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The Totally Logical Reason Sarah Michelle Gellar Is 'Grateful' Cruel Intention's TV Reboot Never Happened

Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) propositioning Sebastian in Cruel Intentions
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

The Cruel Intentions TV pilot has become a mythical thing since it was shelved in 2016. Only some footage from the failed pilot has found its way online. Of course, the key draw was Cruel Intentions alum, Sarah Michelle Gellar, reprising her role of Kathryn Merteuil, the only original cast member to do so. It's perhaps that factor which saved the TV pilot from ending up in the pile of forgotten revivals. Yet, it now appears Gellar was relieved the pilot never made it to series.

When the revival was announced, fans were on either side of the fence as viewers didn’t know what to expect from the series. Due to its high-profile, oft-discussed nature, there were talks of the pilot being shopped around after NBC passed on it before Cruel Intentions was declared dead in the water. Years later, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer star said she felt as if she and the movie's OG fans dodged a bullet. Deadline reported Gellar felt like the proposed reboot didn’t live up to the sexy wasp vibe of the original film.

That was a whole crazy time, Nothing against NBC, but Cruel Intentions is straight streaming. On the first day, I was like, ‘This isn’t working.’ It’s just not a network show. And if it is a network show, it’s not my Cruel Intentions. So, I was actually grateful.

It seemed like Gellar was intrigued by the script, but once she got on set, the scenes and dialogue didn’t translate to what was allowable on network television. She felt the sexual nature and hot-topic subjects of the original film were better suited for streaming where dialogue and scenes wouldn’t be restricted by network standards. Honestly, even cable might’ve been a better fit for the salacious subject matter, as that's where shows like Euphoria have gotten their start. 

Given how domineering, vindictive, and over-sexed Kathryn Merteuil was, being on network television restricted her from being her full self, according to the Buffy star. That would’ve been detrimental to her and Cruel Intentions’ legacy. Network TV just wasn't it.  

While Gellar was the only OG star to appear in the pilot, the connection between the new and original cast came full circle recently. OG Annette Hargrove Reese Witherspoon finally met her TV son as Where the Crawdads Sing leading man Taylor John Smith revealed he played played Annette and Sebastian Valmont’s love child, Bash Casey. Because Witherspoon didn’t reprise her role in the show, the Where the Crawdads Sing producer didn’t realize the connection until Smith brought it up during an interview. At least, they finally got to connect by doing the romantic drama together.

Gellar is making her small screen comeback after taking an acting break following her Crazy Ones co-star Robin Williams’ death. The Buffy alum will play investigative detective Kristin Ramsey in the Teen Wolf spinoff Wolf Pack, which is a far cry from the sex-crazed and money-hungry Kathryn. The sequel series will premiere in late 2022, and unlike Cruel Intentions, it's heading straight to streaming.  

If you want to see Sarah Michelle Gellar’s TV return, just get a Paramount+ subscription. In the meantime, you can watch the original Cruel Intentions by renting/buying it through an Amazon Prime Video subscription.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).