Sex and the City reboot doesn't live up to the original show - review

The second season of Sex and the City's reboot may be a letdown, but there are plenty of upcoming dramas and documentaries to entertain on Israeli television.

 THE WOMEN of ‘And Just Like That... (photo credit: HOT/NEXT TV)
THE WOMEN of ‘And Just Like That...
(photo credit: HOT/NEXT TV)

And Just Like That..., the Sex and the City reboot’s second season, which began running on Hot 3 on June 22 (also available on Hot VOD and Next TV), is much less fun than the first and the first certainly had its share of flaws.

In the first episode of the first season of And Just Like That..., the shocking death of Big (Christopher Noth, whose character’s departure from the show predated a #metoo scandal about the actor), Carrie’s husband, changed the tone of the entire season and it became about Carrie’s friends helping her through her loss. 

The original Sex and the City became synonymous with glossy, relatable fun, but its fans may not know that the series started out as a column of the same name by Candace Bushnell in the New York Observer, a weekly paper popular in New York media circles before it was purchased and eventually closed by Jared Kushner.

The column was far darker in tone than the series and it was a bitterly funny take on single life in New York. The columns can be purchased in book form today for those interested in the source material. 

Since And Just Like That... began with a tragedy, it seemed as if it could be a return to the series’ roots. 

Three of the main characters, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) returned for the series, and the dynamics of the original among them remained.

They were joined by several new characters, all of whom were African American, Indian, or non-binary, in an attempt to counter criticism of the original show’s lack of diversity.

THE STARS of ‘Sex & The City’ minus one. (credit: NEW LINE CINEMA/COURTESY EVERE/HBO)
THE STARS of ‘Sex & The City’ minus one. (credit: NEW LINE CINEMA/COURTESY EVERE/HBO)

And just like that...the fun is gone

But the problem was that, as the first season wore on, these characters began to feel more and more generic, as if everything about them was arrived at by committee in writers’ room meetings to pass some kind of test. 

Another criticism of the first season by many commentators was that it wasn’t sexy enough, especially since the most sensual character, Samantha (Kim Cattrall), did not take part in the reboot.

In the first two episodes of And Just Like That ...’s second season – which were released to the press – I realized immediately how bland and unengaging the new characters were because I barely remembered most of them. 

Lisa (Nicole Ari Parker) is another upscale mom who shares many of Charlotte’s problems. Nya (Karen Pittman) is a professor whose younger musician boyfriend wants children, while she doesn’t.

Seema (Sarita Choudhury) is an independent-minded real-estate agent. Finally, Che (Sara Ramirez) is a non-binary standup who suddenly – and inexplicably – becomes the great love of Miranda’s life. At the end of the last season, Carrie shared a kiss with the director of her podcast, Franklyn (Ivan Hernandez). 

The new season picks up a couple of weeks after the last one ended and the show tries to be as sexy as the original was, now that Carrie has recovered from her husband’s death. But nothing really works. The series seems to be trying to show how much it has evolved with some scenes between Miranda and Che that are meant to be kinky, but the only thing shocking about them is how unsexy they are.

There is no chemistry – none – between any of the lovers on the show, which means the sex is a bore and so is the show. I tried to imagine what viewers who didn’t spend years watching the original would make of any of this and I imagine most would either switch to something truly sexy or edgy, or something more genuinely romantic or comic.

The only aspect of the original that continues to delight is the fashion. In the first episode of the new season, the characters are planning their outfits for attendance at an event called the Met Ball, obviously modeled on the real Met Gala, the biggest event of the fashion year, held at the Metropolitan Museum on the first Monday in May. 

Some of the gowns and outfits are wild and wonderful, with the crazy adventurousness for which the show was justifiably celebrated. Coincidentally, there is now a documentary about Patricia Field, the designer and boutique owner who created most of the original looks for Sex and the City.

The documentary is called Happy Clothes and just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. It details Field’s career both before and after Sex and the City. She founded an iconic downtown boutique and has gone on to design trendsetting costumes for the Netflix series, Emily in Paris. Sex and the City fans will definitely enjoy it. 

What's new on Israeli TV?

THIS JULY, there are some documentaries coming up on little-known chapters of Israeli intelligence history. Radio Propaganda, a movie coming up on Yes VOD and Sting TV on July 6, unravels the complex tale of the Israeli radio station, Beit Shidir, that broadcast in Arabic from the 1940s-1960s.  

Director Ofer Pinchasov shows that while these Arab-language broadcasts were a source of pride for many Arab-speaking Israeli Jews, the station was used for propaganda in Arab countries.

Israeli agents in Arab countries were actually given messages through codes used in the radio programs. Decades later, the story behind these broadcasts can finally be told. On July 12, the film will be broadcast on Yes Docu at 9 p.m. 

The Mossad and the Lillehammer Curse is a new documentary that will be broadcast on Hot 8 on July 9 at 9:15 p.m., as well as on Hot VOD. The so-called “Lillehammer Affair” was one of the worst intelligence failures in Israeli history: In 1973, Mossad agents killed a waiter in Lillehammer, mistakenly thinking he was one of the terrorists responsible for the Munich Olympic massacre. 

The case had repercussions for the Israeli intelligence community around the world for years to come, as some of the agents involved in the killing were caught and gave up information about safe houses and Mossad operations all over Europe.

The movie was directed by Emmanuel Naccache, a French-Israeli director who made two very funny movies, The Jerusalem Syndrome, a farce about a group of very different Israelis (and a Frenchman suffering from religious delusions), and Kidon, a satire about intelligence agents. 

Two new recent Israeli series have joined the many already streaming on Netflix. East Side, the series from Kan, stars Yehuda Levi as a single father of an autistic daughter who tries to support her through making shady real estate deals in East Jerusalem, involving payoffs to Arabs to leave the country; and sales of property owned by the Greek Orthodox to real-estate developers. It’s a fascinating look at how politics, property, and religion mesh in Jerusalem in a unique way. 

Zero Hour (aka “The Lesson”) is another Kan series and it tells the story of the conflict over politics between a teacher and a high-school student that escalates into a huge crisis for all concerned – and tackles extremely tough issues of prejudice and hopelessness. Zero Hour won the Best Series award at the prestigious Series Mania competition in France in 2022, as well as the Best Actress Award for its young star, Maya Landsman as the stubborn student.

Unfortunately, Netflix is presenting these two series with subtitles in Hebrew only.