Spoiler-Free Review of “Gossip Girl” Reboot on HBO Max: Why So Serious?

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Been a minute…did you miss me?”

The reboot of Gossip Girl premiered on HBO Max on July 8th 2021 with the first episode. The remaining nine episodes will air weekly. Each episode runs for approximately 55 minutes. The reboot stars Jordan Alexander, Whitney Peak, Tavi Gevinson, Eli Brown, and Emily Alyn Lind.

Kristen Bell returns as the voice of Gossip Girl, but the rest of the original cast do not. The Upper East Side is back on display as we follow a new group of teenage elites and witness them go to scandalous measures to get what they want while attending Constance Billard. The original Gossip Girl website may have shut down, but a new source emerges to keep the dirt coming.

Here is the trailer:

Gossip Girl (2021) has a lot to live up to as the original series was an entertaining guilty pleasure to indulge in. Are we ready for a reboot of the series and does it do enough to find a voice of its own? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

A more diverse cast.

Much like the Saved by the Bell and Charmed reboots, we are presented with a more diverse cast for the reboot of Gossip Girl. I think this is a step in the right direction to be more inclusive this time around.

Sibling rivalry and a new Gossip Girl.

The main plot reminded me a little bit of One Tree Hill. We have half siblings who end up in the same school and drama is high as a result. I think this is the best part of the show so far and I’m interested to find out more about the true intentions of both siblings and how far they will go to keep up appearances.

We also get a twist on the new “Gossip Girl” and learn the identity right away. This takes us away from the outrageous reveal at the end of the original series and also gives us a chance to connect with a different set of characters that may see things a little bit differently. I’m intrigued by this so far.

Images courtesy of HBO Max

A familiar voice to put us at ease.

It wouldn’t feel right with anyone else narrating the show as the infamous “Gossip Girl” and hearing Kristen Bell’s voice made me feel right at home. Sure, the dialogue is a little outrageous, but there was a much needed nostalgia present as a result, especially since the rest of the cast is absent…even though we get plenty of reminders and name drops along the way to keep us tuned in.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of HBO Max

Don’t lose sight of what made the show work in the first place…

My biggest con with this reboot is that it takes itself way too seriously. The dialogue is beyond atrocious. I understand we are focusing on a new generation, but no one talks like this. While Riverdale presents us with some over-the-top dialogue as well, it still manages to keep us entertained because it knows when to lighten the mood even during some of the angst-filled melodrama.

In similar fashion, the original Gossip Girl worked because it was so outrageous and it embraced this. The cast really elevated the characters and made you care about them…even though they were horrible human beings!

Blair Waldorf is the iconic Queen Bee of television and even though Chuck Bass was beyond ridiculous, he was so entertaining to watch! The back-stabbing and twists just somehow worked because the show understood that it was meant to be a guilty pleasure teen drama.

The reboot is having an identity crisis and is taking itself too seriously, which makes the execution flat and uninspiring. I don’t care about any of the characters yet and it was honestly really difficult to watch a lot of the pilot episode, which is beyond disappointing.

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of HBO Max

I’m 50/50 on this one…

I want to give this show a chance to get better because I am a fan of the original series. However, the majority of the pilot episode was painful to watch. I am going to give the show at least three episodes to change my mind, but it needs to really make some major changes if it wants to connect with a new generation and fans of the original series.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on the Gossip Girl reboot in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

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My performance of the week ending 7/20/19 on TV goes to…

Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars on Hulu’s Veronica Mars season 4.  I have been a huge fan of Kristen Bell since the very start of the Veronica Mars series and the show still has a secure spot in my top 5 series of all time.  I was so disappointed when the show ended after three seasons, but was pleased when fans finally got to see the movie and I have been counting the days until the release of season 4 on Hulu, which surprise….it’s out a week early!!!!! What???!!!!

I’m so glad I finished my re-watch of the series early so that I can binge-watch all weekend and I have to say that Kristen Bell is still as charming as ever.  Veronica Mars may have more of a mature feel now, but that makes sense since we aren’t in high school anymore.  Veronica still sticks to her roots, challenging authority, taking chances, and speaking her mind, which brings quite a few laughs along the way.  She may be a marshmallow now, but she is also quite the bad-ass and I am having so much fun watching the new season.  **Please note spoilers have been left out for your convenience so feel free to read on!

One of the reasons why I love Veronica Mars so much as a character is because she is far from perfect.  Sure, she tends to be the one to solve the case and she often notices clues before the local Sheriff’s office, but she is also guarded with major trust issues, which can get in the way of some of her friendships and relationships.  Veronica has a supporting father, some great friendships, and an amazing boyfriend, but she tends to do things on her own. 

Some of my favorite moments with her are when she lets that guard down and is finally vulnerable, revealing her doubts and insecurities.  I connect with her so much and my heart has broken along with hers over the years.  Through it all, Veronica Mars continues to stay true to herself, reminding us that our purpose is sometimes right in front of us.

What’s next for Veronica Mars?  We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m wondering if a season 5 is possible?  The premise of the show allows a new case or mystery to set the scene and I have been loving the fun cameos and nostalgia sprinkled in across season 4. I’ll always be a Veronica Mars fan for life and Kristen Bell’s performance is real, inspiring, and super fun too!  If you haven’t seen the show yet, all of the episodes (seasons 1-4) are now streaming on Hulu and you can watch the movie on HBO GO/Now.  That’s all for now Marshmallows!  Enjoy the binge-watch!

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight! 

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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