I’ll be the first to admit that, while I watched and enjoyed the occasional episode of Gilmore Girls when the series originally ran, I wasn’t exactly what you’d call a fan – but watching A Year in the Life has me looking to go back and watch the series from start to finish.
Yeah, it’s that good.
Over the course of four feature-length episodes – Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall, A Year in the Life brings us up to date on the lives of Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) and it’s a fun ride through light speed banter; cameos from most of the important and/or beloved characters from the series and some surprising developments that remind us that the series was not without its darker, or twistier moments.
Lorelai and Luke (Scott Patterson) have been together for nine years and, between them, they are responsible for a hefty chunk of Stars Hollow’s hospitality industry – him running Luke’s Diner and her the Dragonfly Inn.
Rory blows into town for visits while figuring out what she’s going to do with her life – her writing has gotten her some great freelance work (a piece for the New Yorker is mentioned repeatedly), but a meeting with Conde Nast keeps getting postponed and she doesn’t want to commit to a standing offer from a website that wants to be the next Huffington Post only with more gossip).
Meanwhile, Emily Gilmore (Kelly Bishop) is still mourning her husband, Richard (Edward Herrmann) and is working on getting his headstone just right (four have tiny errors; one fell off the truck and shattered) – and she has a wall-sized portrait of him in the great room/living room.
From these basic setups flow the hallmarks of the series – Lorelai/Emily misunderstandings and reconciliations; Lorelai/Rory walk and talks, sit and talks; Lorelai/Luke moments, and various Stars Hollow incidents and events.
Some highlights (not in chronological order): Emily and Lorelai seeing a therapist; Rory and Logan (Matt Czuchry) having a, shall we say, interesting relationship; Star’s Hollow: The Musical (brilliant music, so very terrible lyrics); Kirk’s (Sean Gunn) mind-bogglingly wrong business start-ups; Rory taking over editorship of the Stars Hollow Gazette; Emily’s attempts at moving on; and, of course, the much anticipated wedding. There are a few other stunning/stunningly appropriate arcs that I will purposely avoid, except to say that a book she’s read influences Lorelai in a very Gilmore Girls way.
And we haven’t even coming to those Final Four Words (which, I have to say, were completely unexpected – well done, Ms. Sherman-Palladino!).
The first three episodes tend to meander, but it works because sometimes character doesn’t really need plot and the Gilmore girls does pure character better than most.
The final episode, Fall, tightens up considerably – yet has the most wide-ranging developments. Emily finds a new passion; Lorelai has an epiphany and Rory makes some momentous decisions (personally and professionally).
A host of actors from the series (regulars, recurring, particularly prominent guest stars) make appearances, some in key arcs, some just for a minute – but the list is impressive: Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia, Ray Wise, Melissa McCarthy and more.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life isn’t exactly perfect, but it’s perfectly Gilmore Girls. That makes it worth your time – whether you were a big fan, casual fan or never saw the original series.
Final Grade: A