The quote “everything old is new again” certainly applies to today’s television shows.
Time and again we are seeing reboots and reimaginings on our screens, riding a wave of nostalgia and goodwill. Next up for a resurrection?
A new version of the glitzy teen drama Gossip Girl, the show that launched the careers of Blake Lively, Penn Badgley and Chace Crawford.
While Gossip Girl 2.0 will feature an all-new cast and focus on “modern issues”, the core of the original remains: romance, reputations and rumours. And – OMG, of course – fashion.
Sex. Scandal. Secrets. Lots and lots of secrets. Gossip Girl is back.
The teen drama about an anonymous blogger dishing dirt on New York high society catapulted its cast of young actors on to the A-list and left a lasting mark on pop culture when it debuted in 2007.
While blogs may no longer be in fashion, tales of the rich and famous never go out of style – and appetite for gossip has never been greater.
Which is why, after a nine-year hiatus, the show has been brought out of retirement to captivate audiences once more with salacious stories and enviable haute couture.
Only these days, “gossip girl” (again voiced by Kristen Bell) is an Instagram troll rather than a blogger. And the stakes are far higher for her fictional victims because Instagram has put high-school students – and their reputations – on the world stage.
Described as a “continuation” rather than a reboot, this Gossip Girl takes place in the same social scene as the original, but with a new generation of students.
Here, the fashion is still as fierce as the schoolyard rivalries, but they are dealing with a raft of modern issues. Details about the show have been kept strictly under wraps – to the point that cast members have even had to keep some plot lines secret from one another.
One of the actors likely to find himself far more popular than ever once the series premieres is skateboarder-cum-Calvin- Klein model Evan Mock. Although he has only seen a few episodes of the original, Mock is aware of its cultural impact and believes this version will find new fans by telling fresh stories through a modern lens.
“There are issues to talk about that need to be confronted and put on a national TV show,” he tells The Binge Guide. Even though Manhattan’s Upper East Side is worlds away from the beaches of Hawaii, where he was born and raised, Mock says he can easily identify with his character.
“You know, we’re young and we’re figuring things out for ourselves,” he says.
“I think my character Aki is doing the same thing… relating to him isn’t that hard at all for me because he plays a role that I think I play in real life every day. This isn’t just a show with a fantasy outlook; these are also issues that we deal with in everyday life.”
Like Gossip Girl, Australian ’90s teen drama Heartbreak High is also returning (in 2022) for a new generation. Salvatore Coco, who starred in the original, says there’s a simple reason why both shows are enjoying a renaissance. “I don’t think there’s anything on television today that connects to the audience like those shows did back in the 1990s and early 2000s,” he explains. Coco says appearing in the teen drama brought him unparalleled attention, and almost 30 years later, fans still recognise him from the series.
Fellow Heartbreak High castmate Lara Cox tells The Binge Guide that although teen dramas are very much a time capsule of their era, reboots (or, in the case of Gossip Girl, reimaginings) can capture a new audience if they are able to adapt to their era. “I know times change, and fashion certainly does, but the teen years will always be that transitional period before adulthood,” she says. “If a show is able to reveal some truth of what it’s like to be a teen going through it, then on some level it should appeal to young people.”
Catch the new season of Gossip Girl on BINGE from July 8 – and watch the original there now.
Originally published as Star admits new Gossip Girl is ‘confronting’