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Fourth season debuts Sunday night

'Sex and the City,' and turning the big 3-5


(CNN) -- Many women say "Sex and the City" strikes a chord they don't find on network TV.

The HBO show is the epitome of female fantasy -- at least, of the sitcom variety. Here are four girlfriends who have successful careers in New York, engage in lots of sex while never really settling down, trade whip-smart lines over dinner at chic restaurants while wearing the coolest clothes and Manolo Blahnik shoes ... with their hair falling just so.

It's a world in which women are likened to horses that run free, and for comedic purposes a Cosmopolitan hangover gets splashed over the pages of a magazine.

Oh, to be young and living in the city.

Well, not that young. The fourth season of "Sex and the City," which starts Sunday with two 30-minute episodes, will see sex-column writer Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) turn 35. The clock is ticking, as they say. Will Carrie settle down? And will it be with Big, her on-again, off-again flame?

'A landmark age'

At the Wednesday night premiere of the new season, Parker talked with CNN "Showbiz Today Reports" correspondent Bill Tush and offered hints about the ramifications of her character's 35th birthday.

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"(It's) a landmark age for women," Parker said. "It makes her think about choices she makes and what she doesn't want to repeat. ... She ignites an old flame."

And what about Carrie's best friends? There's the innocently sexy and newly married Charlotte (Kristin Davis); the smart-aleck vixen Miranda (Cynthia Nixon); and the woman you'd never bring home to Mom, Samantha (Kim Cattrall).

The actresses didn't reveal too much at the premiere. In other words, watch the show.

Cattrall did offer a tease: "You're going to see them go a little deeper," she told Tush. "You're going to see her from the inside out, instead of the outside in."

The fourth season of "Sex and the City" premieres Sunday with two 30-minute episodes  

You mean, there will be less sex play and more chitchat?

"I don't have to tell you," Cattrall said.

Seems the "Sex" is following its HBO counterpart "The Sopranos" with hush-hush plotlines.

New realms

HBO is hoping to maintain its audience for "Sopranos" the mob drama that just ended its third season. "Sex and the City" is to air in the same time slot -- 9 p.m. -- and is to be followed a the new off-kilter drama, "Six Feet Under," from Alan Ball, the writer of "American Beauty."

While that show has yet to prove itself to viewers, "Sex and the City" has been lauded for taking the sitcom to new realms of mature content. Past shows have featured frank views of that magical subject in the title.

When sex isn't onscreen, the banter is quick and honest.

The season runs through the summer. And HBO recently announced a mini-season of episodes for the winter -- meaning fans of the show will be getting plenty of "Sex."

HBO and CNN are sister companies of AOL Time Warner.

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