The Carrie Diaries reviews – what’s the verdict?

From "inept" to "lyrical", critics have their say on the Sex and the City prequel...


The Carrie Diaries, the much anticipated prequel to HBO’s hit show Sex and the City, has aired on US network The CW.


Based on the young adult novels by Candace Bushnell, The Carrie Diaries introduce SATC’s protagonist in her teenage years. Set months after her mother’s death from cancer, the show sees 16-year-old Carrie, played by AnnaSophia Robb, as she begins an internship in Manhattan and embarks on the road to being the Manalo Blahnik wearing writer we know and love.

But while dedicated fans are sure to be embracing the return of Ms Bradshaw to our screens, The Carrie Dairies has so far been getting mixed reviews from critics…

The Guardian were less than impressed, summing up the show with the phrase “bad clothes, bad hair, bad writing”, before going on to say: “There are drugs and gay men. There’s shop-lifting and lying. There are multiple references to sex. But if I tell you that the euphemistic line to describe intercourse is “A hot dog in a key hole,” maybe you’ll get a sense of a) how lacking in edge this show is and b) what a ridiculous script it has.”

Though not enamoured with The CW’s take on Carrie’s teenage life, The Boston Globe said the show “isn’t bad enough to despise”, yet called it “somewhat bland” and said it was “time to let go” of Sex and the City. 

The Hollywood Reporter‘s verdict is that The CW’s attempt to recreate a teenage Carrie is “kind of quaint”, ending with the note: “It’s just important to remember that – voiceovers and wild dresses aside – the prequel is still a couple of boroughs removed from the original. 

While The New York Times warned “The memory of how that touchstone HBO show [Sex and the City], at its best, wrapped heartbreak and satire in high comic style makes the ordinariness of “The Carrie Diaries” a little more disappointing than it would be otherwise.”

New York’s Vulture magazine was less subtle in its criticism, calling the prequel “inept” and declaring that “everything about it is wrong.” The review concludes that The Carrie Diaries is “mostly about one thing: wanting to cash in on Sex and the City.”

Not every critic was so harsh though. Though outnumbered, Robert Lloyd at the LA Times called it “well-staged and believably played and at times it becomes quite lyrical and, even, moving.” 

Watch a trailer for The Carrie Diaries: