Opinion: Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life – review and reaction

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Gabby Seed

For fans of the famously popular “Gilmore Girls,” the focus of Thanksgiving break was the show’s highly anticipated revival, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”

The television show, which originally ended in May 2007, returned triumphantly Nov. 25 in the form of a Netflix mini-series composed of four lengthy episodes, representing winter, spring, summer and fall.

Fans’ hopes were high and many viewers opted to “binge” the approximately six hours of the mini-series in one or two sittings. I was one such fan. Those high hopes were accompanied by a bundle of nerves, however.

There is always a degree of risk taken when a perfect, unmatched, frozen-in-time classic — be it a television series or movie — is either remade or added to, years down the line. I and other fans were undoubtedly excited about the revival but also fearful that a childhood and adolescent classic might be marred.

Having now seen all six hours from start to finish, I can confidently say “A Year in the Life” was a mixed bag. The past can never be recreated, and while the revival reflected many of our favorite aspects of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s original show, other aspects missed the mark by a long shot.

“Winter” opens with Rory, played by Alexis Bledel, greeting her best friend and mother Lorelai Gilmore, played by Lauren Graham, at the recognizable Stars Hollow gazebo.

Bledel is visibly uncomfortable and doesn’t seem to know what to do with herself when she doesn’t have a line. In contrast, Graham shines, sliding gracefully back into a role she hasn’t played in nearly a decade.

From that moment, however, Bledel rises up to meet Graham. By “Spring,” she’s almost back to being recognizably Rory. Still, it is Graham who is evidently the backbone of “A Year in the Life.”

The mini-series attempted to pack as many characters and plot twists as it feasibly could into the six hours. While this resulted in a lot of fun for viewers, it is also forced painfully short cameos of previously integral characters like Christopher (Rory’s father), Sookie (Lorelai’s best friend) and Dean (Rory’s ex-boyfriend). It left me pining for the old seasons where such characters were taken for granted as day-to-day, necessary pieces of the lives of Lorelai and Rory.

Despite some of these setbacks, “A Year in the Life” remained faithful to the meat and potatoes of what sets “Gilmore Girls” apart. The fast-paced conversation, the pop culture references, the small-town feel and the tight-knit relationships didn’t budge.

It was evident that the actors and actresses on the screen were just as thrilled to be returning to Stars Hollow as we, the viewers, were. And while I still feel that sometimes it’s best to leave something as perfect as that little Connecticut town frozen in time, I’d return to it in a heartbeat.

Gabby Seed is a columnist, contact her at [email protected]