Through quarantine and through the ever continuous rise of the online world, streaming websites and applications are taking over our sources of entertainment, in the best possible way. Our favorite television series and movies are now within the touch of our hand, something that we can all be thankful for in a time where most is uncertain. However, as the quarantine time period has stretched much longer than we all expected, it can probably be said for everyone that we’ve binged our way through all of the award-winning dramas, terribly addictive reality tv, and the movies that we just can’t seem to get enough of. There comes a time where we all need a new thing to keep us engaged, and HBO Max is a streaming site that is quickly showing to be one of the best.
HBO Max is taking inspiration from what can be seen as some of the better times, scheduling to release shows based on some of the most beloved classics. They are also taking into account the lack of current accessibility to movie theaters around the world, debuting new movies on the exact same day they premiere at the theaters.
But, first off, let’s dive back into the world of coffee shop conversations and step into the lives of one of the most beloved group of friends. It is a somewhat simple show about friends living in New York City that took the world by storm over twenty years ago, and continues to entertain a new generation with episodes that never seem to get old. A Friends reunion special, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the original series pilot that aired in 1994, is set to premiere sometime in 2021 on the HBO Max streaming service. And to our enjoyment, all of the main cast members are coming back to the original Stage 24 at Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank, California. And all six of them: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer are all said to be executive producers on this project, along with writer of The Late Late Show, Ben Winston, who will also be the director. The news of this reunion was announced with coinciding Instagram posts from some of the cast, featuring the long-awaited caption: “It’s happening”.
As much as we would like to see the iconic characters of Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe back together on our screens, this special will not be a new scripted episode. It is more of a cast reunion, where the actors will take a trip down memory lane, revisit the iconic sets, and talk about some of the behind-the-scenes secrets. However, much like numerous other television shows and movies over this past year, production of the reunion has been pushed back due to pandemic restrictions. It was supposed to film in late March of this year, but is delayed as of right now to May. But our favorite group of co-stars are continuing to look on the bright side, and we all know that we can wait just a few more months to see a reunion as special as this. With this reunion officially scheduled and set to hopefully finish production in late summer of 2021, we can now all look forward to stepping back into the “The Central Perk”, taking a seat on the orange couch with a cup of coffee, and talk amongst our best friends. Because with the ongoing pandemic, no one for sure told us that life was going to be this way, but we all know that the Friends cast will always be there for us.
Let us now travel to another side of New York City and into the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite. A Gossip Girl spinoff series is already in production and is set to be released on HBO Max sometime in 2021. This spinoff will feature a modern take on a new generation of teenagers on the Upper East Side, and will take into account the steady rise of social media and influencers, an internet world that enables gossip to travel light years faster than on the flip phones Blake Lively and Leighton Meester, stars of the original series, used to carry around.
Because this spinoff is focused more on a new age of teenagers, it is not clear whether the original cast will be featured on the show, and a majority of them have made little indication that they will be involved with this project. The original cast of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Chace Crawford, Ed Westwick, Penn Badgley, and Taylor Momsen have since moved on from the series and are not likely to take part in the spinoff. However, Kristen Bell, who narrated the voice of Gossip Girl on the original series, will be returning to reprise her role. The supposed plot of the series is still based around the now infamous cite of “Gossip Girl”, but will contribute to the added obstacle of how social media will affect this new group of elite in New York City. We will see just how much our world has changed since the series premiered in 2007, twelve or so years after we first got entranced into the lives and drama of rich teenagers living in the city. The spinoff will continue to hold true to some of most iconic aspects seen in the original series, such as the New York City locations and something that truly set the show apart from everything else: the fashion.
Production of the Gossip Girl spinoff already began in November of 2020 in the heart of New York City, and is set to be released sometime in 2021. Here is another series and world we can walk back into, enjoying the drama of teenage scandals and affairs, and escape, even if just for a little bit, the state of the ongoing pandemic.
On top of the famous reboots, reunions, and spinoffs, HBO Max will also be releasing movies the same day as they are released in the theater, something we can enjoy as we get through this pandemic together. The movies will be featured for one month after its release date. Now we can make even more of a movie theater showing at home. With a lot of negativity on our minds this past year, it’s nice to have a few things to look forward to in these uncertain times. So pop some popcorn, get out the candy stash and enjoy the next big feature or beloved series within the comfort and safety of your own home.