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The short answer is yes. We were given a sneak peak 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 getting started, through part 1 of season 1 and now the fresh part 2. 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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