Regardless of whether or not you agree with The CW deciding to order a pilot for “The Carrie Diaries,” you are likely to agree on one thing — the network would have to be silly not to give it a chance. After watching all of their new series for the 2011-12 season circle the drain, we’re looking a network desperate for a hit. “The Vampire Diaries” is the only show to score over a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic consistently, and you have to think that the lack of hits elsewhere is going to end up ultimately weighing this show down, as well. “Sex and the City” fans are a large fanbase, and the combination of loyal fans and neophytes to the series should give the prequel series a chance to really shine.
But can we really call it a prequel, or more of some sort of alternate-universe series? That’s the real questions, and even the first photo of AnnaSophia Robb as the young Carrie Bradshaw to the left does not completely assuage our concerns. Is her outfit colorful enough to be Carrie? Sure, but is she really Carrie? It’s hard to see.
The issue here is that the show is based on a Candace Bushnell book that is polarizing in itself. Why? It changes a number of elements in the Carrie origin story, from her having a father who is still around to even the time in which she lost her virginity. It’s possible that you can see the book and the TV universe as separate entities, but it already appears that “Gossip Girl” executive producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz are adhering more to the books than the movies. Fans of the “Sex and the City” have seen the episodes enough times to pick up on the changes … and more than a few of them are already unhappy with it. Remember when George Lucas got some flack for trying to revise the original “Star Wars” films to suit the needs of his prequel trilogy? Carrie Bradshaw fans are just as passionate as some of the folks who love “Star Wars,” and they appreciate continuity. In revealing that Carrie’s father has already been cast on the show, it looks like the series is out more to reinvent Bradshaw more than add to the story that we know from the show.
Maybe at this point we are being too hard on “Carrie Diaries,” and we should just pretend (if this series gets renewed, anyway) that the TV show never happened. Robb is a talented actress, and there’s no need to disrespect the cast or the crew in any way without actually seeing the finished product. We just hope that sometime over the next few months (and if Carrie does not go the way of another much-hyped pilot in “Wonder Woman”) Schwartz, Savage, and company find a way to make the series bridge the gap between readers of Bushnell’s re-telling of Carrie’s origin and the older viewers who watched her adventures in Manhattan for several years on HBO.
Photo: The CW