Type keyword(s) to search

Features

Hein's Picks: Strap on Your Manolos, Sex and the City is Back

PLUS: Live in Front of a Studio Audience, Mr. Saturday Night, and more.
  • Photo: HBO Max
    Photo: HBO Max

    Jon Hein knows TV. In the late 1990s, he coined the phrase "Jump the Shark" when he founded the site of the same name. Since then, he's written about television everywhere from The New York Times to TV Guide. In his column for Primetimer, he shares his thoughts on what's new and good on TV and the shows on his radar for the coming week.

    And just like that… there's a new chapter in Carrie Bradshaw’s diary. The much-hyped HBO Max Sex and the City revival premieres this Thursday, and it will answer the age-old question – how many times can you go to a well full of shoes?

    Sex and the City started as a show my wife watched that I paid some attention to while working on my computer. It was vibrant, funny and lived up to the billing of its title (although like many others I thought it was Sex IN the City). The fashion stuff escaped me, but I'm not the target audience for Carrie's closet.

    Seventeen years have passed since the ladies said goodbye to Sunday nights on HBO. It’s been thirteen years since the first feature film. I'll have the decency not to mention the second one. HBO Max felt enough time has passed to catch up with Carrie and crew one more time.

    Cue the samba… here comes And Just Like That. Who doesn't want to see these women age gracefully? Miranda has gone grey, Charlotte has a teenage daughter, and Carrie is guesting on podcasts. Sexually charged Samantha (Kim Cattrall) will sit this one (actually all ten episodes) out, and the new show's first big test will be how they handle her raunchy absence.

    The strength of Sex and the City has always been the bond these women share in their never-ending quest looking for (and in most cases landing) Mr. Right. In their thirties, this led to plenty of memorable sex talk and adventure. In their fifties and down one member, there's going to be a lot of reminiscing and navigating the problems of women at a certain age. Husbands Steve, Harry and Mr. Big are still part of the mix. Carrie's old flame Aiden and Mr. Big's ex Natasha show up as well… all solid choices.

    Watching beloved characters "grow up" as nostalgia pours over you can be a winning formula. Cobra Kai was nominated for an Emmy after it cleverly built off the 80's lessons of Mr. Miyagi. We love seeing familiar faces, but good writing and subtle winks at the audience are where the magic really happens.

    Another huge challenge will be introducing younger characters to help open up the show. It won't be as obvious as four clones of the stars at a younger age, and my guess is all genders and races will be fairly represented. Many shows have miserably failed at this handoff, but you must broaden the audience to keep things fresh.

    The final part of the equation is the city itself. New York City has always been the true love of Carrie's life, and the choice to present it as a fairy tale instead of one full of masks is an interesting one. Making your way through Manhattan has always been a vital element of the show. Can’t wait to see SJP plastered all over MTA buses once again.

    I'm honestly not sure exactly what to expect from And Just Like That (I didn’t receive a screener). When Carrie excitedly responds to her "table for three," lets hope it's worth taking a seat for.

    THIS WEEK’S SPTIMNBAFOBYMB!
    (Shows Premiering That I Might Not Be A Fan Of But You Might Be!)

    A Very Boy Band Holiday (ABC) – Members of your favorite boy bands are older and celebrating the holidays with the requisite sprinkling of cheese. Monday at 8pm.

    Landscapers (HBO) – Two bodies are discovered in a proper English couple's (Olivia Colman and David Thewlis) backyard. Monday at 8pm.

    VOIR (NETFLIX) – David Fincher's documentary series featuring essays on favorite films. Monday.

    2021 People's Choice Awards (NBC) – Who exactly are these people, and why do we care about their choices? Tuesday at 8pm.

    Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown 2021 (The CW) – The definition of lazy cost-effective December programming. Sunday at 9pm.

    THIS WEEK'S PICKS
    Mrs. Garrett, Arnold Drummond and Robert Stigwood…

    Live In Front Of A Studio Audience (ABC)
    Wednesday, December 8th 8pm

    You take the good, and (hopefully) not the bad. Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life get the Jimmy Kimmel live production treatment to satisfy our nostalgic television needs.

    The key, as always, is the stunt casting. John Lithgow as Mr. Drummond along with Kevin Hart and Damon Wayans as Arnold and Willis sounds like a winner. Ann Dowd does double duty as Mrs. G joining Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Gabrielle Union and Alison Tolman as the fabulous Eastland four. If Clooney doesn't cameo, I'll be disappointed.

    Mr. Saturday Night (HBO)
    Thursday, December 9th 8pm

    No, this isn't the 1992 Billy Crystal film. Australian businessman Robert Stigwood is the focus of this music doc. He's primarily responsible for the disco explosion of the 1970s and benefactor of the best-selling movie soundtrack of all time.

    Stigwood's career was more than just buying the rights to an article about the New York disco scene that evolved into John Travolta hitting the Brooklyn dance floor. Eric Clapton, The Bee Gees, and many other artists were affected by this entrepreneur who was always willing to take a chance.

    If you love or hate my picks, I'd love to hear from you.

    Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Stay healthy and safe!

    Jon Hein is the creator of "Jump the Shark" and author of three books. Follow him @jonhein on Twitter.

    TOPICS: And Just Like That, HBO Max, Sex and the City, Cynthia Nixon, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker