Is the new series "The Carrie Diaries" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) awfully fascin-
ating or fascinatingly awful?
"Diaries" covers the teen years of Carrie Bradshaw, a character whose explicit newspaper column about her sexual conquests was previously featured on the soft-porny shopaholic HBO comedy "Sex and the City." Turning the story of this sexibitionist into a series for impressionable tweens is almost a sick joke, the kind of wicked parody that might have filled the pages of
"National Lam poon" or "Spy" magazine back when their savage brand of satire still existed -- or mat-
AnnaSophia Robb plays 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw, a Connecticut prep school student still grieving the loss of her mother. The trauma has all but ruined her relationship with her rebellious little sister, Dorrit (Stefania Owen) and has left her solid commuter dad, Tom (Matt Letscher), shell-shocked.
Set in 1984, "Diaries" makes the most of an early MTV soundtrack and fashion statements straight out of a John Hughes comedy. Like "City," this show is driven, if not drowned, by Carrie's insipid voice-overs. But at least this Carrie has her youth to explain the trite nature of her obser-
vations. Sarah Jessica Parker's character had only "City"
creator Darren Star's scripts to blame.
"Diaries" careens from "Sixteen Candles" to "Bright Lights, Big City" when
Carrie's dad arranges for her to intern with a Wall Street law firm once a week. This allows her to run into a fabulous editor for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, who swoops the precocious teen into her stylish entourage. Suddenly, the melodramas of high school corridors seem petty, and Carrie forgets about chasing boys to settle down with the real "man" in her life, a guy named "Manhattan." (And, yes, that dreadful line is lifted from Carrie's voice-over!)
Because "Diaries" is a CW show, the dirty, rundown,
dangerous and pre-gentrified Manhattan is sanitized for the teen audience. The only mention of sex and drugs takes place in Connecticut -- in Dorrit's bedroom. Will Carrie confront subjects like cocaine and AIDS, two scourges that very much defined New York City at this time? We'll just have to see.
Much like a two-headed dog, "Diaries" is a ghastly abomination that has to be seen to be believed. Is it dreadful enough to become an instant cult classic? Or fade away like Lindsay Lohan's "Liz and Dick"?
---The new Canadian import "Continuum" (8 p.m., Syfy, TV-14) stars Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron, a police officer from 2077 who lands in 2012 to pursue eight deadly terrorists who used a time-travel device to escape justice.
The hyper-violent bad guys claim to be fighting for democracy and representative government, while Kiera works for a corporate dictatorship. And, while stranded in the past, she encounters a young hacker who will become the face of cyber-despotism. "Continuum" is a thought-provoking sci-fi shoot-'em-up worth sampling.
---A dancer's fatal step on a two-hour helping of "Bones" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---"Extreme Smuggling" (8 p.m., Discovery, TV-14) profiles
ingenious drug dealers.
---Oliver Stone's "Untold History of the United States" (8 p.m., Showtime, TV-14) concludes with a look at the war on terror under George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
---Director Robert Zemeckis and cinematographer Don Burgess appear on "AFI Master Class" (8 p.m., TCM).
---Truly loses her shop on "Bun heads" (9 p.m., ABC Family, TV-14).
---In a twist, CBS invites online voters to select the culprit on "Hawaii Five-0" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-PG).
---Joanna suspects Edward on "Deception" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---A DJ's death sparks a music industry mystery on "Castle" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
---"Soul Food Junkies" on "Independent Lens" (10 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) looks at an African-American family's complicated re-
lationship with food and diet-related
The 2010 documentary "Lemmy" (9 p.m., VH1 Classic) profiles enduring and eccentric heavy metal guitarist Lemmy Kilmister.
---A test of trivia on "The Big gest Loser" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---Robin demands an old-fashioned gesture on "How I Met Your Mother" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Pranks on "The Bachelor" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
---Penny and Leonard relaunch on "The Big Bang Theory" (8:30 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).
---A rustic nightmare on "2 Broke Girls" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Big changes on "Mike & Molly" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Dennis Quaid, Rob Riggle and Chris Mann appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Piers Morgan sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Charlie Sheen, Phil Simms and Jose James appear on "Late Show With David Letterman" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Nicki Minaj, Billy Connolly and the Saturdays on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Ellen DeGeneres, Sean Lowe and One Republic appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Uma Thurman, Tim Gunn and Bobby Collins visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts Jenna Elfman and Guillermo Del Toro on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.