TV Review: “The Carrie Diaries”- Nothing Too New

Written by Emily Stewart January 27, 2013


Following the end of the “Sex and The City” series in 2004 and two film adaptations, author Candace Bushnell released the prequel novel “The Carrie Diaries”, about main character Carrie Bradshaw as a teenager. A television show inspired by the novel was just launched this year, with two episodes aired.  So far, we see actress AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie, coping with the death of her mother, trying to win the heart of new student Sebastian Kydd (Austin Butler), and her introduction to Manhattan through an academic internship and meeting magazine editor Freema Aygeman (Larissa Loughlin). Her friends’ relationships and her interaction with her remaining family is also looked at. Although this show has potential, especially given the fanbase “Sex and The City” had, it isn’t any different than other teen dramadies.

The Visual Elements

“The Carrie Diaries” prevails with the construction of the show, especially with the costumes. Most of them are bright and bold colours, especially in Carrie’s wardrobe. Her outfits stand out the most, which works well since she is the protagonist of the show. The soundtrack, filled with 80s pop tunes and covers, suits the early 1980s time-frame and goes along with the tone of the show. The cinematography also incorporates montage in the pilot and the opening theme that represents 80s pop culture very well.


The Narrative Elements

Since the show does take place in high school, the plot is fluffy, lighthearted, and adorable. However, it is quite clichéd at times, given the fact there isn’t a lot to work with. The mean girls, attractive new boy, pressure and consequences of virginity loss, and fitting in, are considered norms of such high school narratives and don’t add much originality to the show.  Some of the moments in the narrative are cheesy as well. For instance, Carrie compares her experience in Manhattan to how her friends felt after their first time. While the feelings of the characters were quite similar, that comparison was a bit much. In addition, the second episode surrounds itself with little white lies and the consequences that come with them. The same concept has appeared in every other high school show that’s been produced. Also, the acting is a bit stiff with little emotion. In times of conflict, such as the break ups and running away, the acting is the strongest, as the characters show the most emotion and depth. The most dramatic and tense moments in the show are also the best since they drive away from the usually lighthearted narrative.


The production and design of “The Carrie Diaries”is fun, and the show itself does have potential to improve. The reception of “Sex and The City” and the novel it is based on could lead to the success of the show as well. However, originality lacks within “The Carrie Diaries”, and thus does not separate it from all the other teen drama/comedy shows we’ve seen throughout the years.

My Rating (So far): 5.5/10

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About Emily Stewart

Emily is a Media, Information and Technoculture student at Western University who likes to put her critical thinking skills and passion for writing to good use, including reviewing TV shows for We Eat Films.

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