Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life reunites cast after nine years
What goes around comes around on the telly these days, as producers increasingly look for much-loved classic shows with an inbuilt audience they can revive.
Already this year we have seen the return of Full House (now Fuller House) and The X-Files, plus a remake of the mini-series Roots, and coming in February is 24: Legacy, a spin-off/reboot of the counter-terrorism drama, albeit without Kiefer Sutherland.
What sells best on television these days is often what sold well in the past, and the latest beneficiaries of this televisual resuscitation trend are fans of the fast-talking, fiercely loyal and bitingly funny mother-daughter duo of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which will be released on Netflix on Friday, is a follow-up to the landmark comedy that ended a hugely successful seven-season run in 2007 and remains popular globally in reruns.
The heart-warming charms of the original Gilmore Girls were many, calling to mind the African proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”. Many viewers no doubt wished they lived in a wonderful small town such as the fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut. The kindly residents there were happy to pitch in and help single mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham) raise her college-bound daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) with love, friendship and acceptance at every turn – even as the series delivered some sharp social commentary on issues such as romance, social class, ambition, education, career and family.
Presented as four 90-minute chapters – set in spring, summer, autumn and winter – Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was written, directed and executive-produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of the original series.
“When Netflix popped up … we thought, what a great opportunity to delve into a different form, to tell stories in a different way using beloved characters and to get back in a room with these actors and be able to go at it again,” she says. “It was just such an exciting challenge.”
As well as Graham and Bledel, fan favourites from the original series making a return include Kelly Bishop (who plays grandmother Emily Gilmore) and Scott Patterson (diner owner Luke Danes). It also pays tribute to noted actor Edward Herrmann, who played grandfather Richard Gilmore and died in 2014.
And then there is Melissa McCarthy – now a major Hollywood star, in movies such as Ghostbusters, Bridesmaids – who returns as Sookie St James, head chef and co-owner of the Dragonfly Inn. “For me, [the revival] was just an incredible experience,” says Graham. “It’s like getting a chance to go to college when you’re really ready, when you really get what an incredible opportunity you have and how rare the time is. We were given the gift to get to go back knowing those things, and it just felt really emotional.”
Bledel says she cannot wait for fans to see the new episodes.
“It’s amazing to know that people are eagerly awaiting the release of these episodes and that they have loved the show all these years,” she says. “It’s why we do this – to be able to communicate something that people are going to love and talk about and enjoy together.”
Fans can expect to see Stars Hollow restored in all its former, charming glory, including Luke’s Diner, the Dragonfly Inn and, of course, Lorelai’s comfy, cosy home.
Brace yourselves, as well, for a deluge of rapid-fire dialogue and pop-culture references that might require repeat viewings.
“It’s going to be faster and more furious than ever, believe me, with longer scenes, longer speeches [and] longer machine-gun dialogue back and forth,” says Patterson. “This is Gilmore 2.0.”
When the original series ended in 2007, Rory had graduated from Yale and landed a job with an online magazine to cover Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Lorelai and Luke shared a kiss, meanwhile, hinting at the possibility of a future for the couple.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life picks up the threads in present-day Stars Hollow, where Lorelai still runs the Dragonfly Inn (and still chugs copious amounts of coffee) while Rory, now 32, is making headway in her own career.
“It’s not a story about a little girl anymore, who’s in high school,” says Graham. “It’s a story about a young woman and kind of the struggles she faces. Yet the dynamics between [Rory, Lorelai and Emily] … they’ve grown up, but they’re the same. And that kind of foundation of ‘here are the people you have to rely on’ can take you through any age.
“To be reunited with [Gilmore Girls] at this point of my life has been even more gratifying than I thought it was going to be.”
Published: November 21, 2016 04:00 AM