Below is a spoiler-free review of the first two episodes of And Just Like That…, which are now airing on HBO Max, with new episodes every Thursday.
The first sign that the sequel series And Just Like That… will be a radical departure from its predecessor comes with Carey’s first line, which addresses directly the COVID-19 pandemic. Sex and the City has always been an entertaining escape from reality — that’s a New York show on the horizon that didn’t even touch on 9/11, after all — and getting more themes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But where it most failed, is its sloppy execution. Gone with the escape from reality is the optimism, wit, and humor that made Sex and the City so special, giving us a somber, sultry, and sometimes racy new chapter. As I watched the two-episode premiere, I couldn’t help but wonder… Do the writers of Sex and the City hate their characters?
Whereas Sex and the City was a half-hour comedy, Just Like That becomes a 45-minute drama with attempts at, I guess, comedy? She picks up with three out of four of Manhattan’s top 30 commuters now in their fifties. Carrie and Paige are settled into domestic bliss, Miranda embarks on new career goals while dealing with an over-sexualized teenage son, and Charlotte is preoccupied with being the arrogant mother she was always meant to be. However, the beloved and sensational fourth pillar of the century from the original series, Samantha, is missing due to the highly publicized Kim Cattrall’s refusal to participate. I suppose it’s to his credit, and like that he’s not dancing around her absence (and how could that be?), but his poor handling of the topic is the first red flag that this sequel won’t do its characters justice.