And Just Like That… is the long-awaited revival of the smash hit Sex and the City, hitting our screens 18 years after the finale of the original series (the less said about the films, the better). With the full series now available on Sky and Now TV, I couldn’t wait to jump back in with characters I spent a great deal of time with when I was younger, and while this feels very much like being back with old friends, it feels like it’s trying a little too hard to keep up with current affairs.
Set 11 years after the events of the second film, we rejoin Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) in New York City, now in their mid-50s and still good friends. Samantha (Kim Cattrall, notably missing after a rumoured rift with SJP) is absent, her vacant seat explained by a move to London after a rift caused by Carrie dropping her as a publicist.
Carrie is still happily married to Mr Big (Chris Noth) while taking part in a sex-oriented podcast hosted by Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez). Miranda resigned as a lawyer and is studying for a human rights degree, while still married to Steve (David Eigenberg). Charlotte dotes on her young daughters alongside husband Harry (Evan Handler), devoting herself to becoming a super mum. Husbands Stanford (Willie Garson) and Anthony (Mario Cantone) are still part of the group too, with Anthony running a “Hot Fellas” bakery.
As the series progresses, Carrie faces a devastating time that causes her to re-evaluate her life, joined by new friend Seema (Sarita Choudhury). Miranda struggles with her studies and the deteriorating state of her marriage while trying to reign in son Brady (Niall Cunningham) and his girlfriend Luisa (Cree Cicchino). And Charlotte faces difficulties with children when they fail to live up to her ideals of a perfect life.
From the very first episode, And Just Like That… is very much like being back with old friends. It’s reassuring to be back with characters that I loved and spent years getting to know. The problem however is that these characters appear to still be living in the 90s and some of their actions in this series are completely out of character to the point where they become virtually unlikeable. Miranda’s story arc is possibly the worst, with her becoming such a dithery, weak woman who treats poor Steve so badly, it’s almost unbearable to watch. Carrie and Charlotte don’t fare much better, both of whom appear to be more prudish than they were and neither of them is particularly progressive in their understanding of modern technology or culture.
There’s also the fact that this series is trying to cram in every single modern woke reference it can, to the point where it becomes embarrassing and cringeworthy. It also seems to be trying too hard to make up for the lack of ethnic diversity in the original series, and giving short shrift to the characters it introduces – Seema especially appeared to be brought in as the new Samantha, but was given barely little screen time or development to become that.
There are some things here that worked well. I liked how they wrote out Samantha, although considering how this storyline progresses across the series, I’m concerned about how it’ll stand up should they make any more. There’s also a big shock at the end of episode 1 that was incredibly brave on the part of the showrunners, and I’m glad they did as otherwise, I think Carrie would have become dull and stuck in her ways. And despite all of these criticisms, I still found myself looking forward to watching every episode.
And Just Like That… tries too hard to be woke that it becomes embarrassing and laughable. But despite its flaws, I still found it entertaining and funny enough to continue watching and wanting more. I just hope they reign in the modern references if they ever make any more series.
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A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!