Should there be more ‘Sex and the City’? - analysis

Where there is a fan base, there’s a way, and now we will have another 10 episodes.

THE STARS of ‘Sex & The City’ minus one. (photo credit: NEW LINE CINEMA/COURTESY EVERE/HBO)
THE STARS of ‘Sex & The City’ minus one.
When it was announced on Monday that there would be a Sex and the City reboot for HBO Max, there were mixed reactions.
Fans of the iconic series have missed it since it went off the air a full 16 years ago. It was one of the series that made HBO, premium cable and the whole new golden age of television a cultural phenomenon. Sex and the City told a story of four very different women who didn’t need a man but wanted one (or in the case of the Samantha character, wanted many) and in the end it turned into a paean to the power of female friendship.
It was true to the lives of many women who find as they get older that it’s their girlfriends who become the closest, most supportive figures in their lives. This was the thread that wove everything else together in the series and made it work when it was at its best. And this, more than the sometimes eccentric, always eye-catching clothes and the often witty take-downs of the awful men that they ended up ditching or being ditched by, was what brought the show’s loyal following back season after season. The show’s clever writing, which gave us catchphrases such as “He’s just not that into you,” and unforgettable moments as the post-it breakup, was also a key part of the fun.
By now, you’ve probably read that not everyone is coming back. Samantha, the unabashedly sexual character played by Kim Cattrall, won’t be returning, supposedly due to a feud between her and the show’s star/producer, Sarah Jessica Parker. So it will be just Carrie (Parker), the columnist who is the show’s centerpiece, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristen Davis).
The SATC fandom is conflicted about whether the show can thrive without Samantha’s boldness. But the more telling omission is Darren Star, the creator of the original series. He has a deal with another network and will not be involved. The truth is, though, it seems likely that he would have found a way to collaborate on this if he had really wanted to. But both he and Cattrall found it the better part of wisdom to move on.
THE EXECUTIVE producer making it happen this time is Michael Patrick King, who won an Emmy for his work directing the series, and wrote more than 30 episodes. He also directed the two feature films, which should certainly give fans pause.
The first feature film, a very watered-down version of the series, which came out in 2008, had its moments, but emphasized the most superficial aspects of the series, such as Carrie’s love of designer goods. The next film, the cheerless Sex and the City 2, which sent the four friends to Abu Dhabi in what was essentially a tourism commercial for the United Arab Emirates, should have sounded the death knell for the series, in many people’s opinions.
But where there is a fan base, there’s a way, and now we will have another 10 episodes. The question is whether we really want to see the three remaining heroines and their assorted family members and gay friends as they navigate middle age. Many iconic shows of this period, such as Seinfeld, have resisted the temptation to do a reboot. Shows that did give in to it, such as Beverly Hills 90210 – which was canceled after a single season – did not fare well and played like parodies of the original.
There has also been a backlash that the show was “too white.” The producers tried to rectify this in the first movie by giving Carrie a loyal African-American assistant played by Jennifer Hudson, which didn’t help matters much. There have always been voices skeptical of how Carrie was able to afford her apartment on a newspaper columnist’s salary, but those voices did not really understand New York’s rent-stabilization laws.
If the producers really want to make this reboot work, here’s a suggestion for one name they should bring back on board: Candace Bushnell. She created the original Sex and the City column in The New York Observer in the mid-‘90s. It was much darker and edgier than the series it inspired. She recently wrote a sad and funny novel, Is There Still Sex in the City? That is an unflinching look at, yes, sex and female friendships, but also about the reality of getting older and getting divorced in her fifties. That is a show that might be worth watching, a sort of Grace and Frankie meets SATC.