If you think YOU’RE suffering from ”Sopranos” withdrawal, imagine the shivering bodies curled into corners of HBO offices these days. Their best show just wrapped a thunderously good third season; now what? Something old, something new: Taking ”The Sopranos”’ spot Sundays at 9 p.m. is a fourth season of cat scratch fever on Sex and the City (premiering with back to back fresh episodes this week before ceding the 9:30 p.m. slot to ”Arli$$”).
”Sex” mavens Darren Star and Michael Patrick King still have a few canny variations on loneliness ‘n’ lust for the four single gals in Manhattan (Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis). Last season, Davis’ Charlotte married a limp stiff played by Kyle MacLachlan. Impotence is a dead end subplot, so while MacLachlan appears in the premiere, he and Charlotte are separated now, which frees her up to join the ladies for endless lunches of hot water with a slice of lemon, while they answer naughty questions like what actor they pleasure themselves to on boyless nights. (Parker’s Carrie: ”[George] Clooney’s like a Chanel suit — he’ll always be in style.”)
”Sex”’s first episode makes good use of Manhattan landmarks. Cattrall’s Samantha passes a church I recognize as the famous New York actor’s place of worship, the Little Church Around the Corner (here called All Souls) and instantly falls for a hunk in monk’s robes played by Costas Mandylor. (Hey, Costas, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts is just around that church’s real life East 29th Street corner — you could use a couple of refresher classes.) Samantha’s newfound spirituality is a kick. Equally amusing is the second episode, in which Carrie is asked to be a celebrity model in a fashion show. Guest stars Margaret Cho and Alan Cumming are dandy as rag trade hardnoses, and Chris Noth, as Carrie’s eternally elusive soul mate, Mr. Big, looks like a sleek, happy shark in a too brief cameo. Overall, however, ”Sex and the City” is beginning to seem rather tame for HBO — once you’ve programmed raunch like ”G-String Divas,” randy sitcoms just seem… randy.
See EW.com’s ”Sex and the City” Guide