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The debut date: June 6, 1998
The cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon.

Its dialogue seemingly cribbed from “The Rules,” “Men Are From Mars ” and other ’90s relationship psychobabble, “Sex and the City” follows four upscale, attractive women through the sexual subway of contempo Gotham.

Single and in their 30s, each is a distinct blend of guile, guts and needfulness, traipsing through the dating world with predictable and even trite results, their chatter constantly hitting on sex, relationships and sex. Some good acting and some nicely shot romantic interludes provide some redemption for the series, but scripts need to loosen up and inherit some of the playfulness the actresses bring to their roles.

Cattrall, Davis and Nixon inhabit their characters with full-bodied believability, cracking the dating minefield with moral codes that range from “What? Me worry?” to the straight and narrow. Their gabfests, while not necessarily enlightening, bring out the shadings of each woman; collectively they feel lost in their 30s, too established for the carefree twentysomethings and too under-the-radar for the career-obsessed men in their 40s.

Parker’s presence provides a star quality, though she plays directly to the audience with a bit too much regularity. Yet creator Darren Star (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) has given her very precise targets — she beats up on “toxic bachelors” and “modelizers” rather than men in general, and she goes after women as much as she slams men.