Broadcast from until , the original run of the show had a total of 94 episodes. Throughout its six-year run, the show received contributions from various producers, writers, and directors, principally Michael Patrick King. Set and filmed in New York City and based on Candace Bushnell 's book of the same name , the show follows the lives of a group of four women—three in their mid-thirties and one in her forties—who, despite their different natures and ever-changing sex lives, remain inseparable and confide in each other.
Starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw and co-starring Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones , Kristin Davis as Charlotte York , and Cynthia Nixon as Miranda Hobbes , the quirky series had multiple continuing storylines that tackled relevant and modern social issues such as sexuality , safe sex , promiscuity , and femininity , while exploring the difference between friendships and romantic relationships. The deliberate omission of the better part of the early lives of the four women was the writers' way of exploring social life—from sex to relationships—through each of their four very different, individual perspectives.
Sex and the City has received both acclaim and criticism for its subjects and characters, and is credited with helping to increase HBO's popularity as a network. The series placed fifth on Entertainment Weekly 's "New TV Classics" list,  and has been listed as one of the best television series of all time by Time in and TV Guide in The series still airs in syndication worldwide. The show was based in part on writer Candace Bushnell 's book of the same name , compiled from her column at The New York Observer.
Bushnell has said 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, but for privacy reasons, later created the character played in the series by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Carrie Bradshaw was a writer living in New York City. Carrie Bradshaw and Candace Bushnell have the same initials, a flourish emphasizing their connection. Moreover, just as Carrie Bradshaw has articles for the fictional New York Star published as a book in later series, the entire Sex and the City series is based on a compilation of Bushnell's own columns for the New York Observer. According to Parker, "I was flattered but didn't want to do it. He convinced me, begged me to do it, and I signed a contract. I didn't think it worked" and feared it would end her career.
Though Star would not release her, he listened to her concerns and implemented major changes before shooting the first season. Parker said: "The funny thing, after the first episode of season one, I never looked back and the rest is history. I never thought, though, that the show would become what it has become.
Carrie Bradshaw Sarah Jessica Parker is the narrator and main protagonist, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, with each episode structured around her train of thought while writing her weekly column "Sex and the City" for the fictitious paper, the New York Star. Stanford Blatch, a gay talent agent from an aristocratic family played by Willie Garson , is Carrie's best friend outside of the other three women. Carrie is entangled with Mr. Big Chris Noth , a prominent businessman and an aficionado of jazz and cigars whose real name is revealed in the final episode Season 6, Episode 8 to be John James Preston, in a tumultuous, on-and-off-again relationship.
In a running joke, whenever Carrie is about to introduce Mr. Big on-camera to another character, she is interrupted before she can say his name. He is the reason for many of Carrie's breakdowns as he never seems ready to fully commit to her. He is once-divorced by the time the series opens. Carrie and Big break up when he leaves New York for a work secondment to Paris and does not show willingness for Carrie to accompany him nor to continue a long-distance relationship, citing commitment issues.
Carrie is heartbroken and some months later runs into Big at a party in the Hamptons. He is accompanied by his something year-old girlfriend, Natasha, whom he met in Paris. Despite this, Carrie attempts to be friends with Big. However, this goes awry when he tells her that he and Natasha are getting married, something he'd never considered with Carrie. In season 3, Carrie meets and is instantly attracted to up-and-coming Manhattan furniture designer Aidan Shaw John Corbett who becomes her boyfriend.
Aidan is more traditional and patient about relationships than many of Carrie's other love interests, and for a while they are happy together. At a furniture show, the pair run into Natasha and Big, who confides to Carrie that he made a mistake marrying Natasha and wants out. Soon afterward, Big and Carrie begin an affair, which ends only when Natasha catches Carrie at Big's apartment.
Wracked with guilt, Carrie tells Aidan of the affair on the day of Charlotte's wedding to Trey, and Aidan breaks up with her. Carrie realizes she is still in love with Aidan and wins him back. He struggles to trust her, particularly as Mr. Big has gotten divorced from Natasha, and he and Carrie maintain a platonic friendship.
Carrie stands firm on her friendship with Big, even inviting him up to Aidan's cabin after a girl had broken up with him. When Carrie's building goes co-op, Aidan offers to buy her apartment and the one next door so they can move in together.
She agrees and later finds an engagement ring in his gym bag. Aidan later proposes, and Carrie accepts. Aidan is initially patient with Carrie's reluctance to set a wedding date but soon begins to push her, suggesting they get married in Hawaii. Carrie has a panic attack whilst trying on wedding dresses with Miranda, and again when Aidan is knocking down the wall between her apartment and the one next door. She confesses to Aidan that she's not ready and needs more time. He agrees to slow things down but, at a Black and White ball not long afterward, he pressures her to commit, making it clear that he still doesn't trust she's over Big.
