ByGenevieve Van Voorhis, writer at
Game of Thrones, ASOUE, and all things '00s. Twitter: @gen_vanvee Email: [email protected]
Genevieve Van Voorhis

It's almost winter again in Stars Hollow, a sight we haven't seen for nine long years (and haven't really enjoyed in a decade, since we can all pretty much agree that the seventh season was hot garbage). Just before the official release of the happens on the day after Thanksgiving (November 25), the critics have released their reviews of all four 90-minute segments.

If you haven't seen the full trailer, you can check it out right now:

See also:

We've read through all the reviews, rounded up the highlights and assembled them here. It's all spoiler-free, so dive in, and leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

1. Stars Hollow Still Feels Like Home

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix

If you had your doubts about whether or not the revival would be able to recapture the feel-good vibe we know and love, rest easy. The small town charm is back and in spades:

"But for those who want a retreat from reality in order to spend time in this beautiful little Brigadoon of a town, where a scheme to install a new sewer system is one of the most pressing issues on the local agenda, these “Gilmore Girls” episodes will feel like a warm blanket on a cold winter night." -Variety

"What I loved about this 'Summer' [Episode 3] — and the musical nurtures this — is how every character, every location, and every little detail contributes to a vivid sense of place; in truth, Stars Hollow might be the revival’s best character, and I love the effort to explore every nook and cranny of it, from a scene involving an after-hours secret to a sequence in which Lorelai and Rory deliver newspapers." -EW

2. Every Loon Gets His Or Her Moment To Shine

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix

...although you might wish that some people had more, and some less:

"For the most part, the many characters of the small Connecticut town are well-represented. Fans will certainly have disputes over who got too much time and who got too little, but everyone should at least be happy with the general recognition given (and credit to the Palladinos for fitting them in without straining too hard)." -IndieWire

3. Get The Tissues Ready

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix

We all knew that Richard had passed away, but apparently that loss is going to resonate through every episode, which adds an element of pain to the show that we haven't really experienced before:

"As was often the case with the earlier incarnation of the show at its most potent, what gives “A Year in the Life” its spine is something thorny and painful. The three Gilmore women are mourning the loss of Emily’s husband, Richard, and given his importance to the clan, it’s entirely appropriate that the show spends this much time on the fallout from that death. The focus on grief is also a tribute to actor Edward Herrmann, who played the preppy Richard with such versatile bonhomie for so many years." -Variety

4. You'll Either Love Or Hate The Pacing

Critics seem a little divided on whether or not the 4x90 set up was the right way to go:

"Now the show is back with four 90-minute episodes, each named for one of the seasons, and all of them written by the Palladinos. You get the same stars (for the most part) and the same rapid-fire, pop-culture-infused dialogue, in a more concise package that actually serves the show well. The pace and the arch theatricality of all that chatter could grow exhausting over 22 hours — a problem clearly lessened when you only have to listen for six." -USA Today

Perhaps a brisk, Gran-like pace (11 minutes per course) would have been a better choice:

"At times, the fan service threatens to take over the storytelling, and there are signs of the drift that afflicts other Netflix series: Sub-plots that would have gotten a scene or two in the WB version of the show receive extensive and sometimes indulgent amounts of room in the four installments of “A Year in the Life,” each of which depicts a season in Stars Hollow. It takes a while for various story threads to kick into gear, but “Gilmore Girls” was always more interested in spending time with its eccentric array of characters than in powering through various tightly disciplined plot points." -Variety

5. Sutton Foster's Subplot Is Bun-derful

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix

In case you had any reservations about how Amy Sherman-Palladino's other girls would work in the Gilmore World, fear not. Sutton Foster nails it, as usual:

"And then there are the myriad cameos by Sherman-Palladino's former Bunheads charges, led by Sutton Foster, whose appearance is part of a subplot that is both a lot of fun and also turns Gilmore Girls into a completely different show for the better part of an episode." -THR

6. Our Girls Are As Good As Ever

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix

Lorelei, Rory, and even Emily have always been the heart of Gilmore Girls, and it looks like Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel and Kelly Bishop have been able to slip back into their characters without missing a beat:

"Yet for every misstep, there’s a moment from Graham or Bledel that makes you laugh or breaks your heart, or that cuts through the cuteness to ring absolutely true. And even at its most exasperating, there is so much talent and charm on display, you’re likely to be in a forgiving mood." - USA Today

"One thing the passing of time hasn't done and can't do is hinder the core chemistry between the three lead actresses, especially now that Lorelai, Rory and Emily are back to sounding like Amy Sherman-Palladino and therefore sounding like themselves. The wordy patter, the crackling repetition, the "We assume the audience is collectively in on every joke" references are back, as is the pervasive sense of simpatico they represent. The internal comfort level of Gilmore Girls has always stemmed from the understanding these characters have that they speak a language born of shared history and shared experience, a family language. And because viewers both recognize the uniqueness of the cadences and rhetorical devices, we're part of the family as well. The specificity was lost in the zombie season and it's back now and with it the warm fuzzies and occasional tears." - THR

7. The Final Four Words Are Worth Waiting For

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix
Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life / Netflix

Across the board, the critics agree that this revival puts the seventh season to shame, and is the ending that — although not perfect — the series deserves.

"Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life feels like a summary statement about the characters and their relationship to each other, even as it ends on a note that says nothing ever ends or fully resolves, not really. Life goes on, circumstances will change (or won’t), and we all have to figure out how to keep loving each other better, no matter what happens next. I don’t need another Year in the Life to know if the Gilmore girls and the good people of Stars Hollow will rise to that challenge. But if Sherman-Palladino leads with more, I will follow." -EW


How do these reviews make you feel?

[Sources: Variety, USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, Indie Wire, EW]


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