by Chris Harnick | Wed., Nov. 16, 2016 7:00 AM
Where Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life leads, fans will follow—and they won't be disappointed. The journey the Netflix revival takes Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham), Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) and Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) on is one of self-discovery, with happy and sad moments and enough nostalgia to satisfy any hardcore Gilmore Girls fan. There's fan-service galore, but A Year in the Life doesn't just feel like a victory lap like some revivals, there's closure and character development—more than viewers got in the show's seven-year run. Yes, the Gilmore girls finally grow up.
Each installment—"Winter," "Spring," "Summer" and "Fall"—have their own vibe. Once viewers experience the new 90-minute format with "Winter," it's easy to get back into the Gilmore Girls rhythm. Center to the story is the death of Richard Gilmore (Edward Herrmann). His presence is felt in each episode in different ways for each of the three Gilmores. Would a Gilmore Girls revival make sense without telling the story of loss, grief and self-discovery? Probably not.
The loss spurs the Gilmore women in different and exciting directions. But of course there's the familiar. Rory and Lorelai are still the way you remember them.
Lorelai and Emily's relationship is still in tact, yet fractured. In fact, Graham and Bishop are at the top of their games and slip back into their roles so easily, you can't tell it's been nearly 10 years since the show ended its original run. Bishop and Graham shoulder the meaty emotional arcs of the series with ease. Dear TV Academy voters—please finally take note of Gilmore Girls.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is jam-packed with cameos from characters viewers have come to know and love. That's the fan-service at work, but with a few exceptions, the appearances further the character growth for the main Gilmore women, namely Milo Ventimiglia, Matt Czuchry and Liza Weil. Weil's Paris Geller is hands down one of the best parts—Paris is at her zaniest in the best way possible and Weil never missed a beat in getting back into character.
Creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino lamented having too much story for the four-part series—well, there are moments that went on for far too long and felt completely unnecessary, like the Stars Hollow musical and reappearance of a few characters. Not everything is perfect. However, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life has come along at just the right time. It's comforting and familiar, with enough resolution to satisfy and enough open-ended questions to make revisiting Stars Hollow absolutely necessary, sooner rather than later.
Grab the Pop Tarts, the coffee, the gin martini (not a sidecar!) and enjoy the journey.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life drops Friday, Nov. 25 on Netflix.
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