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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
The popular mother-daughter duo return for new Netflix series.

The popular mother-daughter duo return for new Netflix series.

Gilmore Girls returns for old and new fans in new Netflix series

Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and eat… a lot. With those values in mind, there is no better time for the premiere of “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” a Netflix limited-series continuation of the beloved series almost 10 years after it ended. This early 2000s throwback was filled with anticipation from new fans and old. The revival is the perfect scenario to demonstrate the power of Netflix. “Gilmore Girls” was a hit series recently made available for binging on Netflix, drawing in newer, younger fans that fell for the show, myself included. The series is in a completely new format. The popular Netflix platform brought “Gilmore Girls” to a new era, one that desperately wanted a revival after a weak final season that struggled to end conclusively without creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s involvement. With the entire cast reassembled, the set rebuilt and Sherman-Palladino penning the script, “A Year in the Life” functions as the epilogue the show deserves. This poetically justified revitalization demonstrates that the right time, place, technology and people can make the unimaginable a reality—a worthy revival with as much heart and sincerity as the original.

“A Year in the Life” works because it doesn’t function as a revival, rather more like a natural continuation. Like a warm hug from an old friend, it just felt right. The jubilant four hour-and-a-half long episodes are entitled “Winter,” “Spring,” “Summer” and “Fall,” encapsulating the seasonal spirit the Gilmore girls always celebrated. The revival has a glossier look, flashy guest stars and more ambitious cinematography but, other than that, it is the same old “Gilmore Girls” and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The series’ success is upheld by the sacred bond between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel), the mother-daughter duo living in the small and quirky town of Stars Hollow. Caffeinated fast-talk and a love of Pop Tarts consecrate their friendship as they evolve together side-by-side throughout the years.

The revival has Amy Sherman-Palladino’s voice coming through more prominently than ever before, reclaiming what is rightfully hers. Actors from Sherman-Palladino and Lauren Graham’s post-“Gilmore” television projects “Parenthood” and “Bunheads” are featured in the revival, all lending their talents to resurrect a show that was once considered dead. There were parts that had me giggling and others that had me crying into leftover pecan pie. The show was always light-hearted and feel-good with hints of darker matters such as teenage pregnancy, familial strains and (this season) the death of actor Edward Herrmann and subsequently his character Richard Gilmore. These touchy topics are elegantly addressed and developed in “A Year in the Life” without sacrificing the signature positivity the show radiates.

One of the series’ particularly fitting themes is progression after peaking. We encounter questions in the new narrative. Should Lorelai and Luke’s relationship continue with marriage and children? Should Lorelai’s inn renovate and expand? How will the Gilmores move past the death of Lorelai’s father, Richard? What should Rory do now that her career has hit a rut? The characters’ conflicts align with “A Year in the Life’s” emergence, both exploring if there is still room to grow. After watching the four episodes, the answer is clear.

“Gilmore Girls” has always been about growth. Watching “Gilmore Girls” in college, I found myself identifying with Rory as many others have. We are both journalism majors active in our college newspapers, we are introverted, we love coffee and have questionable taste in men and we have little knowledge of what the future holds. “Gilmore Girls” is so close to fans’ hearts because it emphasizes that straying off a set path allows for growth and the steady pillars of family and friendship will help you through it. The infamous last four words Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote for the very end of “Gilmore Girls” encompassed the soul of the series. They raised more questions that did not necessarily need to be answered, cleverly implying more growth beyond the narrative scope of the series. “A Year in the Life” tastefully balances the comedic, yet emotional roots that made the original such a success all the while giving the characters and fans much-needed closure to a series with an untimely demise. If this is the true end of “Gilmore Girls,” I am unexpectedly satisfied. Where it led, I followed, and I am thankful for the journey.

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