The Gilmore Girls are back!
The world was finally invited back to the charming town of Stars Hollow yesterday as we marked the premiere of Netflix’s latest revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the follow-up to the WB Network’s quirky dramedy that aired from 2000-2007. It has been nearly a decade since the original series went off the air with a less-than-stellar seventh season that left fans wondering about those “final four words” that were never spoken. Now the series has made its triumphant return, fans are thrilled to return to the little TV town that feels like home. And with the series’ original creator back at the helm, hopefully we can find a little bit of closure as well.
Out of courtesy to those who haven’t finished watching A Year in the Life, I have done my best to avoid spoilers in this review. If you’re allergic to absolutely anything even resembling information that may spoil the series for you, you might wait to read this until after you have finished watching! You should also tread with caution in comment sections or other areas of the site!
END OF SPOILER NOTES!
Unlike most television revivals, A Year in the Life perhaps had more excitement surrounding its initial announcement than any other. Fans had been prodding creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and the cast about a reunion since practically the moment Gilmore Girls went off the air. Many fans thought it could never happen with the cast and crew so scattered in the time that had passed. But almost as if the stars themselves had aligned, Palladino managed to make it all happen. Sadly, the only missing piece of the puzzle is Edward Herrmann, who played patriarch Richard Gilmore and who passed away in 2014. In a loving tribute, the new miniseries largely features and sometimes even centers on Richard’s passing and the large impact he had on this world.
A Year in the Life is comprised of four 90-minute miniature Gilmore Girls movies set in a different season. The miniseries follows the mother-daughter pairing of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) the year following Richard’s passing. Rory, who has fallen into a career rut, returns to Stars Hollow with a forgettable boyfriend in tow. Meanwhile, Lorelai is living with her now-boyfriend Luke (Scott Patterson) and recovering from an explosive fight with her mother Emily (Kelly Bishop) after the funeral. Emily herself is now coping with her new reality as a widow while Luke starts really learning what it’s like to be part of the Gilmore gang. A lot of heartwarming hilarity and gut-wrenching drama ensues. And I think that I speak for most viewers when I say that, by the time we got to those mythic “final four words,” we were all left with our jaws hanging open!
Aside from the excellent writing, A Year in the Life is arguably most successful at making it seem as though the original series had never stopped. The rebuilt sets look like they had never been torn down and the entire cast slip back into their iconic roles as if they had never quit portraying them. Keeping up with Lorelai and Rory’s trademark fast-paced banter as they stroll through Stars Hollow’s town square is a breath of fresh air that’s been missing from our screens for years. The rest of the cast is still on point as well — even bit players like Babette (Sally Struthers) and Miss Patty (Liz Torres) get their moments to shine! How Palladino brought all of these busy people together again is a mystery, but the fact that she did is a real testament to the world she’s built. Even the people who worked on the show loved it as much as the fans did!
Was anyone else completely in love with anything having to do with Stars Hollow: The Musical? As a fan of her Doctor Who character, I can’t help but love Alex Kingston’s new character of Naomi Shropshire. And the Life & Death Brigade’s extravagant entrance was extremely well-done. All the way down to the choreographed dance numbers! And although some of the original series’ guest stars felt a little shoehorned in (we probably could have done without Jason Stiles or April Nardini…), I’m still extremely grateful that everyone who really mattered was able to at least make a cameo. The most meaningful cameo arguably came from Melissa McCarthy. The actress, whose Hollywood stardom has exploded since the end of Gilmore Girls, returned only for one scene in the revival’s final installment as Sookie St. James, the Dragonfly Inn’s chef and Lorelai’s best friend. The cameo was short but sweet, providing the series with her signature comedic timing as well as a heartfelt chat with her BFF leading into the show’s final moments.
That Ending Though…
Well, all I can really say without spoiling anything is “WHAT?!?!!”
Without a doubt, fans that have finished A Year in the Life are already mobilizing to petition Netflix and Palladino for more. That can’t be how they leave us, right?! It’s practically begging for more to be written! According to Palladino, this has been how she envisioned wrapping up the original series before she and her husband left prior to the seventh season. Perhaps this actually is the most natural place for us to say goodbye to Stars Hollow after all?
It could be. However, don’t completely rule out the possibility that we could see even more of our favorite girls in the future! Palladino recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “We really had a very specific journey in our minds and we fulfilled the journey. So to us, this is the piece that we wanted to do. And the whole thought about, is there more, is there more, is there more — this has to go out into the universe now. We’ve got to put this to bed. And then whatever happens, happens.”
The ending does make a lot of sense for longtime Gilmore fans. But all things considered, I’d still rather see them do even more. Maybe once a year? And seeing how much interest and publicity A Year in the Life has generated for Netflix, you would think it would behoove them to immediately order more!
At this point though, all we can do is hope. As well as pour another cup of coffee and watch it all over again!
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is available to stream exclusively on Netflix! You can also catch all seven seasons of the original Gilmore Girls there as well!
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