Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

Lauren Graham as Lorelai and Alexis Bledel as Rory in 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.'
Lauren Graham as Lorelai and Alexis Bledel as Rory in 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.'
Photo: Saeed Adyani/Netflix


4/5 Stars


Set nearly a decade after the finale of the original series, this revival follows Lorelai, Rory and Emily Gilmore through four seasons of change. 


Revivals are always a tough business, there is a lot of expectation by the audience, they have to live up to the legacy of the original series while still telling a new story that will interest the fans.

And it was evident from the first minute that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life went above and beyond in order to tick all the boxes and please every group of fans. 

At its’ core, Gilmore Girls is a story about three generations of women - Emily, Lorelai and Rory - and A Year in the Life picking up eight years after the season seven finale told each of these women’s stories as they struggled with their careers, romances, relationship with each other and dealing with the death of the family patriarch, Richard Gilmore (the actor who played Richard, Edward Herrmann passed away in 2014).

One of the most memorable aspects of the original series (other than the fast talking, incessant coffee drinking and pop culture references) is the town of Stars Hollow. Filled with interesting characters each with their distinct personalities, everyone was back in the revival - from Kirk to Miss Patty to the town troubadour.

What I found even more significant about this was that even after eight years, these actors fitted so comfortably back into their old roles, it felt more like you just popping into Stars Hollow on an odd day. The series managed to bank upon the nostalgia of the viewers, the first of the four episodes ‘Winter’ especially as it literally has Lorelai and Rory walking around the town greeting all the town members reminding us that hey they are back.

The episodes are divided by seasons - Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall - and follows all three women: Emily as she struggles in a post-Richard world, Lorelai as she struggles with Sookie having left the inn and Michel on the way out too, as well as miscommunication with Luke (who has become her life partner over the past eight years), and Rory struggles to find her feet and passion as a journalist, while having an affair with an engaged Logan. It’s all very complicated but it’s told through a charming, endearing lense in a way that only the creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino could. 

The image of Richard Gilmore hangs large over the entire series - literally in a huge portrait that hangs in the Gilmore home - and figuratively in that his death prompts Emily to make questionable and presumably healthier life choices, it forces Lorelai to tackle an issue that was at the forefront of the original series - her animosity towards her parents. A Year in the Life shows excellent character development for both Lorelai and Emily giving us a perfect exploration of how these characters as older women deal with the missteps and challenges of life.

Sadly, Rory did not get the development that the other two received. At the end of season seven of Gilmore Girls, Rory was leaving Stars Hollow on assignment to follow presidential candidate Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Now, in 2016, she is freelancing, has a couple of by-lines from notable publications like The New Yorker, writing a book with an eccentric English woman, being pursued by an online magazine, and trying to get an interview with Conde Nast. But it is pretty evident early on that she is not passionate about any of these assignments and she does not follow through on any of them. This is reminiscent of college-aged Rory who often acted up if she did not want to do something or she was discouraged. In the end (with some prompting by Jess) she decides to write a book about her relationship with her mother, bringing the entire series full circle. Even with her relationships, Rory seems so uncertain about what she wants but has no regards about hurting other people as she tries to figure it out. If anything, there is hope that as she ages Rory will mature as Lorelai did, that’s wishful thinking though. 

A Year in the Life is a gift for the fans, it’s a love letter. Even though I had issues with some aspects of it - the pacing (some sequences were unnecessary and way too long), Rory’s questionable decisions (those last four words), there was not enough Paris Geller - I still felt gratitude and love that they decided to give us the ending that the show deserved. We got closure for Emily and Lorelai, many of the original characters made an appearance, we got to see Lane and Hep Alien play another day, and there were so many Easter eggs for the dedicated fans that it is a worthwhile conclusion for a show that was so beloved. 



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