When Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres on Netflix on Friday, Nov. 25, it will have been 3,483 days since fans last saw Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore. That's nine years, six months and 11 days since Rory left Stars Hollow to join then-Sen. Barack Obama's campaign trail in the Season 7 finale, an episode that thankfully no longer has to serve as a series finale.
For Amy Sherman-Palladino, the fast-talking, wise-cracking creator of the show who definitely bears more than just a passing resemblance in personality to Lorelai, this is a big moment. Sherman-Palladino and her husband Daniel Palladino, who served as a director and executive producer on the original series and took on the same role for the revival, rather famously left the WB-turned-CW series amid contract disputes following the Season 6 finale. They were replaced by David S. Rosenthal, who had worked on the series as both a writer and a producer. But despite Rosenthal's best efforts, it was impossible to replicate the heart and the humor the Palladinos brought to the show.
Now, a little more than a decade after they left the series they created, the Palladinos have the rare opportunity to revisit the quirky town of Stars Hollow and the wacky residents who call it home. In doing so, they also have the chance to potentially give the show the send-off they'd always hoped to give it. Yes, fans will finally hear the infamous final four words that Sherman-Palladino had planned for the original series in the fourth and final episode of the revival. But this is about more than just finding closure. It's also about the show's enduring appeal.
"Our hope is that [these new episodes are] for the fans, but they're for people who haven't seen [the original show] also," Sherman-Palladino told a small group of reporters this past summer. "Part of the reason that we love this format of four 90-minute movies or chapters or whatever you call them, [is that] the idea of taking these characters, who are basically three women in three generations — all at a different crossroads in their life — taking them through a year and seeing where they start and where they end. We just thought dramatically [it] was an interesting way to tell a story. For us, it was really about — yes, we love our fans and yes, yay, fans, and here you go — [but] hopefully, it will appeal to people who haven't really [seen it before].
"It's three stories of three women and three of the best actors walking the planet at the top of their game," she continued, referring to Graham, Bledel and Kelly Bishop, who plays Gilmore matriarch Emily. "We just have this crackerjack bunch of actors and as a writer, any time you get to work and write for people that can do the things that these actors can do... I'll rise from the grave to write Lauren Graham anything she wants."
When the series returns, 10 years will have passed in the show's timeline. The first episode picks up six months after the death of Richard, the Gilmore family patriarch (Edward Herrmann passed away in December 2014). As Emily adjusts to life without him, Lorelai continues to live in Stars Hollow with her longtime boyfriend, Luke (Scott Patterson), and Rory will have just returned home having spent the last decade chasing her dreams as a journalist.
When asked whether the themes of the revival are any different now that the show's central mother-daughter relationship has grown into that of an adult friendship between a mother and a daughter, Sherman-Palladino said the show's message is still the same.
"I think the theme was always family and connection. I always felt like the underlying thing about [Gilmore Girls] was that if you happen to be born into a family that doesn't really understand you, go out and make your own. That's what Lorelei did. She went out and she made her own family. The ironic twist in her life is that then this daughter that she created this whole family for kind of likes the family that she left. It's this cycle of crazy family. As long as we were being true to the nature of that, walking back into that world was very easy."
For Graham, the sentiment is very similar.
"It's not a story about a little girl anymore who's in high school. It's a story about a young woman and the struggles she faces," Graham told the press in July during the Television Critics Association summer previews. "Yet the dynamics between me and my mother, between [Rory and Lorelai], 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. I think that's what this show continues to tell us about family."
And no matter who you are, whether you're a longtime fan or coming to these episodes a Gilmore Girls virgin, that is something that will never change.
All four 90-minutes episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiere Friday, Nov. 25 on Netflix.