Gossip Girl: See the cast, dates, episodes and watch the trailer

By Bianca Coleman14 December 2021

Gossip Girl: See the cast, dates, episodes and watch the trailer

Hello followers, Gossip Girl here. Spotted, a new season of my hit series on Showmax. 

For six seasons, from 2007 to 2017, fans were glued to their screens for each scintillating episode of this eponymous series. At its heart were BFF (best frenemies forever) Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen, played by Leighton Meester and Blake Lively respectively. They were rich, spoiled and unbelievably privileged – as were their friends and family – but this didn’t mean lives free of scandal and secrets. Oh no. And it was the mysterious, unidentified Gossip Girl who kept the Upper East Siders appraised of every juicy morsel, signing off each bulletin with her trademark “XOXO”.

Unsurprisingly, Gossip Girl featured prominently in the Teen Choice Awards during its run, winning categories such as best drama, best actress, best female scene stealer for Hilary Duff in 2010 (as recurring character Olivia Burke in Season 3), and even a throwback award in 2018. If Gossip Girl didn’t win, it was most certainly nominated repeatedly over the years.. 

By the end of Season 6, after oh so many red herrings, Gossip Girl’s identity was finally revealed – and it was a massive shock to viewers as well as readers of the books by Cecily von Ziegesar upon which the series is based. Even if you’re new to this, you would have had to be under a rock not to have heard somewhere along the line who it was, but if not, the actor said: “”I was very surprised. We were all surprised. I didn’t know. I didn’t find out until just before we shot the last episode.”

Way back then, we’re talking Season 1, IGN said: “Within the span of a few minutes we learn that Serena has a dark secret, a dad in jail, and a brother in the hospital. It’s a bit much of course, but it’s also very soapy, and this is certainly a well-made example of this type of show. It helps that the cast are very appealing (and of course attractive). Lively and Badgley are both very engaging.”

What’s that? You noticed the name “Badgley”? Yes, the very same Penn Badgely who portrays stalker Joe in YOU…

Fast forward seven years and we have the 2021 reboot of Gossip Girl, although it’s more of a companion piece than a remake. It’s a similar landscape, in that it centres on the students at Manhattan private schools Constance Billard & St. Jude’s. Like their predecessors, they are ridiculously wealthy, flawlessly beautiful (physically, anyway), and ruthless bullies. When their teachers decide they’ve had enough of being picked on, humiliated and insulted, they, as a group, decide to teach the teens a lesson by resurrecting Gossip Girl as a social experiment with the lofty goal of showing these kids how toxic they are, and the intention of helping them become better adults.

In this milieu, the Queen Bee is Julian Calloway (Jordan Alexander) who is an Instagram influencer, and everyone else revolves around her. As the season unfolds, other characters get their chance to shine too, all the while at the mercy of “Gossip Girl”, who takes no prisoners.

Gossip Girl 2021: Who’s who in the main cast

Gossip Girl 2021 on Showmax
Cast, from left: Aki (Evan Mock), Max (Thomas Doherty), Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), Obie (Eli Brown), Jules (Jordan Alexander), Monet (Savannah Lee Smith), Luna (Zión Moreno)

Julien, Jules, JC (Jordan Alexander) and her apparently fabulous – to the untrained eye – life is the IT girl. She’s an Instagram (the primary social media platform in this series) influencer who is showered with expensive clothing, makeup and accessories, although she could easily afford to buy them herself.

She has a maternal half sister, Zoya – or Zee – played by Whitney Peak. Unbeknownst to their respective fathers, who are sworn enemies, they’ve been maintaining a relationship, which results in a bit of manipulation to get Zoya (who is decidedly not rich, and the tender age of 14; Gossip Girl takes to calling her “Little Z”, in a throwback to “Little J” from the OG) into Constance on a scholarship.

Zoya (Whitney Peak)

Then it’s up to Jules to introduce her to her friends Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), and the duo, transgender Luna (although it seems unnecessary to give her this label), and Monet (Zión Moreno, and Savannah Lee Smith) who are simultaneously Jules’s stylists, advisors, managers, agents and social media experts. 

At the outset, Jules’s boyfriend is Obie/Otto Bergmann (Eli Brown), the richest boy of all. He’s a wannabe social activist, somewhat uncomfortable with his wealth, and mostly bewildered at all the girls’ obsession with Insta-fame and weary of their drama.

