I’m not sure why anyone who hadn’t already watched Gilmore Girls would watch Netflix’s revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I feel certain that a newcomer to the series wouldn’t get the same enjoyment out of these four 90-minute movies (broken into the four seasons) that I did, But, if you were a fan of the original series, you’ll like this one, too.
I finished watching Season 7 only a week before I watched this Netflix project, so I didn’t have the nine-year gap that OG fans of the show experienced. A Year in the Life wasn’t so much about nostalgia for me as it was a continuation of the series. As it turns out, it was a much-needed continuation because the series itself left a few plot threads dangling at the end.
Before you read on, I’m not going to hesitate to unveil SPOILERS in this review. Go watch the episodes before I ruin them for you.
Sadly, Edward Herrmann passed away before this revival series could come into existence. When we return to the world of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, the patriarch of the Gilmore family, Richard Gilmore, has likewise passed. As sad as it was, both in the real and fictional worlds, I was happy that they chose to have Richard die as well. The alternative would have been to have him on extended business trips or some other such contrivances. Having Emily, Lorelai and Rory deal with Richard’s death actually gave this revival a bit more depth. Edward Herrmann’s presence still loomed large in these episodes, sometimes literally in the form of a giant oil painting in the Gilmore living room, and the actor is missed.
I also missed Melissa McCarthy, whose busy schedule prevented her from being in all of the episodes. Sookie Jackson had moved on to some other passion project and is no longer the head chef at the Dragonfly Inn. She reemerges during the finale episode, and she injects further life into the show. Never before had I been so acutely aware of how integral her character was to the show.
The central story of the Netflix special isn’t an overly complicated one. Of course, our Gilmore Girls are at the heart of it. Not just Lorelai and Rory, but Emily as well.
Lorelai is feeling like her world is falling apart a little, with Sookie gone, and with Michel possibly seeking other employment. She and Luke are still together as we return to Stars Hollow, but still unmarried. The thing that always happens to relationships on this show happens again, in a minor way, and Lorelai and Luke are temporarily separated as Lorelai decides to go on an extended hike in California, which always seemed unlikely and never comes to pass. Then they get back together and she and Luke get married during the last episode. It’s a sweet turn of events and I didn’t know how much I wanted that for the Season 7 finale until it happened here. Unable to expand the Dragonfly, Lorelai also purchases a new property in order to keep Michel as well.
Emily deals with Richard’s death by going into therapy and then dragging Lorelai along for the ride. Emily drops out, leaving Lorelai to continue alone. Without Richard in her life, Emily has to find new purpose. She’s kicked out of the DAR. She allows her household staff to bring their family to live with her, even though she doesn’t speak their language. Ultimately, after she and Lorelai arrive at a good place with each other, Emily sells the Gilmore mansion and moves far off to somewhere else. Rhode Island, I think. Or Martha’s Vineyard.
Rory’s career as a journalist stalls, and she ends up running the local newspaper in Stars Hollow. She finally breaks off her illicit romance with Logan Huntzberger, who is engaged to marry someone else. And she begins to write a book about her relationship with her mother. At the end of the finale episode, she announces to Lorelai that she’s pregnant, and that’s where the revival series ends.
There’s a lot more that happens in these four episodes, of course. We revisit with all of our favorite Stars Hollow characters, and all of Rory’s boyfriends. There’s a Stars Hollow musical. Kirk still works 1001 jobs. Paris Gellar becomes more of what she had always been.
Although some things have changed, Stars Hollow itself remains that town you wish existed in real life, where everyone knows everyone else and it feels like extended family.
Even the ending was perfect. Lorelai and Luke finally get married. Rory is pregnant. The circle of life continues. I honestly don’t care what happens next, or who the father of Rory’s baby might be (probably Logan), and would prefer that the story of the Gilmore Girls just ends here. Or, barring that, just wait another decade to look back in on Stars Hollow again. That’s an idea I can get behind.
This was a good one. Just watch the seven seasons of the original series first.