Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'The Carrie Diaries'
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]
Show: "The Carrie Diaries" (The CW) [MIDSEASON]
The Pitch: It's a "Sex and the City" prequel. Who needs a pitch?
Quick Response: Every second of "Sex and the City" that I ever watched made me cringe. The characters. The dialogue. Every bit of it. Of course, I wasn't the target demo, so I don't take it personally, but "The Carrie Diaries" was definitely one of my most dreaded pilots. With that in mind, take it with as many grains of salt as you choose that I sorta kinda liked The CW's "The Carrie Diaries." It's not bad. I'm not hung up on associations with "Sex and the City," so I'm not interested in quibbling about changes to the Grand "SatC" Mythology and I'm not invested in whether or not Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw can be extrapolated logically from the version of Carrie being played by AnnaSophia Robb here. The show that The CW is airing at midseason is sweeter and more modest than anything you might be expecting, closer in tone to a John Hughes movie, right down to the '80s setting, than a premium cable raunch-fest (though some of the dialogue is a bit risque). With that in mind, I liked the dynamic between Carrie and her father (Matt Letscher) and younger sister ("Running Wild" co-star Stefania Owen all grown up) because it felt like an old WB drama. There's heart here. I didn't care nearly as much about the plotline bringing Carrie into New York City and introducing her to her future worlds of journalism and fashion, because that felt like "Jane By Design." Just as The CW premiered "Ringer" after the mighty similar "The Lying Game" last year, The CW is going to premiere "The Carrie Diaries" after ABC Family has already cancelled "Jane by Design" and there's a ton of overlap. And Robb is even less believable as a teen capable of convincing cool New Yorkers that she's in her 20s than Erica Dasher was on "Jane." Robb is, in fact, both the best and worst part of "The Carrie Diaries." There's a nice vulnerability to her performance and I warmed to her more fully in 44 minutes than I ever warmed to Parker's Carrie, but the 18-year-old actress reads very young on the screen, too young for anything she's doing to be plausible and too young to allow the show the kind of latitude for maturity it might be hoping for. Director Miguel Arteta deserves a lot of the credit for balancing the tone and '80s nostalgia in "The Carrie Diaries," for keeping the kitsch factor from ever approaching what doomed the dismal "Gossip Girls" '80s backdoor pilot. The actors have been well-cast for the period, especially Austin Butler, whose Young James Spader vibe has never been better used. [For Butler "New Young James Spader" is a much more aspirational descriptor than "New Chad Michael Murray," which would also fit.]
Desire To Watch Again: Moderate. I sound positive here, but I think I'm mostly positive relative to my expectations, which were perilously low. I'll approach the second episode with revised expectations that'll be harder to meet. Then again, my DVR is already set for The CW in that hour with the final season of "Gossip Girl" anyway... so who knows?
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Malibu Country'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'The New Normal'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Guys with Kids'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'The Mindy Project'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Partners'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Nashville'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Made in Jersey'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Emily Owens, M.D.'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Mob Doctor'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Animal Practice'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'Last Resort'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Vegas'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty & The Beast'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
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