MCTV 2021: Darren Star talks about decades of iconic TV series like Sex and the City, Beverly Hills 90210 and Emily in Paris.
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Daren, how do you feel when you witness the public’s reaction to your works?
I’ve been lucky that when I travel, I see that all over the world. Someone in Morocco or Russia would be talking about an American show, written for an American audience, that transcends place and geographical barriers.
And how do you always make a successful TV formula?
I like to do shows about things I can relate to and personally like. These are experiences that I can understand their feelings and reactions. And there’s a sense of family that is created in these families within each series, a common thread that has led to the success of a Darren Star show.
From all your TV shows, which character would you like to have as a friend?
When I write a character, I fall in love with each one. Even the ones that aren’t so kind because they all have a story and a reason for being the way they are. I have a love for all the characters I write.
And how much was it challenging to make some of your characters come to life?
A lot, for instance, Beverly Hills 90210 was about telling real stories of teenagers and fighting with the network to show the reality of the generation and to limit censorship. Network TV was behind the culture so luckily with Sex and the City on HBO cable we had more liberty to move forward and be daring.
Why is it the right time to talk about Sex and the City again? And how much are you involved in the project?
I am not very involved as I am filming Emily in Paris Season 2. But the love for Sex and the City is that the actors will revisit these iconic characters and makes us live the experience all over again. It’s quite a compliment that the series has endured. The actors have the desire to do it, and it’s nice to finally see where are they at this point in their lives and how it is mirroring the spectators’ lives.
Tell us more about your idea before Emily in Paris was aired.
Emily was about an ex-pat in Paris and a character who is a clueless American that would face the most challenges. The first season is the beginning, it’s a journey, she has to learn and be affected by the culture eventually. And that’s something that is relevant to many ex-pats. We also have to remember the number of people in the US who have never travelled abroad, so the idea of bringing Paris to an American audience is something special to give them a taste of Paris. And there’s always a space for humour.
Darren, and what about the critics of the show labelling it as “too cliché”?
I feel like it was taken too seriously and that the show was making fun on both sides, American and French. But in the end, I do work for the audience, and by being the number one series on Netflix in 2020, this shows that the viewers liked and understood the concept.