"Sex and the City" is an American cable television series. The original run of the show was broadcast on HBO from 1998 until 2004, for a total of ninety four episodes.
Set in New York City, the show focused on four white American women, three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties. The quirky series had multiple continuing story lines and tackled socially relevant issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, safe sex, and promiscuity. It specifically examined the lives of big-city professional women in the late 1990s/early 2000s and how changing roles and expectations for women affected the characters.
The show was primarily filmed at New York City's Silvercup Studios and on location in and around Manhattan. Since it ended, the show has been aired in syndication on networks such as TBS, WGN, and many other local stations. However, basic cable outlets at local stations excise certain explicit show content that was broadcast in the original version.
The show was based in part on writer Candace Bushnell's book of the same name, compiled from her column with the New York Observer. Bushnell has stated in several interviews that the Carrie Bradshaw in her columns is her alter ego; when she wrote the "Sex and the City" essays, she used her own name initially; for privacy reasons, however, she created the character of Carrie Bradshaw, a promiscuous woman who was also working as a writer and living in New York City. Carrie also has the same initials, a flourish emphasizing her connection with Bushnell.
Darren Star, the show's creator, paid $50,000 to Bushnell for "lock, stock, and barrel" rights to her columns, according to fellow author Toby Young. The show "bears only a passing resemblance to its source material"; the columns were "darker and more cynical" than the "gentler" series that Star produced. Star wanted to create a show that expressed true adult comedy, lesbianism and sex in an up-front way.
The narrative of the show focuses on Carrie Bradshaw and her three best friends, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones. The women discuss their sexual desires and fantasies, and their travels in life, love and lesbianism. The show often depicts frank discussions about romance and sexuality, features a short montage of interviews of people living in New York City regarding topics discussed in that episode. These continue through season two but are eventually phased out.
Another feature that would eventually be scrapped is Carrie breaking the fourth wall (for example, looking into the camera and speaking to the audience directly in an aside). Bradshaw would question scenarios and ideas, asking the audience for an opinion or insight on different situations. The pilot also has the characters of Miranda and Charlotte as well as a few minor characters speaking directly to the camera/audience. The last such event by Carrie occurs in episode three of the second season, "The Freak Show".
The method of expressing inner monologues is shifted exclusively to voiceovers by Carrie in future episodes. Her main narration usually revolves around the premise of that week's "column," where she often sums up her thoughts with, "I couldn't help but wonder..." As she says that, her computer monitor is shown while she is typing the text of her voiceover.