Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

This month I review Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, the Netflix mini-series which was released in 2016, sixteen years after the first episode of the original Gilmore Girls, a popular TV series about two privileged white women living in a small new England town as they deal with the kind of problems that privileged white women deal with.

I previously reviewed the Gilmore Girls in July, and, to be quite frank, I’m not sure what to say about this mini-series. What we get essentially are four extremely high-budget episodes of the show with very little in terms of original content.

The story takes place nine years after the original series ended in 2007. After years of working as a freelance journalist in New York and London, Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) has returned to her home in Stars Hollow to visit her mother and the other oddballs who reside in the town. The visit lasts for a year with each episode in the mini-series focusing in on one of the four seasons. 

Not much has changed, with Rory, her mother Lorelai, and Luke Danes, the irascible owner of Luke's diner, forming the central characters. One of the main problems with the mini-series and the preceding series is that most of these characters have not evolved much over the intervening nine years. Luke remains a lovable misanthrope. Lorelai is still a teenager stuck in a 40-something woman's body. Rory's grandmother continues to have a good heart but is still very much bound by convention. Her grandfather, however, is no longer in the series simply because Edward Herman, the actor who portrayed him so expertly, and who was, in my opinion, the best part of the television show, died on December 31, 2014. 

Unfortunately, Rory has evolved from a sweet-natured, compassionate and self-sacrificing individual who acted more or less like an anchor for the less stable characters that surrounded her into a rather unpleasant young woman. In other words she has become more like them, which is a shame.

Watching the mini-series has brought into sharper focus aspects of the original show that I did not like. Lauren Graham received many acting award nominations for the original role of Lorelai, which she performed very well, but the character is emotionally arrested, spoiled and irresponsible. She does not garner my sympathy and I find the character hard to watch on a regular basis.

Luke (once again played by Scott Patterson) is portrayed as a sensible person who has remained in love with Lorelai over the years. It's hard to understand the attraction since he is so grounded and she is not.

It is also amazing that in 2017 the creators of Gilmore Girls have still not seen fit to give Stars Hollow more diversity by including a greater number of people of colour in the cast of this mini-series.

One of the more interesting developments over the last nine years is the casting of the 35-year-old Alexis Bledel, who still has the innocent look of Rory Gilmore, as the angry, rebellious Ofglen in the new Handmaid’s Tale. It was a test of her acting ability, which she successfully passed.

In the end this new series will appeal to the most ardent fans of Gilmore Girls. If you’re not absolutely devoted to the show, I would give it a miss.