The networks have announced their fall schedules, but which of the series will actually be worth watching? Throughout the summer, as I watch the pilots, I'll be posting my first impressions. Note that a lot can change before a show actually makes it to air, so these aren't comprehensive reviews, just quick thoughts on how the shows look now. Today's installment: The CW's "Gossip Girl."
What's it about? Based on the popular book series by Cecily von Ziegesar, "Gossip Girl" centers on a group of girls at a ritzy New York private school who have their (mis)adventures with sex, drugs, liquor and romance chronicled by an anonymous blogger.
Who's in it? Blake Lively of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, Penn Badgley
The good: This is one of "OC" creator Josh Schwartz's two shows making it to air this fall, and if NBC's "Chuck" is the heir to "The OC"'s snappy dialogue, than "Gossip Girl" inherited all of its overwrought teenage drama — which I'm not sure anybody in primetime TV these days does better than Schwartz. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the acting from young cast. The soundtrack in the first episode is fantastic (though as yet there's no Bait Shop equivalent where the bands could perform).
The bad: I had mixed feelings about the narration (done by Kristen Bell of the late, lamented "Veronica Mars"), which was cute for a while and then quickly got old. And though it's all done well, nothing in the pilot really seems new; it's the same old teen crises with the same old characters (the wannabe popular girl, the shy guy, the forgotten best friend, the queen bee). Lively also looks distractingly old, even though she's actually younger than the much-younger-looking Meester.
Will I watch? I'll certainly give it a shot. If there's a way to make the tired teenage stories seem fresh, this show could be a worthy heir to not just "The OC" but also "Dawson's Creek."
To watch a video preview and see a gallery of photos,
Photos courtesy of The CW