Terry Morrow: ‘Carrie Diaries’ opens new chapter for ‘Sex’ heroine

“The Carrie Diaries” is the best series the CW has ever put on its schedule.

Granted, the bar has been set low. This is the micro-network that has featured such questionable hits as “Gossip Girl” and “90210.” The CW has specialized in juvenile dramas in which teen characters have a stomach-turning swagger far beyond their years.

“Diaries” (8 p.m. Monday, WBXX, Channel 20) is different. It’s more character- appropriate for the CW.

The comedy-drama — a prequel to “Sex and the City” featuring a teenage Carrie Bradshaw — is based on the book of the same name, penned by “Sex” author Candace Bushnell. The series follows Carrie as she navigates growing up after her mother’s death and trying to find her voice.

A bit like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Diaries” is full of fashion because of Carrie’s job at a Manhattan fashion agency. Adding that the series is set in the early 1980s — retro music and fashion going hand in hand — and “Diaries” has an across-the-board appeal for the CW.

Since these are the days prior to Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, “Diaries” has a conflicted family and idealistic friends, such as the sexually active Maggie, faithful friend Walt and longtime gal pal Jill, at Carrie’s side.

Actress AnnaSophia Robb is perfectly cast to play the young Carrie, a girl who is innocent yet growing into maturity through the loss of her mother and a change of locale.

“Diaries” is far from perfect. Letting Carrie loose in the Big Apple isn’t realistic thinking, and the conveniences allowing her to have an NYC life come a bit too easily.

But, then, “Diaries” is set in Manhattan, the best place to make dreams come true.

Score: 4 stars (out of five)

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

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