One of the most beloved shows of the 2000s comes to life after 10 years off the air with Netflix’s four-part revival “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” available to stream on Friday.
Since it went off the air in 2007, “Gilmore Girls” reached cult status with a combination of the WB-turned-CW show’s original fans yearning for more and new fans who discovered it later and binged their way through the seven seasons. I admit, I belong to the latter group. There’s no telling how big that combined audience is now. Even if it isn’t that big, bringing the show back could’ve only been made possible by a company like Netflix. It doesn’t need high ratings — it just needs new subscribers.
That said, fans of the show are going to be delighted with this new revival. It’s constructed to do just that. And everyone seems to have made their way back, even if for one scene, including the cast members who have gone on to stellar careers: Movie star Melissa McCarthy reprises her role as Lorelai’s best friend, Sookie St. James; “This Is Us” star Milo Ventimiglia is back as Luke’s nephew and Rory’s ex, Jess; “The Good Wife” star Matt Czuchry reprises his role as Rory’s college boyfriend, Logan; and “How to Get Away With Murder’s” Liza Weil returns as Rory’s alpha-female frenemy, Paris.
Not to mention, there’s a host of cameos by some pretty big stars, which Netflix has made me and other critics promise not to reveal.
Split into four 90-minute-ish episodes named after the four seasons, “A Year in the Life” brings Rory (Alexis Bledel) back to small, quirky Stars Hollow and reunites her with mum/best friend Lorelai (Lauren Graham) within seconds. That first hour of the show feels like a trippy fan dream as the two run around Stars Hollow and get reacquainted with the eccentric townsfolk who never left.
As the title suggests, this show has always really been about the Gilmore family girls and the ways that life brings them together and pulls them apart.
In these new chapters, we see them once again in different stages of their lives. The funny thing is all three — yes, don’t forget the force that is Lorelai’s mother, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) — are struggling with romantic and career questions that are very specific to where they are in their lives.
There is also a tear-inducing flashback to an even that affects all of them: the death of patriarch Robert Gilmore. The actor who played him, Edward Herrmann, died of brain cancer in 2014.
Possibly the biggest problem with the miniseries is that there’s very little story for pretty much the first episode. Things pick up going into episode two. But again, fans just want to see their favourite characters again and probably won’t care about an extended tour of the show’s world for an episode. It’s the same reason there’s a call for a new “Sex and the City” movie — even if the past ones are pretty awful.
The true joy for fans will be creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s return after leaving the show ahead of its final season. After all, it’s her world and rapid dialogue that we fell in love with. She splits the the writing/directing of the miniseries with her producing partner and husband, Daniel Palladino, but she gets to start and finish the tale with “Winter” (episode one) and “Fall” (episode four) — as it should be.
And finally, fans will find out the last four words Amy Sherman-Palladino had always planned for the “Gilmore Girls” series finale and never got to use. We’re interested to see if they live up to the fandom’s built-up expectations. I suspect there will be some displeasure over it.
Watch the trailer below:
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