Picks and Pans Review: Sex and the City

updated 01/12/2004 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/12/2004 01:00AM

COMEDY

HBO (Sundays, 9 p.m. ET)

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In autumn New Yorkers treat every nice day as if it could be their last," Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) muses. Yes, the days dwindle down to a precious few for this enjoyable series, which returns Jan. 4 for a final, eight-week run that begins with the characters in a fall frame of mind. After six seasons of searching for the perfect relationship, the perfect orgasm, the perfect fashion accessory, Carrie and friends seem ready to hold on to some things that are pretty darn good.

Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is back with Steve (David Eigenberg), the amiable, Average Joe father of her baby. "I don't want to be so moody—this is fun," she says. Hallelujah. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) has rebounded from her miscarriage and enjoys the warm support of husband Harry (Evan Handler). And Samantha (Kim Cattrall) gains a new appreciation for loyal boy toy Smith (Jason Lewis) after backsliding with lecherous ex-flame Richard (James Remar). She gets some bad medical news, but her spirit appears healthy.

Much as we want all the girlfriends to consolidate their romantic gains, the biggest reason to catch Sex's swan song is to see how Carrie makes out with dashing, fifty-something artist Aleksandr Petrovsky, played by Mikhail Baryshnikov. The dance great seems slightly amused to be acting on this show—an attitude that's just right for the character. Though his ego is clearly well-developed, Petrovsky is so taken with Carrie that he's willing to see himself as she does and smile. He has a flaw or two—too old—world, maybe too old—but Carrie could be called too picky. Maybe fall is the time to embrace imperfection.

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