'Sex and the City' is coming back -- but it's missing one key character

  • 'Sex and the City' is coming back
    The 10-episode, half-hour show, debuting on HBO Max, will revolve around Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) navigating life in their 50s. 'Sex and the City' is coming back
  • 'Sex and the City' is coming back
    Kim Cattrall is not involved in the series.  'Sex and the City' is coming back
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HBO confirmed that the beloved series is officially coming back—though not in the form of a third movie, as has been rumored for the last few years. The 10-episode, half-hour show, debuting on HBO Max, will revolve around Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) navigating life in their 50s. Kim Cattrall is not involved in the series. 

"Sex and the City" will return to the screen, 17 years after its last episode aired, HBO Max has confirmed.

Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis will reprise their roles in the reboot, due to start filming in the spring.

Titled "And Just Like That...", the reboot will star three of the four original leads of the hit '90s show, with Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis set to reprise the roles of Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte.

On a very basic level, it is only television. But there is TV that comes and goes and then there is television that defines an era. The hullabaloo that has greeted news that Sex and the City will be given a 2021 makeover, places it firmly in the latter category.

The excitement follows confirmation from the US streaming service HBO Max of the long-swirling rumours that the video-on-demand arm of the prestige TV brand was considering commissioning a revival of the 90s and 00s show On Sunday night, three of the four stars of the original show, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis, shared a trailer for the series on social media platforms.

The reboot will be titled And Just Like That… and will be executive produced by Parker, Davis, Nixon, and Michael Patrick King.

The promise is that the essential elements will be the same - the glitziness, the frankness of women talking about their lives and their sexuality, the stunning scenes of the New York cityscape. But there will be one key difference that is already causing a degree of doubt and reflection: Kim Cattrall, who played the fourth member of the original group, Samantha, will not be returning for the rebooted series.

At its staggeringly successful height, there were repeated accounts of friction between cast members and two years ago Cattrall made it clear that she felt her association with the series was over.

“I went past the finish line playing Samantha Jones because I loved Sex and the City,” she said. “It was a blessing in so many ways but after the second movie I’d had enough. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just replace me with another actress instead of wasting time bullying. No means no.”

First airing in 1998, Sex and the City orbited around fashion-obsessed sex and relationships newspaper columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Parker) and her three friends, Miranda (Nixon), Charlotte (Davis) and Samantha (Cattrall).

The show ran for six seasons, winning seven Emmys and eight Golden Globe awards.

Based on the book by author Candace Bushnell and created for TV by Darren Star, the series was praised for its forthrightness about sex and criticised for its lack of diversity and its flippant treatment of some issues. The main thrust of the plot focused on the on-again off-again relationship between Carrie and her main love interest, Mr Big.

Two feature films followed the TV series in 2004, both of which were written and directed by King. While they were commercially successful, they fared less well with critics, with Sex and the City 2 (2010) receiving a particularly scathing critical reception.

The weekend’s trailer, comprised mainly of shots of New York, reveals little by way of story details for the new series. A statement from HBO Max’s parent company, WarnerMedia, announcing the reboot was similarly vague, saying the series would “follow Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte as they navigate the journey from the complicated reality of life and friendship in their 30s to the even more complicated reality of life and friendship in their 50s”.

Enthusiastic responses on Twitter and Instagram suggested there is still a sizeable audience for the show but there were also dissenting voices from some who say the original series was of its time and now seems dated. The focus on three straight white women and their particularly close cultural circle is likely to need a specific rethink for current times.

Casting a cultural eye over the series in 2018, Chelsea Fairless, fashion editor, designer and co-founder of Every Outfit on Sex and the City and the #WokeCharlotte meme told the Guardian: “That show was as white as it gets. They didn’t ever have a person of colour as a series regular.” She said some crass scenes that would cause offence now: Samantha wearing a post-chemotherapy afro wig, Carrie’s sporting “ghetto gold” didn’t register as offensive on first viewing.

“I’m white and I wasn’t educated or a particularly good ally at that point in my life.” But she added: “I did take issue with their handling of certain queer issues back in the 90s, because that is my community.”

The new series will comprise of 10, half-hour episodes, and is scheduled to begin production in late spring in New York this year.