Obie’s best friend is Aki/Akeno Menzies (Evan Mock), Audrey’s boyfriend. He likes men too, but he’s still not sure where he falls in the alphabet. He especially likes Max Wolfe (Thomas Doherty), who is the ultimate wild child, all about wanton sex and drugs. He has two dads, who also experience their own personal troubles. Aki’s girlfriend, Audrey, likes Max too, and the burgeoning emotions in this triangle are ultimately the most sympathetic, and the trio the most likeable, in the series.

Also critical to the unfolding plot are Jules’s father, Davis Calloway (Luke Kirby), whose past comes back to haunt him #metoo, and teacher Rafa Caparros (Jason Gotay), a slimy sexual predator who employs as much emotional manipulation and game-playing as the teens. Speaking of teachers, the one leading the Gossip Girl resurgence is Kate Keller (Tavi Gevinson), who is dismayed at the results of her unorthodox teachable moments, and her sidekick and spurned love interest, Jordan Glassberg (Adam Chanler-Berat).

Kristen Bell reprises the voice of Gossip Girl, and there are some small appearances by older members of the OG cast.

Gossip Girl 2021 release date

While Gossip Girl 2007-2017 portrayed teens behaving badly, from promiscuous sex and questionable morals, to drugs and alcohol (but never cigarettes), 2021 sees a much more diverse group, including persons of colour and LGBTQ representation, and it tackles the issues that affect teens today, which are not all positive.

The season premiered on HBO Max on 8 July 2021 and broke the record for the most-watched HBO Max original series over its launch weekend, a validation of its movement with the times. The first season consisted of 12 episodes, split into two six-episode parts, with the second half debuting on 25 November 2021. Showmax received all episodes to stream and binge on 3 December 2021, backed up by the full box set of the original series.

In September 2021, the new Gossip Girl was renewed for a second season.

Watch the trailer

The trailer is undeniably sexy, moody and intriguing, and the backing song is perfect: Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean. This is not coincidental or incidental; the music was important the first time around, and it still is. “One aspect in which the show stays the same is just how high-priority its soundtrack is,” says Variety.

We get a taste of some of the melodrama that will emerge between the characters, especially Julien and Zoya, who will ricochet between love and hate throughout – either “it’s over forever, we are nothing” to “you’re my sister and I’ll always stand by you” with not much grey area in between.

In true teaser style, however, there are some side bits in the trailer that while not central to the story, do provide some context for the characters … like Max and the ballerina.

List of episodes 

All 12 episodes are available to stream on Showmax.

  • Just Another Girl on the MTA
  • She’s Having a Maybe
  • Lies Wide Shut
  • Fire Walks with Z
  • Hope Sinks
  • Parentsite
  • Once Upon a Time in the Upper West
  • Posts on a Scandal
  • Blackberry Narcissus
  • Final Cancellation
  • You Can’t Take It with Jules
  • Gossip Gone, Girl

The writers have done an outstanding job with the episode titles, many of them a play on well-known phrases, and each one hinting at what the episode will contain. It’s all the more impressive with such a large team, and no two episodes scripted by the same person.

Once Upon A Time In The Upper West is significant as it is the Thanksgiving episode (which aired on the actual day on HBO Max, 25 November), a tradition that was set in the original series. Taking place in Zoya and her dad’s apartment on the not so posh side of town, it still manages to pull off a lavish feast to which everyone contrives to arrive, announced or not. It’s less about the food, and all about the conflicts, secrets and lies that all explode around the table.

Where to watch Gossip Girl 2021 in South Africa

Showmax is the only streaming platform in South Africa where you can catch all the Gossip Girl episodes, from Season 1 right up to today (the original six seasons are available to stream on Showmax until March 2022). It’s not strictly necessary to watch the older seasons but they will certainly provide a useful background for the new version, and you will be privy to an delicious basket of Easter eggs.

Other HBO Max series to stream on Showmax include Friends: The Reunion; The Flight Attendant starring Haley Cuoco, which had multiple Emmy nominations for its first season, with a second scheduled for US spring 2022; Raised By Wolves, executive produced by Ridley Scott; Hacks, starring Emmy winner Jean Smart, also with a second season on the way; and both seasons of the anthology series Love Life.

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