‘GIL­MORE GIRLS’ RE­TURNS

‘A Year in the Life,’ four new 90-minute episodes, ar­rive on Net­flix to­day

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LIFE - By Rob Low­man South­ern Cal­i­for­nia News Group Contact Rob Low­man at rlow­man@scng.com or @RobLow­man1 on Twit­ter.

Can you go home again? Will they still love you? Will it feel the same?

These are ques­tions the “Gil­more Girls” and its fans are ask­ing.

The beloved se­ries that ran from 2000-’07 on the WB and later CW net­works has been re­vived for four hotly an­tic­i­pated 90-minute chap­ters, each launch­ing glob­ally on Net­flix to­day.

When the “Gil­more Girls” de­buted, it told the story of a close re­la­tion­ship be­tween a 32-year-old mother (Lau­ren Gra­ham as Lore­lai Gil­more) and her 16-year-old daugh­ter (Alexis Bledel as Rory Gil­more). Their sto­ries were of­ten en­twined in the lives of the ec­cen­tric char­ac­ters in their cozy town of Stars Hol­low, Con­necti­cut and vis­its to Luke’s Diner.

“It’s amaz­ing to know that peo­ple are ea­gerly await­ing the re­lease of these episodes and have loved the show all these years,” says the now 35-year-old Bledel who is repris­ing her role as Rory.

“I think it’s be­cause it’s ex­tremely com­fort­ing in a world that is lack­ing com­fort,” says Gra­ham, now 49, about the en­dur­ing ap­peal of “GG.”

Un­der the head­ing “A Year in the Life,” the four new episodes will bring back a num­ber of the orig­i­nal char­ac­ters from the show, in­clud­ing Emily Gil­more, Lore­lai’s tough mother (Kelly Bishop) and Luke Danes, owner of the diner and Lore­lai’s other half (Scott Pat­ter­son). The new se­ries will also pay trib­ute to the late Ed­ward Her­rmann who played Lore­lai’s fa­ther. The ac­tor died in 2014.

The four episodes — writ­ten, di­rected and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by se­ries cre­ator Amy Sher­man-Pal­ladino — de­picts each sea­son over a year in Stars Hol­low. Of course, noth­ing much hap­pens in the pic­turesque berg. The in­stal­la­tion of a new sewer sys­tem is the is­sue at hand, but “Gil­more Girls” al­ways pro­vided an emo­tional land­scape for its fans.

At its heart, it has al­ways been about the in­cred­i­ble bond of love be­tween Lore­lai and Rory, which is ren­dered so en­gag­ingly that it’s fair to say ev­ery­one might wish to have a re­la­tion­ship like that.

“It’s not a story about a lit­tle girl who’s in high school any­more,” says Gra­ham about the new show. “It’s a story about a young woman and kind of the strug­gles she faces.”

Yet the ac­tress notes that the dy­nam­ics be­tween Lore­lai and her mother and be­tween Lore­lai and Rory re­main the same even if they have grown older.

In the orig­i­nal story, the young Lore­lai Gil­more had fled her dis­ap­prov­ing par­ents in up­scale Hart­ford at 16 to give birth to a daugh­ter, Rory, and re­make her life in Stars Hol­low.

As warm as Rory’s re­la­tion­ship is with Lore­lai, the one be­tween Rory’s mother and grand­mother is chilly. Of­ten, Rory finds her­self try­ing to make peace be­tween them, and as she grew older, tried to find her place be­tween the two strong women.

The sto­ry­line for the new sea­son finds all three of the Gil­more women fac­ing new chal­lenges in their lives. Though Rory grad­u­ated from Yale and be­gan a ca­reer in jour­nal­ism when the se­ries ended in 2007, she now finds her­self un­able to land a full-time job and must scram­ble around free­lanc­ing.

Lore­lai is still to­gether with Luke, but she is un­sure about what to do with her life and feels some­what in a rut. Emily finds her­self alone and still cop­ing with the death of her hus­band.

Sher­man-Pal­ladino says what is great about writ­ing for the show is that “it never was go­ing to run out of con­flict. It wasn’t just a show about a high school girl and her mom. Even­tu­ally it be­came about two women. Sud­denly, they can have cock­tails to­gether. They can sit and drink and talk.”

One thing “Gil­more Girls” was fa­mous for was its witty, rapid-fire ban­ter. That won’t change in its new in­car­na­tion.

Gra­ham says it’s her fa­vorite part of this show. “Hav­ing done a dif­fer­ent type of lan­guage en­tirely on ‘Par­ent­hood,’ I was ac­tu­ally kind of crav­ing this kind of struc­ture, slightly more the­atri­cal, el­e­vated,” says the ac­tress. “It brought me back to the first time I read this part and fell in love with it. It just feels like such a per­fect fit. I just couldn’t be­lieve I got to do it again.”

Net­flix found there was still an appetite for “Gil­more Girls” af­ter it picked up all 153 of the orig­i­nal episodes a few years ago.

Since the char­ac­ters were older and changed, Sher­man-Pal­ladino didn’t want the new show to ap­pear static.

Some of it will be fa­mil­iar. The show was able to bring back Melissa McCarthy and Milo Ven­timiglia (“This Is Us”) who had been sup­port­ing ac­tors in the orig­i­nal se­ries for arcs in the new episodes.

Some of it won’t. There is even a fake mu­si­cal writ­ten into the new show, in­volv­ing Tony Award-win­ners Sut­ton Fos­ter and Chris­tian Borle. The pair ap­pear as part of a re­gional theater troupe. There are also four songs from Jea­nine Tesori, the com­poser of “Fun Home” and “Vi­o­let.”

“I don’t think we would have wanted to have brought back any­thing that re­sem­bled a tra­di­tional se­ries,” says Sher­man-Pal­ladino. “Net­flix was re­ally, re­ally open to a new for­mat. So we pitched ex­actly what we ended up with, which was four 90-minute chap­ters tak­ing place over the course of a year. In the old days, there just wouldn’t have been an out­let for that.”

The writer adds, it was won­der­ful to be able to get in a room with these ac­tors “and go at it again but in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way.”

In the new episodes, Bledel’s char­ac­ter is now the age her mother was at the start of the se­ries, and fans are won­der­ing about her ro­man­tic life.

Bledel says all her ex-boyfriends will make an ap­pear­ance in the new chap­ters in one way or an­other. Matt Czuchry’s Lo­gan and Ven­timiglia’s Jess do have prom­i­nent roles in the new episodes.

“It was great to work with all of them again,” she says, but the ac­tress wouldn’t give up any­thing about any new love in­ter­ests.

Gra­ham says the chance to do “Gil­more Girls” again was like get­ting to go back to col­lege when you’re re­ally ready.

“What an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to have and how rare the time is,” says the ac­tress. “We were given the gift to get to go back know­ing those things, and it just felt re­ally emo­tional.”

Lau­ren Gra­ham, left, and Alexis Bledel in a scene from, “Gil­more Girls: A Year In The Life,” pre­mier­ing to­day on Net­flix.

PHO­TOS BY SAEED ADYANI — NET­FLIX VIA AP

From left, Scott Pat­ter­son, Lau­ren Gra­ham and Alexis Bledel in a scene from, “Gil­more Girls: A Year In The Life,” pre­mier­ing to­day on Net­flix.

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