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REVIEW: Gilmore Girls - A Year In The Life

ReviewLeah Rocke

Gilmore Girls returns this Friday with four movie-length episodes, streaming exclusively on Netflix. The miniseries, titled A Year in the Life, is Netflix’s most recent revival of popular series, following the fourth season of Arrested Development and Fuller House. Debuting in 2000, Gilmore Girls followed the lives of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel).

The titular Gilmore Girls didn’t have a conventional relationship; Lorelai gave birth to Rory at 16, and they were as much best friends as mother and daughter. At the start of the series, Lorelai was estranged from her parents, who came back into her life when she needed a loan for Rory’s education. Gilmore Girls became known for fast dialogue, pop culture references, and the eccentric but lovable characters who populated Lorelai and Rory’s home town, Stars Hollow.

The need for a Gilmore Girls revival isn’t obvious; the show ran for seven seasons and 154 episodes. If you talk to a fan of the show however, they will mention a drop in quality in its final season. Creator and showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino was fired in between seasons six and seven, and this behind-the-scenes drama is cited as the reason season seven wasn’t as good. When A Year in the Life was announced, fans were excited that Amy Sherman-Palladino would finish her story, and right the wrongs of the final season.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life follows Rory, Lorelai and her mother Emily (Kelly Bishop) over four seasons, beginning at Winter and ending in Fall. Written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino, A Year in the Life successfully recreates the tone of the original series. Fans will be happy to see their favourite characters, especially Lorelai’s sometimes love interest Luke (Scott Patterson) and Rory’s frenemy Paris Geller (Liza Weil). Also returning are Stars Hollow residents, including Lane and Sookie, Taylor, Kirk, Miss Patty, Babette and Paul Anka. Absent from the miniseries is Lorelai’s father Richard, following the death of actor Edward Herrmann in 2014. The first episode is a heartfelt tribute to the actor, with a moving funeral scene that briefly brings Lorelai and Emily closer together.

One of the biggest question for fans is who Rory will end up with at the end of the series. Rory’s boyfriends are one of the most debated topics amongst fans, most of whom have strong opinions on the Dean-Rory-Jess love triangle of seasons two and three, as well as whether Logan was a worthy boyfriend. All three characters return for A Year in the Life, so fans will learn the fate of Rory’s romantic interests and continue to argue over who is her best match.

A Year in the Life is at its best when the Gilmore girls share a scene. Rory begins the show travelling between the United States and London with no permanent address, so her interactions with Lorelai are fleeting at best. Emily and Lorelai’s relationship is strained, but they’ve made progress since the beginning of the series, and they want to understand each other.

As television revivals become more common, fans are both excited for their favourite show to return, and fearful that it won’t be the same. The fourth season of Arrested Development received a lukewarm response from critics and fans alike, but Gilmore Girls fans need not worry. A Year in the Life recaptures the magic of the original series, and returning to Stars Hollow is like coming home.