Returning to Stars Hollow: "Gilmore Girls - A Year in the Life"

Sunday, 27 November 2016

It's not often that after almost a decade of being off the air, one of your all time favourite television shows comes back for a four part mini-series. Looking back at some of my old blogposts then, I'm sure you could imagine my excitement when Netflix announced that it was official - a Gilmore Girls revival was in the works, and set to hit our screens in 2016. Anticipation has been building online for the past few months, with trailers and teaser clips and cast interviews flooding my timeline on a daily basis, and I've been loving it. It seems that lately, more people than ever have welcomed this show into their homes, and despite having finished the original run way back in 2007, the show is proving now to be more popular than ever. As a fan from way back when, this is something I am immensely pleased to see!

Today is Sunday 27th November, and I have pretty much spent my whole weekend in Stars Hollow. I avoided social media as much as possible at work on Friday, hid my phone while I was out for dinner with friends, and then came home to watch the first episode. Saturday was spent watching the other three, and today was spent thinking about, reading about and talking about my thoughts on Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Having been putting up with an ongoing cold for three weeks now, it was perfectly timed - my ultimate comfort tv returning exactly when I needed it. For weeks and months I have been excited about this, counting down the days this past week until it arrived, but never once stopping to think "am I emotionally prepared for this?". Turns out, I was not.

Some shows come in to your life for a short time. They serve a purpose, whether that is easy entertainment after a long day at work, or thrilling, suspenseful "water cooler" conversation fodder, jumping on the bandwagon of whatever series everyone and their aunt seems to be raving about at the time. But some shows are different - they get under your skin and work their way into your life in a way that means that you'll always come back to them. They bring comfort at stressful times, laughter during boredom, and the characters you meet become more than simply works of fiction, or vehicles for a writer to discuss a particular issue. You feel like you really know them, like you understand them, and like they will always be there waiting for you when you need them. Gilmore Girls is one of those shows. And no matter how much time passes, or how long I leave it between revisiting old episodes, the moment those characters appear on my screen it's like they never left. This deep rooted connection that I, and so many other fans of the show, have had to Stars Hollow and it's inhabitants for years now, is what made me so excited about this revival, and the involvement of creators Amy and Dan, and so many members of the cast, made me confident that this was something that was going to work. Revisiting old shows years after they end can be dangerous - sometimes that old spark is just gone, and it doesn't feel the same. This trip back to Stars Hollow, however, was (at least to me), pretty perfect. I cried a lot of tears, some from nostalgia, some from the plot, laughed out loud, and once again got lost in the cosy bubble that is Lorelai and Rory's world.

Were there a few small issues? Sure. But no original TV series never mind a revival is ever going to be perfect. Those (in)famous last four words, which, from what we understand is exactly how Amy always intended to end the show, have left us in a bit of a spin, and with a lot of questions (and a desperate desire for more episodes). There were also a couple of moments when I questioned Lorelai's reaction (or lack thereof) to some of Rory's choices. But overall, it all worked brilliantly. They all slipped so effortlessly back into those iconic roles - Lauren and Alexis were Lorelai and Rory again from the first scene. Liza Weil as a thirty something year old Paris was perfect, Kelly Bishop's portrayal of a grieving Emily was so moving; every one of them picked up where they left off as if it was ten days never mind ten years since they last played these characters. We had a couple of town meetings, another short film from Kirk, scenes with Rory and every one of her exes (more on that later), and a return to Chilton. The loss of Ed Herrmann was felt throughout, with Richard remaining a strong presence in every episode. Melissa McCarthy could only make one scene but Lorelai and Sookie's reunion was heartwarming, Michel's dry one liners were as funny as ever, and we witnessed new squabbles between Luke and Taylor over trivial town matters. Lorelai and Luke finally tied the knot in one of the most visually beautiful scenes Gilmore Girls has ever given us. We even saw Lane's dad, if only for a second! It was a total nostaglia-fest, with every episode giving fans more to reminisce about, while exploring these characters at a different stage in all of their lives.

I've been reading a lot of reviews of the series today, and most have approached this either in an all in one type of manner, discussing all four episodes in one post, or in an episode by episode style over four posts. Because so much happened, however, I think I'm going to go with a blog post per character approach, with a post for Lorelai, a post for Rory, one for Emily, and then a fourth exploring some of my other favourites (Paris, Lane, Luke, Kirk and Michel - maybe more!). I feel like that will let me summarise my feelings on the arc for each character in a more focused way.

So keep your eyes peeled this week for those reviews. It has been so long since I have properly blogged, so I'll sign off here in the cheesiest way I can possibly think of, by quoting the first episode to reflect how I felt writing this post...


Thanks so much for reading! Let me know in the comments down below how you felt about the series! :)