Where to watch Gossip Girl reboot in Australia and show review

The new Gossip Girl could be more outrageous, but it’s off to a promising start.

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Gossip Girl reboot cast sitting on steps
HBO/BINGE

Title

Gossip Girl reboot

Year released

2021

Genres

Drama, Teen drama

Synopsis

A new generation of private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. A reboot of the original show.

Seasons

  • Season 1

Cast and crew

  • Jordan Alexander
  • Whitney Peak
  • Kate Keller
  • Otto Bergmann IV
  • Max Wolfe
After 7 seasons of unhinged drama, the original Gossip Girl went out with a whimper. Revealing who the anonymous blogger was all along made little sense, but this series-long mystery was never particularly compelling.

Most of us watched Gossip Girl for the sweet escape. It was a teen dramedy that allowed you to live vicariously through its rich and damaged protagonists – to gasp when they make stupid decisions, cheer when your favourites finally lock lips and daydream of owning a wardrobe as stylish as Serena's, Blair's or Chuck's. It was addictive and twisty. Remaking it was never going to be an easy feat.

Thankfully, the new Gossip Girl isn't just a carbon copy of the original. By deciding to follow a new generation, the creators acknowledge that the world has changed in the last decade and set out to tell stories more relevant to our times. The kids are nicer and the stakes are lower – which feels more realistic but also less scandalous than a diehard GG fan will expect.

When was the Gossip Girl reboot released


The HBO Max Gossip Girl reboot premiered in Australia on Thursday 8 July. Episodes are being released weekly basis.

Gossip Girl 2.0: What's the story?


The new kids on the block (indulge my old person reference) are still rich, but less likely to flaunt their wealth every second.

At the centre of the action is Julien, a social media influencer, who is dating Obie, an activist with a conscience. Julien has a large group of friends and is the bona fide queen bee of Constance Billard, despite high school hierarchy being considered more or less obsolete.

Julien has a couple of dedicated friends, Luna and Monet, who touch up her makeup and make sure she looks flawless in Insta stories. She also has a close confidant in Audrey, who is dealing with problems at home and trouble with her boyfriend, Aki.

Audrey and Aki have been dating for a while and their relationship has become stale, despite neither of them being ready to admit it. Rounding up the group is Max, the hedonist always down for whatever the night may bring.

In true Gossip Girl fashion, the show introduces an outsider: Zoya, Julien's half-sister. A Buffalo transplant, she just moved to New York from humble origins and got a scholarship to attend the prestigious school. Julien and Zoya had the same mum, who is deceased. Their dads hate each other, so the girls didn't have a relationship growing up. They connected online and are excited to finally meet in person. Julien hatches a plan to ensure Zoya earns a spot in the coveted friend group.

Then Gossip Girl returns in the form of an Instagram account. Unlike the original, the reboot tells you who is behind the Gossip Girl handle right away, so there's no mystery surrounding the poster's identity.

I won't spoil it here – let's just say that it's an intriguing development that can lead to some thought-provoking conversations down the road. Gossip Girl manages to drive a wedge between the half-sisters and a mild rivalry that will be explored in episodes to come is born.

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Gossip Girl reboot: Is it any good?

The short answer is yes. I watched 4 episodes for review and had a good time basking in the fab lives of these teen socialites. The new Gossip Girl is still finding its voice and deciding what kind of show it wants to be, but it has a lot of potential.

Unlike the original, there are no benevolent tyrants here, so don't expect to get acquainted with the next Blair. Luna and Monet are the closest this show has to a Blair type, with a penchant for scheming and a desire to stay on top. They're a delight every time they grace the screen, all snark and arrogance. I hope they get more to do as the show moves forward.

However, Julien is far from a dictator. In fact, all these kids are open and accepting. Even when they scheme, they're conflicted about their motivations and mostly end up apologising for their behaviour. Even Gossip Girl is careful about what type of information to share.

This sometimes works against the show, as the drama is light and the twists less surprising than you'd expect from a Gossip Girl reboot. Once these characters get more development, however, they'll likely have more OMG-type moments to navigate.

Max is a standout in this first batch of episodes, revealing an appealing vulnerability under his thrill-seeking exterior. He's basically Chuck Bass without the problematic aspects – we see him explicitly ask for consent in one scene.

He's got layers and inner demons to explore, making him more fleshed out than some of his companions. Unfortunately, he's also the one who gets saddled with one of the most tired teen drama tropes in history. He has enough charm to make it out unscathed, though I really wish he didn't have to.

One thing the reboot has fun with is pointing out the failings of the original. From making characters eye-roll at outlandish developments like Dan publishing a story in the New Yorker as a high school student to critiquing the lack of diversity, the new Gossip Girl recognises the issues that plagued its predecessor and aims to do better.

This group of teens is much more diverse, which is a big plus. But by sidestepping any outlandish developments, the reboot also loses some of the spark that made the original so special.

That being said, the new era of Gossip Girl is just beginning. The show's dialogue is sharp, memorable one-liners abound, the fashion is to die for and the production values are through the roof. Whether this will end up being a pop culture phenomenon on its own, only time will tell. For now, I'm cautiously optimistic.

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