too consumed with “One Tree Hill” soapiness and the hot alien-invasion of “Roswell.” So watching the pilot, I expected the show would be tailored to fans who grew with Bradshaw through her trials and love tribulations. I was oh so happily surprised.
Fans and non-fans alike will enjoy a high school Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) seeing Manhattan for the first time and transforming into a young woman. The show introduces us to Carrie’s group of friends — not the same ones from “Sex and the City.” And this crowd reminds me of the spirited and scandalous students from the Upper East Side, a la “Gossip Girl.” Love “Gossip Girl,” then you most certainly don’t want to miss “The Carrie Diaries” premiere.
2. Friends you want to hang out with and a bad boy make up a cast that feels as grand as “Gossip Girl” and nearly as good-looking as “The Vampire Diaries.”
Carrie’s gaggle of friends consist of shy and innocent Mouse (Ellen Wong), boisterous and flirty Maggie (Katie Findlay), Walt (Brendan Dooling) — a girl’s best friend and Maggie’s BF (boyfriend, that is) — and Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler), a bad boy who transferred from multiple schools and is the focal point of high school gossip.
This crew is lighthearted and fun and will ultimately be a major reason to stay tuned in week after week. They have a way of making each character likable and relatable, a hard feat for a soap-style drama and one set in the time of spandex, nylons and mesh tops.
3. Eighties fashion and music has an updated spin.
If you’re afraid of hearing corny 80s hits, then I’m here to squash your fears. “The Carrie Diaries” spins classics into updated hits that you’d hear on the radio. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” becomes slow and bluesy, a morose tone that would fit into today’s setting. And other hits decades ago have been revamped with more bass and electronics, perfect for a club.
In the same right, the fashion is a throwback to the eighties, but still looks wearable for today. Sebastian Kydd’s outfit could belong to any hipster slinking down Clayton Street in Athens, GA.
Will you be watching? “The Carrie Diaries” airs on CWPhilly Mondays at 8 p.m.
– Becca Ritchie