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.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen is available here!

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Ranking the top 5 television series with numbers in the title: What’s your favorite zip code?

Happy Wednesday TV Fans!  As I am counting the days until the weekend and I am sure you are too, it got me thinking about numbers in particular on television.  I started to create a list of television series with numbers in the title and couldn’t believe how many there were over the years.  If you are bored at all throughout the day, I challenge you to create a list of as many number TV shows as you can without using the internet of course. 🙂  It’s actually really fun and you can post how many you were able to come up with in the comments.  Naturally, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to rank my top TV shows that fit into this category.  My top 5 TV shows containing numbers in the title are:

5) One Tree HillOne Tree Hill has always been a guilty pleasure of mine.  I used to watch Soapnet all day when I worked from home and this show came on quite a bit.  I was actually really disappointed that they took the show off of Netflix streaming because it is really addicting to watch.  While it may seem like your typical teenage soap centered on high school drama, the show does a good job of involving real issues as well.  There is a strong emphasis on family in the show and the narrator and main character, Lucas Scott, has a romantic view of the world, which elevates the show for me and ties in epic works of literature along with a lot of important thoughts that may have crossed our minds in different points in our lives.

4) 24.  While I have to admit, I have not gotten a chance to watch through this show recently, it is my mother’s absolute favorite and I thought very deserving of a spot in the top 5 even though it is not necessarily my top choice.  When this show aired on television, it had a quality that hooked the audience to watch the show live similar to The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones now.  You didn’t want to merely record 24 because you could miss something crucial or you didn’t want someone around you to spoil what happened.  The number 24 is significant in the series and not just merely in the title, as each season contained 24 episodes covering the 24 hours in Jack Bauer’s life.  All of the events happen in real time, which keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat seeing everything from Agent Bauer’s point of view.

3) 13 Reasons Why.  When this series streamed on Netflix earlier in the year, it was considered to be very controversial because of the subject matter and targeted audience.  As a result, it got mixed reviews.  After watching the first episode for myself, I found myself binge-watching the season all in one day.  While I am sure many of you have done the same, the show did an excellent job of drawing the viewer in wanting to unlock the real reasons why Hannah Baker decided to end her life and how her friend, Clay Jensen is involved.  Rather than leave a suicide note, Hannah records everything on 13 audio cassette tapes and has them delivered to the different people responsible so that they can hear the whole story.  While the show makes you want to dive deeper into truth, there is something very raw and painful about the emotions that are revealed along the way from each character who wronged Hannah and how they are dealing with the aftermath of her death along with issues in their own lives that they are facing.

2) The 100.  I have to admit that this is one of my favorite shows on television right now and I am counting the days until new episodes are aired.  The 100 reminds me of a futuristic version of Lost, revealing mystery after mystery where you truly can’t guess what is coming next.  The series starts off after earth has been destroyed by the nuclear war and the remaining survivors are living in a space station called the Ark.  However, air and supplies are running low and the leaders of the Ark make the decision to send 100 juvenile prisoners down to earth.  While it seemed initially that they were sending them off to die to sacrifice the few to save the many, earth is in fact livable again.  The prisoners are all trying to exist in a world without adults and laws, but find out that earth has many dangers, including other people who were already living there, “Grounders,” who are not looking forward to sharing their land with these invaders.  While each threat is dealt with, a new one emerges, forcing the Sky survivors to deal with betrayal, love, death, and war.

1) Beverly Hills, 90210.  It should be no surprise that my top choice takes place in our favorite zip code.  The show lasted for 10 years and even had a revival series done years later.  Many of us have grown up watching our favorite twins, Brandon and Brenda Walsh move from Minnesota to the very different and superficial Beverly Hills, California.  The soap-drama is a guilty pleasure of many and I recently watched through the entire series again over the summer.  Through all of the drama, this group of friends sticks together and grows up fast in a materialistic world only to realize that things don’t come as easily as they did in high school and that you can’t always buy your way out of everything.  While many of the plots are outrageous and over the top, there is a lesson in all of them, and we find ourselves rooting for each character who we have come to know well from years of watching them.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your comments below about any of these shows or some of your own favorites.  If you do complete the challenge, feel free to post how many shows you were able to come up with that do have a number in the title.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl