Plus, showrunner Rachel Shukert and executive producer Lucia Aniello tell EW how they're updating all the iconic characters.

By Sydney Bucksbaum
May 08, 2020 at 11:00 AM EDT
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The Baby-Sitters Club

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  • Book

Grab your see-through landline phone, order some pizza, and gather all your BFFs because The Baby-Sitters Club is officially back in business!

Just in time for National Baby-Sitter's Day, EW can exclusively reveal that Netflix's reboot of the beloved franchise will premiere July 3. And we've already got a sneak peek at the new series with the first teaser trailer. Check out the new versions of the fan-favorite characters in the video above now.

Based on author Ann M. Martin's best-selling books that touched multiple generations, The Baby-Sitters Club was previously adapted back in the '90s into both a TV series and film. But Netflix is bringing the nostalgic characters into modern times by updating them in a story set in today's world. The 10-episode streaming series, with original author Martin attached to produce, follows the friendship and adventures of Kristy Thomas (Sophie Grace), Mary-Anne Spier (Malia Baker), Claudia Kishi (Momona Tamada), Stacey McGill (Shay Rudolph), and Dawn Schafer (Xochitl Gomez) as the middle-schoolers start their babysitting business in the town of Stoneybrook, Conn.

"We've loved thinking about each of the characters and translating them into the present," showrunner Rachel Shukert tells EW. "If you take a kid like Kristy who in the '80s was this sporty tomboy, who is she in the world now? She's like this girl boss. Who is Dawn, somebody who was a vegetarian and paved the way for that in the '80s? Now we're at this time where she might be somebody with a real social justice bent, an activist about the environment and about income inequality and stuff like that. Just bringing them into modernity was really interesting, thinking about how we could tell these stories through a modern lens."

Shukert promises that the TV versions of all the girls from the books are still "very canon" and they didn't change who the characters are at their core. "We just leaned into updating them for today," she says. "We really see Mary Anne come into her own and figure out who she is. She learns how to own herself. Claudia in the books is bad at school but we dig into that more in a way that feels right for today. The way that we deal with Stacy's diabetes is a little different because the treatment and diagnosis of diabetes now is quite different than it was in the '80s, so we tried to really get like the medical of it right in terms of how it would affect your life, what kind of equipment she would use, how she would feel about it, what the girls would understand about it and what they wouldn't."

Executive producer and director Lucia Aniello is excited to bring The Baby-Sitters Club "to a new generation of girls."

"We're in this moment where it's really nice to see the stories of young women who are leaders in their community and their friendships with each other and their families are so important to them," Aniello says. "Hopefully we'll set a really great example for a new generation, the way that the books did for ours."

"So much of it is about being a good citizen, being a responsible person, being a caretaker," Shukert adds. "And also just the positivity of being good friends to each other, good friends to the kids that they take care of. It's a really positive world and story in a way that felt like a remedy to certain things."

And bringing her nostalgic teen pop culture cred to the series is Clueless star Alicia Silverstone, who plays Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer a.k.a. the selfless single-mother of Kristy, with a love interest played by Mark Feuerstein. "She really brought the character of Kristy's mom to life in a way that makes her feel accessible," Aniello says. "For people my age who grew up with Clueless, she's such an icon. And there's something about being like, 'Kristy's mom could be my friend,' [laughs] that makes it feel very in the present day and relatable to all of the generations that have read and loved these books. So that was exciting for us when we cast her and saw her on set."

So keep your eyes and ears peeled not only for Clueless easter eggs but also all the '80s and '90s references and fashion peppered throughout the first season, because Shukert and Aniello promise a "multi-generational" viewing experience that will be fun for all ages. "It was fun to play around with all that stuff because it felt like bringing a piece of our own childhoods into this," Shukert adds.

All 10 episodes of The Baby-Sitters Club debut July 3 on Netflix.

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The Baby-Sitters Club

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