Netflix Review: “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

2016 has been a tough year. Between the drama of elections, Halloween on a Monday and the patchwork plot of “Suicide Squad”, it’s no wonder people are ready for the new year. However, there was a shiny, witty light for television fans out there, the much anticipated revival of “Gilmore Girls”, released just on the 25th of November on Netflix.

For those who don’t know, “Gilmore Girls” is a comedy-drama series centered around the lives of single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory. With witty pop-culture references, charming personas and interesting social commentary, it’s no wonder this on-screen mother-daughter duo became popular after the series’ first release in 2000.

The show was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and ran until May of 2007 for a total of seven seasons. In these seasons we watch Lorelai and Rory grow as Lorelai struggles to maintain the  Dragonfly Inn and navigating parent troubles (mostly through the help of coffee and inappropriate comments), as Rory graduates and makes a career for herself during her journalism studies at Yale University. Now as popular as the show was, the last season, particularly the last episode left a bad taste in the mouths of both the fans and Amy Sherman-Palladino herself, who was unable to direct at the time. So 9 years after the show’s departure, she returned to redeem the ending with “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”. “A Year in the Life” is a revival compilation of four episodes, each about an hour and 30 minutes. Each episode focuses on a specific season of the year in order of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Warning, spoilers beyond this point.

The story picks up with the lives of the Gilmore Girls in 2016. Lorelai still runs her inn and has been in a steady relationship with Luke Danes, they have lived together for nine years. Her issues with her mother haven’t improved with time, especially with the blow of her father’s (and the actor, Edward Herrmann’s) death. In fact, the tension between her and her mother, Emily, worsen when Lorelai drunkenly shares an inappropriate story when she’s asked to share a fond memory of her father Richard Gilmore. This leads to both Lorelai and Emily ending up in counseling to resolve their issues and grief. Both continue to butt heads and Emily quits the counseling. Lorelai, however, continues as she struggles with finding a direction in life.Her lack of direction leads her to go “Wild”, following the source material, by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Still, the trip leads her to a personal revelation and she decides to finally marry Luke, who happily accepts. The whole town of Stars Hallow pitches in to construct a “dream” wedding for the couple. Together, in the middle of the night, Luke and Lorelai grab Rory and sneak into their venue, where they say their vows.

Lauren Graham, who plays Laureli, slips back into character seamlessly as if the show had never ended. Her fast-paced remarks remain on point and amusing. Though the character herself comes across as more selfish than in previous years, it still works well with the characterization.

The same can’t be said for Rory Gilmore, played by Alexis Bledel, seemed awkward with adjusting back into her character. Rory, now in her 30’s is a struggling journalist looking for inspiration in her writing. She finds that her renown for a piece in the New York Times makes her more of a one-hit wonder more than anything. She finds work in a collaborative writing with Naomi Shropshire (played by Alex Kingston), but the woman’s drunken and indecisive behavior leads to Rory’s firing. So what’s a Yale educated, 30-something, jobless and directionless woman to do? Move back to her small town and live with her parents obviously.

For the majority of the four episodes, Rory is stuck in the rut, that is, until one of her old flames (all of whom make an appearance at some point), Jess Mariano, inspires her to write “Gilmore Girls”. A story of her life in Stars Hollow. This leads to fight between her and Lorelai, who doesn’t want her life on print, but they resolve things and Lorelai gives Rory her approval.

The real shocker takes place with the final four words of the series that reveal Rory’s pregnancy. While this has driven fans crazy with speculation, the most accepted theory is that old flame Logan Huntzberger (with whom she kept an ongoing affair with in the revival), is the father. This ending has led fans to believe Gilmore Girls may continue in the future, but the creators haven’t said a word.

The real role worth watching was Emily, who finally lets loose after Richard’s departure.

Overall, the revival was lackluster in comparison to the original series. Some of the characters’ behaviors were questionable, the ending was peculiar, and the overall level of wit wasn’t as on-par with past seasons. However, it was nice to finally have an alternative sort of ending to season seven and there is a degree of closure in spite of this ending. Fans of the show will either love it or feel indifferent about it. While the show doesn’t merit a thumbs down, there’s hesitance in a thumbs up, so the rating will have to be a solid middle thumb to satisfy the “Ehhhhh…” feel of it all.