HBO Max Winter Roundup

As finals week wraps up and we all return home, the time has come for hiding from your relatives in your childhood bedroom and binge-watching TV shows. Although there are countless streaming services with old favorites to peruse, HBO Max has recently been taking the lead in juicy new releases. Here is a definitive ranking. Spoiler alert. 

 

1. The Sex Lives of College Girls: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This show is the ideal college watch. Plenty of drama to keep it exciting, super funny, and really heartwarming. The four roommate protagonists don’t have much in common, so their antics are all the more fun to watch and really reflective of the unexpected nature of collegiate friendships. The show also tackles a lot of meaningful topics in a way that feels somewhat? maybe? Real. Watching the show as a college student is especially fun, because all the romantic and social pitfalls of collegiate life are glamourized and made funny instead of pathetic. My one complaint is that the show reminds me of what Wesleyan is missing. We may be attending a small liberal arts college, but not that brand of small liberal arts college, like with castle-esque dining halls and giant cozy common rooms. Nonetheless, I cannot wait for season two.

Am also stunned that Pauline and Timothee Chalamet are related. WTF?? Unreal. 

 

2. Gossip Girl (the reboot): 3.5 out of 5 stars

Ultimately quite forgettable. The original Gossip Girl was sharp and clever, while Gossip Girl 2.0 is stale and cringey. The characters are all annoying, and not in a fun ~they’re awful people but it’s exciting~ way like the original. They’re a weird mix of deeply selfish but also trying too hard to reform their problematic ways, if only to recoup their Instagram followers. I just wanna watch uber-privileged teens ruthlessly bully each other!! 

 

3. And Just Like That (also a reboot): 3 out of 5 stars

Technically only three episodes have been released, so the trajectory of the season is still unclear. However the precedent set so far is less than ideal. In conclusion, a reboot is never a good idea. Although And Just Like That boasts the same cast, the large lapse in time between the show (and subpar movies) irreparably changes the context of the show in a way that is no longer true to its original purpose. The entertainment value of Sex and the City hinged on the characters’ identity as single women navigating love and lust in New York City, but that premise is gone now that they’re all married middle-aged moms. The reboot is more progressive and features updated cultural references, but the characters, by contrast, appear out of touch and conservative. Miranda, everyone’s favorite girlboss, is especially done dirty by her new lack of self-awareness. The Kim Catrall-Sarah Jessica Parker beef has also really messed with the energy of the show, as Samantha is now an absent failure of a friend, instead of the show’s much needed comic relief. And, of course, Big’s episode one death is devastating. There is no Sex and the City without Samantha and Big. The weird Peloton product placement was fun though.

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