Gossip Girl reboot sets itself apart from original

Photo courtesy of IMDb

By Erianne Lewis | Arts and Life Editor

The new reboot of Gossip Girl wasn’t bad but it wasn’t all I expected it to be. How can you reboot a show that was so beloved and became a pop culture phenomenon, captivating the interest of millions of people around the world? The answer is simple – you can’t.

Once you realize that the Gossip Girl reboot isn’t trying to replace the original and it stands in its own league, then you are able to appreciate it more. At least I was.

The original Gossip Girl, which aired on The CW in Sept. 2007, glamorized the scandalous lives of a group of wealthy private school teens living in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Based on the novel series by author Cecily von Ziegesar, the show launched the careers of many well-known actors today like Blake Lively, Penn Badgley and Leighton Meester.

The original Gossip Girl was so special. It had everything at the time of its release: a lot of drama, outrageous amounts of money, witty comebacks, lots of romance and a pretty great soundtrack. I was only five when it originally aired, but like most of Gen Z, I binged watched it years later on Netflix.

In the six seasons it aired, it captivated the television screens of many young people throughout the world. I think something that really drew people in was that it felt like we were watching behind-the-scenes of really wealthy people living in New York. It didn’t feel like a normal drama, it felt almost like a reality TV show.

If you are like me, you are probably thinking why would something like that ever be rebooted? It had a great run, so why try and ruin it by adding on to it?

When I first heard that HBO Max was releasing a Gossip Girl reboot nine years after it originally went off air, I had many doubts. Then I saw the trailer and I was immediately hooked.

It contained everything that the original version had, from the drama to the lavishly wealthy teens and, of course, another fantastic soundtrack. Beloved Gossip Girl announcer Kristen Bell also returned for the reboot.

A difference from the original is that it contained significantly more technology than the original one ever had because it didn’t exist then in the capacity it does today. One of the biggest differences from the original is that in the reboot, Gossip Girl is revealed in the first episode. Anyone that watched the original knows how significant of a difference that is.

It was obvious that the target audience was aimed more toward Gen Z, as can be seen through the new Instagram-based storyline and modern references.

The series, which premiered on July 8, included six hour-long episodes that were released weekly. The reboot showcased a new generation of preppy, rich teens with a social media twist. The show is set eight years after the last episode of the original aired and it’s meant to exist in the same world as the original, but it stands on its own.

Josh Safran, a producer of the original Gossip Girl and writer of the reboot, said in an interview regarding the similarities of characters in the reboot and the original, “They’ve existed throughout time in literature and in art. But I do think these characters stand on their own. I do think they are different. I think that any similarities were not intentional, but also unavoidable because those archetypes exist.”

Some of the new main characters are Julien, Max, Zoya, Luna, Obie, Akeno, Kate and Monet. I won’t dive too much into the specifics of the show, just in case someone who is reading this hasn’t seen it yet. I will say that there is sister drama, boyfriend stealing, Instagram attacking and many more scandals.

I will also add that it was not at all what I expected, but I did enjoy it. If you watch it with an open mind and a predetermined realization that it is not the original, it may be more enjoyable.