Netflix's Gilmore Girls revival drops Nov. 25, and early, spoiler-free reviews started rolling in on Wednesday. The four 90-minute episodes reunite creator Amy Sherman-Palladino with her beloved town of Stars Hollow, and are a much more fitting send-off to the series than 2007's Sherman-Palladino-less seventh season.
The critical consensus on Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life so far is that it's kind of messy but mostly very good, and the flaws don't overshadow how pleasant it is to have Gilmore Girls back and true to its legacy of quality.
There have been an exhausting number of reboots and revivals on television in the last few years, and most of them were superfluous, but all reviewers agree (with relief) that Gilmore Girls feels like it has a reason to exist.
"It's the first reunion project in a long time to not make me regret the existence of it," writes Uproxx's Alan Sepinwall, who has problems with A Year In the Life's timeline, noting that the way time passes on the show is confusing and imprecise.
The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg has the same issue, writing: "Time has passed in the world of the show, but you can tell Sherman-Palladino wishes it hadn't. It's better if you pretend that Rory is still in her mid-20s, that you assume that each and every character dynamic is intact and consistent, that you don't dwell on which pop culture references are current and which have been in Sherman-Palladino's back pocket for years. (And, time-wise, don't get me started on asking viewers to pretend that Paul Anka, the Gilmore dog, is both the same dog-character and the same dog-actor as when we left off. That's probably the nadir of the miniseries' chrono-denying.)"
Other critics don't like the third episode's musical number, which USA Today's Robert Bianco says "defies belief."
But, as the Washington Post's Emily Yahr puts it, none of the flaws should matter much to fans, "because Gilmore Girls is back."
Variety's Maureen Ryan writes: "The Gilmore Girls we knew and loved is back, and at its best, it's the equivalent of a platter of powdered donuts and extra-crispy french fries. Maybe it's a little too much at times — and rapid consumption of the four 90-minute episodes Netflix commissioned is not advised — but when it relies on the notable strengths of its core ensemble, it is television at its most warm and reassuring."
All critics have praised the revival's writing. "Listening to the rhythm, lilt, and inspired language of their dialogue is music to the ears," writes Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen.
Adds TVLine's Michael Ausiello: "The quip-per-minute ratio hits an all-time high in the revival.
It must be noted that Ausiello is a Gilmore Girls superfan with a cameo in A Year In the Life. His review is glowing, and his only criticism is that the musical is about two minutes too long. He praises Lauren Graham in particular, writing that she "turns in the performance of her career."
All in all, it sounds like Gilmore Girls fans can rest assured that settling in to watch the revival will be like sitting down with an old friend over coffee.
TVGuide.com's review of Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life is coming later this week.
Gilmore Girls: A Year In the Life arrives on Netflix Friday, Nov. 25.