The revival of “Sex and the City” is promising

We couldn’t help but wonder: “Sex and the city” work without Samantha Jones?

Earlier this year, HBO Max announced that it would reboot the groundbreaking late ’90s comedy-drama with all but one of its stars, Kim cattrall, who publicly fell out with Sarah jessica parker. Samantha de Cattrall is the lustful hub of the six seasons and two spinoff films of the original series: sardonic, successful, and gloriously ready to try anything once, as she educates her relatively chaste friends Carrie (Parker), Miranda (Cynthia nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin davis) on New York Dating and Mating Rules.

Without Samantha, their constant platitudes and high-maintenance hijinks could border on tasteless. But much to the relief of the fans, “And just like that …” is surprisingly effective with his trio of women, who are thankfully unchanged even though they face more adult issues.

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The scintillating series (first two episodes now streaming, new episodes weekly) picks up with an ever-stylish Carrie, who lives in marital bliss with Mr. Big (Chris Noth) as she takes her old dating column into the podcast domain. Charlotte is now the Type A mother of two teenage daughters, watching other parents as they slip wine in a school piano recital. And pragmatic lawyer Miranda is upset by her over-sexed son (Niall Cunningham) and grizzled husband Steve (David Eigenberg) as she embarks on graduate school at Columbia University.

To say much more would recklessly delve into spoiler territory, with an eleventh hour twist in the first episode that deeply impacts all three characters. (And no, that doesn’t involve Samantha, whose impending presence in the first two episodes leaves the door open for Cattrall to return, if she ever chooses.)

But there are plenty of fan services to appease viewers who have been eagerly awaiting the return of the series. At Series premiere in New York Wednesday night, the mere sight of Carrie’s large shoe closet garnered applause from members of the audience. Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte always make it for brunch, and Anthony (Mario Cantone) and Stanford (late Willie Garson) distributes sarcastic jokes with a bit of heart.

The first two new episodes never fully justify the existence of the revival. As pivotal as the original “Sex and the City” was in breaking taboos on women’s health and sexual appetites, the show never done well by people of color, and often played into offensive stereotypes about marginalized groups. “And Just Like That” aims to correct the situation with its more diverse cast, although at least initially none get significant screen time except for Che (Sara Ramirez), a non-queer comedian. binary whose electrical chemistry with Miranda hints at the potential for something more down the road.

The show often gets bogged down with lame jokes about social distancing, midlife, and how 50-year-olds are woefully out of touch with modern technology. (Although Miranda’s insistence on buying real textbooks rather than Kindle editions has a really fun result.)

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A major development in life sends Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) back to her keyboard.

But despite its flaws, there’s nothing like seeing our old friends again in the concrete jungle, after dismal feature films have largely relegated them to Mexico and Abu Dhabi. More than two decades since we first met them, Miranda, Charlotte and Carrie are just as lively, vibrant and chaotic as they’ve ever been, and it’s impossible not to be invested in their vertiginous emotional stakes this go-around.

“Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back,” Carrie said during the show’s original airing. “Maybe you have to let go of who you were to become who you will be.”

“And Just Like That” is fantastically, rightly, frustratingly indebted to its past. But we’ll gladly follow these ladies’ stilettos wherever they go next.

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