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GOSSIP GIRL S1 P1: Super Rich Kids

The Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max stars an incredibly talented cast of Hollywood’s rising actors namely Jordan Alexander as Julien Calloway (Sacred Lies), Whitney Peak as Zoya Lott (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Tavi Gevinson (Scream Queens) as Kate Keller, Eli Brown as Otto "Obie" Bergmann IV (Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists), Thomas Doherty as Max Wolfe (The Lodge, Descendants), Emily Alyn Lind as Audrey Hope (Revenge, The Babysitter), Evan Mock as Akeno "Aki" Menzies, Zión Moreno as Luna La (Control Z) and Savannah Lee Smith as Monet De Haan. The series is narrated by Kristen Bell reprising her role from the original Gossip Girl. In addition to Kristen Bell, Yin Chang reprises her role as Nelly Yuki in an episode. Milo Sparks who happens to be the son of Georgina Sparks, played by Azhy Robertson also appears in an episode. The creators behind the reboot are the same ones as the original in the form of Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage.

Set eight years after the conclusion of the original Gossip Girl series, a new generation of Constance Billard School New York students become the subjects of Gossip Girl. It starts as a social experiment and continues to invade the private lives of the students. The students deal with their family problems, friendships, relationships, and the chaos brought about by Gossip Girl. Julien and Zoya are half-sisters, and tension rises as soon as Zoya moves to New York from Buffalo. Obie who used to date Julien falls for Zoya. Zoya becomes the center of attention. Julien becomes jealous and insecure at first but eventually realizes that she needs to find herself. Audrey deals with her family problem and at the same time the love triangle between her, Aki, and Max. Luna and Monet aid Julien with her career of being an influencer. Their friendships, relationships, and loyalties are tested throughout the first part of the series.

Given the reboot being an HBO Max series, the budget is insanely high. The format and quality of the series are exceptional. The cinematography is cohesive and unique at the same time. The minimalistic editing of the series makes each episode seem elegant. The color grading of the series matches the theme and the elegance of the series which makes it aesthetic. In terms of the soundtrack of the series, Rob Lowry, the Music Supervisor, did a pretty great job. The soundtrack plays a key role in the series, and it helps move the story forward. Every track played matches the characters and the plot for the episode. The entire season 1 part 1 soundtrack is just chef’s kiss. Rob posting the tracklist every Gossip Girl day is exactly what we need. I hope that they continue on with good song choices in season 1 part 2 and future seasons of the series.

The reboot takes on an entirely different route compared to the original Gossip Girl. Where the original stuck to the popular plot of white privileged high school kids drama, the reboot wanted to showcase inclusivity by casting people of color and other ethnicities. Furthermore, the reboot tried the new and upcoming formula for contemporary teenage flicks: social commentary added with racial inclusivity equals to the attention of millennials and the Gen Z. So basically, it’s the meme saying “Same same, but different.”

What makes the two versions completely different though?

Well, it’s the theme. The original focused more on the relationship drama between teenagers and their first world problems as part of the elite in the social class whereas the reboot tried to take on topics that cater to the interest of their audience. In short, the reboot tries to get the attention of its viewers by presenting something that is relevant for them like activism and inclusivity while the original gets the attention of the viewers for something that its viewers would want for themselves: wealth and popularity. In a sense, the two exist in two parallel universes that align themselves with their respective era which means that each version cannot truly be compared to each other because they each try to deliver something different.

What other changes are there?

The original Gossip Girl thrived on keeping the identity of the narrator a secret while the reboot just outright reveals who Gossip Girl is, with its executive producer and writer Safran stating that “If you went back and sort of re-edited the show to see him posting everything, you’d see sort of this much more morally complex, dark antihero.” This means that the reboot delivers ethically challenging views while keeping up the youthfulness of the show, much like a coming-of-age story full of drama and dilemmas.

To sum up, the Gossip Girl reboot is a series we never thought we needed. It’s very realistic which makes it relatable to all the teenagers out there. Having a diverse and talented cast of up-and-coming actors is a high risk for HBO Max, but they were able to pull it off. The cast would eventually be household names in Hollywood in the future. Here’s to hoping for a second season renewal. Overall, we would rate Gossip Girl an 8/10. XOXO.

Lead Writer - Carlos Miguel Andres

Co-Writer - Elisha Joy Evangelista

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