Denise Neil

‘Gilmore Girls’ even better second time around

Lauren Graham, left, and Alexis Bledel star in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”
Lauren Graham, left, and Alexis Bledel star in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Courtesy photo

I’m watching “Gilmore Girls” again, and it’s way better this time.

This time around, I – like main character Lorelai Gilmore – have a super-smart daughter to watch it with, and I love her company as much as Lorelai loves Rory’s.

“Gilmore Girls” has been off the air since 2007, when it ended its seven-year, 154-episode run. It’s making a big, though brief, comeback on Friday when Netflix releases a four-part series called “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Each episode will be 90 minutes long, and nearly all of the original cast members, led by Lauren Graham as Lorelai and Alexis Bledel as Rory, will appear.

The new episodes are set in the present, meaning eight years have also passed for the characters. Viewers will get to know Rory as a career woman, Lorelai as a practiced empty nester and Lorelai’s mother, Emily, as a longtime widow, still mourning the death of her husband, Richard, who was played by the late Edward Hermann. Each of the four episodes will be set in one of the four seasons, and all of the important characters will be back, including Luke, Christopher, all of Rory’s boyfriends, Melissa McCarthy as Sookie and all of the oddball townspeople, from Taylor to Kirk to Miss Patty.

The new miniseries also will be helmed by the show’s creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Daniel Palladino. They backed out of the show for its seventh and final season after a contract dispute, and most devoted fans were unhappy about how the show ended. This go-round will give them the long-awaited chance to see how the series was supposed to end.

I was a dedicated fan during the original run, and I watched it all, waiting – as I recently explained to my shocked, Netflix-spoiled daughter – an entire week between episodes and months and months between seasons. But I hadn’t thought much about “Gilmore Girls” in the nine years since the finale.

Then, last month, I wrote about the Luke’s Diner event that happened at Reverie Coffee Roasters, and I was reminded about the show’s allure. The event, meant as a promotion for the Netflix miniseries, turned 200 coffee shops across the country into Luke’s Diner for a day. The shops got signs identifying themselves as Luke’s, which is the fictional coffee shop in the series, and they gave away cups of coffee in paper cups printed with Luke’s logo.

Cute, I thought. But I was unprepared for the hundreds of people I saw at Reverie that day. Fans stood in lines that literally wrapped around the block, and they waited for hours for a not-very-valuable freebie. But that wasn’t the point.

The people gathered said they just wanted to relive a little Gilmore goodness and commune with fellow fans. I was surprised how many of them were college-aged, meaning they were toddlers when the show first aired. But, like my own daughter, they’d discovered the show in a commercial-free, binge-friendly format and were consumed by it.

And it’s easy for that to happen. Even though I’ve seen all the episodes, my brain only remembers the main plot lines, and it’s fun to once again hear all the fast-paced, witty, pop-culture laden dialogue the show became known for – even though that pop culture is now hopelessly out of date. (We’ve had to hit pause frequently so I could explain to my 11-year-old a reference to “Dawson’s Creek” or RuPaul.)

But the overall themes of mother-daughter love, friendship and girl power are just as relevant, if not more so, today. And Stars Hollow – the dreamy, friendly, tiny New England town where Lorelai lives and where everyone knows everyone and town festivals in the square are a daily occurrence – feels more than ever like an ideal place hide out from the rest of the world.

Denise Neil: 316-268-6327, @deniseneil

‘Gimore Girls: A Year in the Life’

What: A four-part series that checks back in with the cast of the show, which originally aired from 2000 to 2007

When: It will be released at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, which is 2:01 a.m. Central time

Where: On Netflix, a paid streaming service. Sign up at Netflix.com.

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