Should you stream HBO’s ‘Gossip Girl’? Watch the reboot online
Gossip Girl was, to put it lightly, a cultural phenomenon. The story dominated YA literature in the 2000s, and when it was adapted into a TV series, more people were introduced to this gripping teen drama. The show lasted five years and was adapted into four versions across the world.
And now, the series has returned . . . as an HBO Max Gossip Girl reboot? What’s this all about, and what does this mean for our beloved show? Let’s dissect this series and see what the reboot has to offer, shall we?
The original Gossip Girl
Gossip Girl was originally a young adult book series by Cecily von Ziegesar. Ziegesar was inspired to write the books while working at Alloy Entertainment and released the first book in 2002. Gossip Girl exploded, hitting the New York Times bestseller list upon release, and eventually, twelve books were released in the series. This was followed by a few sequels and ten spinoff novels in The It Girl collection.
Originally Gossip Girl was going to be made into a movie, but that never got off the ground. So two creators, Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage, took the project and made it into a TV pilot, which got the show greenlit by CW. The first episode aired in the fall of 2007, and from there, it became a monster hit. Over a hundred episodes were eventually produced, and Gossip Girl ran for five years.
The show is narrated by the mysterious “Gossip Girl” (voiced by Kristen Bell, who’s most well-known for the title role in Veronica Mars, and playing Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen franchise), and focuses on teens living a wealthy life in Manhattan, New York. At the start of the show, the “it girl”, Serena, returns after strangely being gone, and has to navigate the relationships she left behind.
From there, the many teen characters (most who attend Constance Billard School for Girls) struggle with various aspects of their high life, from sexual conquests to cheating & betrayal to managing their social lives to dealing with death. It’s a dramatic show at every turn, and viewers were more than happy to watch each episode. Then, after six seasons, it finally ended.
To put it mildly, the original series was a successful hit. But what about the HBO Max Gossip Girl reboot? Let’s dive into more about that.
Development of the new series
WarnerMedia ordered the HBO Max Gossip Girl reboot in 2019, but the filming was delayed due to COVID-19’s effects on the film industry (and the world as a whole). They had originally wanted to start production in 2019, but had to wait until late 2020, and then released the series in mid-2021. It was always planned to be an HBO Max & HBO Go exclusive.
Joshua Safran, who was the showrunner for the original Gossip Girl in its later seasons, came back to lead the project. Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage, the original creators, also returned as executive producers.
At first, the show was called a “reboot” by WarnerMedia, and that’s what we thought it was as well. However, the show can be more accurately described as an “extension”, according to Safran. He told the press, “None of us are interested in just redoing a story.”
So this HBO Gossip Girl reboot isn’t a reboot at all! But what is the series like, anyway?
2021’s Gossip Girl
With the original “Gossip Girl” (voiced again by Kristen Bell) watching over them, a new array of teenage New Yorkers (most of them, once again, at Constance Billard School for Girls) battle social issues and various scandals.
Joshua Safran has stated he wants the show to revolve more around “nonwhite” leads, and that the new Gossip Girl will have “a lot of queer content.” Furthermore, he wants the series to look at the world as it is now in 2021—a lot has changed since 2012, after all, and Safran wants to show that.
This can be seen from the very first episode—the students return to Constance Billard after the COVID-19 pandemic has settled down, and teachers are using social media from the get-go. The logline for the series reflects this well, telling us the following:
“Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years.”
So there you have it. The HBO Max Gossip Girl reboot will take on a newer version of Manhattan than the original, and embrace how life has changed since then.
Where will the series go from here?
The first batch of episodes for HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot was released on July 8th, 2021, showing us the first six episodes weekly. The last six of the season started airing on November 25th, 2021, and the finale will air on December 9th, 2021. It’s certainly an exciting time, and we hope the show can thrive so a new generation can witness the power of Gossip Girl.