If you enjoy witty one-liners, caffeine-fuelled fast talking and whimsical small towns populated by quirky characters, there’s a chance you’re already among the legions of Gilmore Girls fans eagerly anticipating its revival. But if you’re new to the show and are wondering whether the 2016 reboot of the cult 2000s television dramedy is worth adding to your Netflix queue, it’s best to steer clear of spoilers whilst you make up your mind.
The loyal following the show has collected through its seven-season run demonstrates Gilmore Girls is one of those television rarities that tugs at the heartstrings and gets right underneath the viewer’s skin. The public’s demand for a revival, however, can’t be solely blamed on fans’ appreciation of the show. When Gilmore Girls was unexpectedly taken off the air in 2007, the show’s core storylines were truncated and deprived of closure.
For nine years, viewers were left wondering about the fate of their favourite characters. Will Lorelai and Luke get married? Where will Rory’s career take her? What will be on the agenda at Stars Hollow’s next town meeting?
As soon as news of a revival came out, fans were relieved to find out their favourite mother-daughter TV duo were ready for a comeback. Although this is the latest addition to the list of shows resuscitated from the dead, Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life is far from a gimmicky reunion episode. We haven’t been invited back into the lives of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) for a walk down memory lane. There are some real questions to be answered.
To do that, Netflix has gifted viewers with a clever compromise between a film and a regular TV season: four 90-minute episodes (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) – written and produced by Amy Sherman Palladino and Daniel Palladino. A Year In The Life has a straightforward plot; it doesn’t rely on twists and revelations as much as it explores the emotional dynamics between characters.
The four mini-films masterfully blend humour and darkness. The revival, just like the original show, is uplifting and thought-provoking, alternating unmissable yet sophisticated pop-culture references with emotionally-charged dialogues exploring the themes of growth, love, ageing and mortality.
Netflix delivers a product that remains rightfully faithful to the original, with some nip and tucks in all the right places. The show looks reasonably similar – overlooking the inevitable high definition and modern vibe – but sounds comfortingly identical to its 2000s-self when it comes to music, voices and writing.
Gilmore Girls has never enjoyed taking risks in the soundtrack department. When it was originally on the air, Fergie and Shakira were all the rage, yet the show stuck to 80s and 90s tunes from The Bangles and PJ Harvey. This year’s revival is no different, with Sam Phillips’s distinctive la la las serving as a charming bridge between scenes – just like they did in the original show.
The revival’s new-found focus on the story’s core themes of family and generational conflict can only mean one thing: Gilmore Girls is back in the hands of its creator Amy Sherman Palladino, who had left the show in its last TV season following disagreements with the network. The showrunner knows Stars Hollow like the palm of her hand, and she lets it shine through every line of the script. Her presence is just as appreciable in the small details as it is in the wider elements of the narrative.
Due relevance is given to the protagonists’ love lives and careers: Rory’s challenges in transitioning from print journalism to online could be seen as a wink to the show’s own journey from TV to a streaming service. However, fans will be pleased to notice the relationship between the three main women of the show, belonging to three different generations, takes centre stage in the new episodes, adding truthfulness and honesty to the plot.
The return of Gilmore Girls will feel like a warm and invigorating homecoming to fans who had almost lost hope for a revival. It will also swallow newbies into an enchanting universe filled with wit and sweetness.