The 2012 TV Upfronts

The CW: Li'l Carrie Bradshaw!
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May 17 2012 1:48 PM

The 2012 TV Upfronts

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The CW presents Li'l Carrie Bradshaw.

THE CW UPFRONTS 2012
AnnaSophia Robb in The Carrie Diaries.

Mathieu Young/The CW. ©2012 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

The CW, a network which exists to sell young women lip gloss and offer bloggers things to obsess over, announced five dramas this morning at the New York City Center. You will have to wait until midseason to watch—and, subsequently, to not admit to watching—the buzziest of them, a Sex and the City prequel titled The Carrie Diaries. AnnaSophia Robb, whose looks and lilt recall a prelapsarian Lindsay Lohan, plays young Miss Bradshaw. Here, our heroine Metro-Norths it between a suburban high school overrun with neon-bangled cliques and a downtown Manhattan riddled with neon-haired scenesters. The show’s range of reference—the Indochine name drop, the New Order soundtrack, the reverence for Andy Warhol’s Interview—suggests that it skews more bloggy than tweenish.

True to form, Carrie addresses her dreams and fears in frequent voiceover, a narrative technique central to Emily Owens, M.D., which indulges stream-of-consciousness narration like a stoned Stephen Dedalus. A sort of Pearl Grey’s Anatomy, the show stars delightful Mamie Gummer as a surgeon even more socially awkward than Mindy Kaling’s. I have seen Gummer on stage and screen a few times, but I had not until this morning seen her deploy fluttering gestures and oh-sheesh-y sidelong glances in a way that unavoidably calls to mind her mother, whose last name is Streep. Will the show’s target audience be likewise distracted by the close resemblance of the good doctor and that lady from Mamma Mia?

So that’s the CW woman, bewitched and bewildered. Meanwhile, the CW man is all about vigilante justice. In the fall, the network will give its biggest push to Arrow, adapted from DC Comics’ Green Arrow. Billionaire playboy Oliver Queen returns to civilization, ready for soapy superheroics after getting banged up in a shipwreck. “Twenty percent of his body is covered in scar tissue,” someone says. Still he’s looking fine, I can tell you, having seen the clip reel, which memorably involves zero percent of his abs covered in shirt.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

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