After announcing last week that a pilot has been ordered for the Green Arrow TV show, Arrow, it appears that the CW is attempting to purge any remaining expectations of machismo programming by announcing today that they have greenlighted pilots for the long-awaited Sex and the City prequel Carrie Diaries, as well as a remake of the 1980s Beauty and the Beast series, Beast.
Carrie Diaries, which is based on the Candace Bushnell book series, will explore the life of small-town girl Carrie Bradshaw in the 80s, as she makes her way through high school – and all the complications that come with it – in an attempt to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. Also joining Harris on the project will be Gossip Girl co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. Bushnell will serve as an executive producer on the project.
Easily dismissible by those who are not fans of Sex in the City, CW’s Carrie Diaries does present an interesting concept in their intentions of showing the coming of age of one of television’s most memorable characters. Potentially leaning more towards Degrassi in its execution than the frivolity of Gossip Girl, the ability to deal with issues that today’s generation can identify with, while also wrapping it in the reminiscent hue of the '80s, could draw viewers of all ages (and sexes) the series.
Of course if you’re not up for a direct '80s rewind on your television screen, CW has you covered with its remake of the 1980s Beauty and the Beast series, which starred Linda Hamilton (Terminator) and Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Hellboy). Entitled Beast, the series will follow in the same vein of its predecessor: a modern-day romance with a procedural twist.
For those unfamiliar with the original cult series, Beauty and the Beast centered around a man-beast named Vincent (Perlman), who ends up serving as the romantic interest and protector of assistant District attorney Catherine (Hamilton) after saving her life. The relationship between Vincent and Catherine is not too dissimilar to the relationship between Angel and Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Spearheaded by Brothers & Sisters producers Jennifer Levin and Sherri Cooper, Beast will also bring on original Beauty and the Beast series creator Ron Koslow, as well as original series producers Paul Junger Witt and C. Anthony Thomas.
Without knowing more about the intended direction of the series, it’s difficult to gauge exactly how excited and/or put off one should be with this news. Perhaps taking a note from recent film trends, it appears that CW is attempting to hedge its bets on a successful fall line-up by developing series based on already-proven franchises.
The only problem is that these franchises haven’t yet proven themselves successful for CW. While it’s likely that Carrie Diaries and Beast will draw in audiences familiar with the previous associated works, it’s hard to tell how much of that will actually impact the network’s success in the long run.
Considering CW is not attempting to transition their intended audience from where it currently stands, much of the network’s success still relies on the young female demographic. So while nostalgia might help drive the intrigue of a more mature crowd, the success and/or failure of these projects are ultimately going to be up to those viewers who are not going to have the same association with the series and/or era that Beast and Carrie Dearies are attempting to take advantage of.
Expect CW to make a decision on Carrie Diaries & Beast this May
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio