Gossip Girl was to say the least a cultural phenomenon. The story dominated YA literature in the 2000s, and when it was adapted into a TV series, more people were introduced to this gripping teen drama. The show lasted five years and was adapted for four versions worldwide.
And now the series has returned. . . as an HBO Max Gossip Girl restart? What is this all about and what does it mean for our beloved show? Let’s dissect this series and see what the reboot has to offer, shall we?
The original Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl was originally a youth book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. Ziegesar was inspired to write the books while working at Alloy Entertainment and published the first book in 2002. Gossip Girl exploded and hit the New York Times bestseller list upon publication, and eventually twelve books in the series were published. This was followed by a couple of sequels and ten spinoff novels It-pigen collection.
Originally Gossip Girl had to be made into a movie, but it never got started. So two creators, Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage, took the project and turned it into a TV pilot who got the show green by the CW. The first episode aired in the fall of 2007, and from there it became a monster hit. Over a hundred episodes were eventually produced, and Gossip Girl drove for five years.
The show is narrated by the mysterious “Gossip Girl” (pronounced by Kristen Bell, who is best known for the title role in Veronica Mars, and play Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen franchise), and focuses on teens living a wealthy life in Manhattan, New York. At the beginning of the show, the “IT girl”, Serena, returns after strangely being away, and has to navigate the conditions she left behind.
From there, the many teen characters (most attending Constance Billard School for Girls) struggle with various aspects of their high lives, from sexual conquests to cheating and betrayal to managing their social lives to dealing with death. It’s a dramatic show on each side, and viewers were more than happy to see each episode. So, after six seasons, it finally ended.
The original series was, to put it mildly, a successful hit. But what about HBO Max Gossip Girl restart? Let’s dive into more about that.
Development of the new series
WarnerMedia ordered HBO Max Gossip Girl restart in 2019, but filming was delayed due to COVID-19’s effects on the film industry (and the world as a whole). They had originally wanted to start production in 2019, but had to wait until the end of 2020, and then released the series in mid-2021. It was always planned to be an exclusive HBO Max & HBO Go.
Joshua Safran, who was the showrunner for the original Gossip Girl in later seasons, came back to lead the project. Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage, the original creators, also returned as executive producers.
At first, the show was called a “reboot” by WarnerMedia, and we thought it was too. However, the show can be more accurately described as an “extension”, according to Safran. He told the press: “None of us are interested in just making a story about.”
So this HBO Gossip Girl restart is not a restart at all! But how is the series at all?
2021s Gossip Girl
With the original “Gossip Girl” (played by Kristen Bell) watching over them, a new line of teenage New Yorkers (most of them again at the Constance Billard School for Girls) are battling social issues and various scandals.
Joshua Safran has stated that he wants the show to be more about “non-white” leads, and that the new Gossip Girl will have “very queer content.” In addition, he wants the series to look at the world as it is now in 2021 – a lot has changed since 2012, and Safran would like to show that.
This can be seen from the very first episode – the students return to Constance Billard after the COVID-19 pandemic has calmed down and teachers use social media from the start. The log line for the series reflects this well and tells us the following:
“Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens is being introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address how much social media – and the New York landscape itself – has changed in the intermediate year. “
So there you have it. HBO Max Gossip Girl Restart will take a newer version of Manhattan than the original and embrace how life has changed since then.
Where will the series go from here?
The first series of episodes for HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot was released on July 8, 2021 and shows us the first six episodes weekly. The last six of the season began airing on November 25, 2021, and the finale airs on December 9, 2021. It is certainly an exciting time, and we hope the program can thrive so that a new generation can witness the power of Gossip Girl.
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