‘Gossip Girl’ review: The HBO Max reboot gives ’em something to talk about, but almost none of it’s good

Rather, the program returns by means of HBO Max, in another reboot that makes the case that not all copyright is worthy of a 2nd possibility. Misdirected on numerous levels, this “Girl” offers ’em something to discuss, very little of it excellent.

Upgrading the teen-oriented CW drama that ranged from 2007 to 2012 may make good sense at very first blush, with a more varied cast and racier streaming requirements. However the wrinkles conjured under showrunner Joshua Safran, a writer-producer on the initial, are filled with mistakes, while much of the cast feels notably unconvincing as “teens,” no little accomplishment in a category where that’s prevailed practice going back to “Grease.”

The fundamental property establishes not simply competitions amongst the fortunate kids at the New york city prep school, however stress in between them and their instructors, bossed around by trust-fund tykes positive they will not suffer any consequences as long as their moms and dads’ checks clear.

“We own this school,” one of the cool kids sneers. “They work for us.”

A major source of intramural tension, meanwhile, involves the arrival of a new first-year scholarship student (she’s supposed to be 14) named Zoya (Whitney Peak), triggering a haughty response from members of the reigning class, with Julien (Jordan Alexander) as the glamorous queen bee of the group.

The twist in “Gossip Girl’s” identity shouldn’t be spoiled, but like several of the show’s big flourishes, it’s ill-conceived and off-putting. The same goes for a subplot involving a student (Thomas Doherty from Disney Channel’s “Descendants” franchise) aggressively pursuing an adult teacher sexually, a scenario that mirrors HBO Max’s “Genera+ion,” proving that while there might not be any new ideas there are always plenty of bad ones.

Beyond the kids the series assembles several good actors as their parents (Luke Kirby, Laura Benanti and John Benjamin Hickey among them), but they’re still portrayed with roughly the same depth as the incomprehensible grownups in old Charlie Brown cartoons.

Admittedly, this appraisal doesn’t come from a committed fan of the first “Girl,” but once you get past the title and narration (again provided by Kristen Bell), nods to the maturation of social media and other contemporary touches don’t offer enough of a reset upon which to hang a bejeweled hat.

Of course, the cynical reason for calling the show “Gossip Girl” is that the name recognition offers a significant advantage over, say, “Generic Teen Prep School Soap.”

Mission accomplished on that score. Yet even allowing for that the series demonstrates a lesson its rich brats need to hear — namely, simply because you can does not always indicate that you should.

“The only thing that makes a story interesting is how it’s told,” Chatter Lady composes at one point. And in some cases, not even that.

“Gossip Girl” premieres July 8 on HBO Max, which, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.