Carrie cannot commit, and they break up soon afterward. The famous artist Aleksandr Petrovsky Mikhail Baryshnikov becomes Carrie's lover in the final season. Despite their age difference, he sweeps her off her feet with huge romantic gestures and shows her foreign pockets of New York she has never seen before.
Carrie also makes plans to move to Paris with Aleksandr for his work. The rest of the women are not keen on Aleksandr, particularly Miranda, who feels that he is controlling and that Carrie is different around him. On the night before Carrie leaves, Mr. Big turns up at her home. The two argue in the street with Carrie accusing him of turning up whenever she's happy to ruin things for her.
She tells him to leave her alone. When Carrie arrives in Paris, she finds Aleksandr frequently absent with work on his art show. She is left to wander the streets of Paris alone day after day and begins to regret her decision.
She confides in Miranda during a phone conversation that she is lonely and that Aleks is neglecting her. Meanwhile, back in New York, Charlotte hears a message Mr. Big leaves Carrie on her answering machine admitting that he loves her. Charlotte invites Big to the coffee shop where he enlists the help of Carrie's friends, asking if they think he has a chance.
Miranda, armed with the information from Carrie, simply says, "Go get our girl", and Big goes to Paris to win her back. Carrie, having once again been abandoned by Aleksandr having given up the opportunity to go to a party with some new friends to accompany him to a preview of his show , has it out with him in their hotel room. Aleksandr smacks Carrie in the face and breaks her diamond necklace. As Carrie is in the lobby, trying to obtain a room for the night, Big walks in.
They see each other, he tells her she's "the one" something she's been waiting for their entire relationship , and he takes her home to New York.
Charlotte York Kristin Davis has had a conventional, privileged Episcopalian Connecticut upbringing and works in an art gallery. Charlotte is a classic over-achiever and perfectionist: a "straight A" student who attended Smith College , where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma note that there are no sororities at the real Smith College majoring in art history with a minor in finance.
During the series, it is also revealed that Charlotte was voted homecoming queen, prom queen, "most popular", student body president, and track team captain, in addition to being an active cheerleader and teen model. She is the antithesis of Samantha: optimistic, hopelessly romantic, and a believer in true love and soul mates. She places the most emphasis on emotional love as opposed to lust.
From the beginning, Charlotte is searching for her " knight in shining armor ", and nothing shakes her belief of finding "the one", getting married, and starting a family.
All her dating activity during the show is in pursuit of a long-term, monogamous boyfriend with a view to marriage. As such, she typically dates men of "pedigree" and money bankers, doctors, lawyers, etc. Charlotte can be a dark horse, and we learn that she once had a dalliance with an Orthodox Jewish artist, she dressed in drag for a portrait, and she allowed an artist to paint a picture of her vulva.
She can be an "East Side Princess" sometimes, and she and Samantha occasionally come to blows over their differing opinions about love and sex. In season 3, Charlotte decides she will be married that year and sets about canvassing her married friends to set her up on dates.
One married friend usurps her blind date to try and start an affair with her. Horrified, she dashes into the street and trips in front of a taxi, carrying Trey MacDougal Kyle MacLachlan , an attractive, old-money, Scottish-American cardiologist with pedigree, a Park Avenue apartment and country estate in Connecticut. They fall in love at first sight, and he appears to be everything she has always wanted.
Things move quickly and Charlotte, convinced he is the one, suggests they marry. He agrees, and they are married very shortly afterward with the help of wedding planner Anthony Marentino; a gay Sicilian who is as forceful as Charlotte is timid.
Wishing to "do things the right way", Charlotte has withheld having sex with Trey, hoping for a romantic and traditional wedding night. On the evening before the big day, she gets drunk with the other women and goes to Trey for sex. Unfortunately, it does not go well; Trey reveals he suffers from impotence.
While concerned, Charlotte presses ahead with the wedding, although she confides in Carrie just before walking down the aisle. As the marriage begins things do not get any better in their intimate relationship, and Trey refuses to address matters either physically or psychologically, resisting their marriage counselor's advice.
Matters are not helped by Trey's overbearing mother Bunny Frances Sternhagen , a manipulative sort who intrudes on Trey and Charlotte's relationship and apartment on a regular basis. Not long into the marriage, on a weekend trip to the MacDougal country estate, Charlotte is caught in a clinch with the hunky gardener and this seals the fate of her marriage to Trey. Trey and Charlotte separate, and she moves back into her old apartment. While separated, Charlotte and Trey mend their sexual relationship and get back together.
All seems to be well, and Charlotte resumes living with Trey. To mark a new beginning and letting go of Bunny's control, she redecorates the apartment, and the couple decides to create a baby room and try for a baby. Having no luck, Charlotte seeks fertility treatment and is told she has a very low chance of becoming pregnant.
Seeking other options, she begins hormone injections and looks into adopting a Chinese baby girl. A combination of these factors once again ignites old tensions with Trey and Bunny, culminating in Trey's deciding he no longer wants a family. This blow to her hopes and dreams proves too much for Charlotte, and she finishes the marriage once and for all.