You may have noticed that when news broke that “Gilmore Girls” would finally be available on Netflix Instant starting Oct. 1, there were a lot of exclamation points. And all-caps freakouts. And really, really excited gifs.
In case you’re unaware of the spell that “Gilmore Girls” cast on millennials back when the series aired on the WB (and eventually CW) from 2000 to 2007, allow us to explain why this is a big deal. In a nutshell: The show is finally available to the masses, which feels like a small but triumphant win for a brilliant show that never really got the recognition — or farewell — it deserved.
“Gilmore Girls” was always an especially heartfelt TV series that, to its fans, was extremely personal. Something about the whip-smart writing, obscure pop culture references and dynamic characters — with the ability to expertly mix both outlandish and quiet scenes together– made it feel like you were watching something special, something that doesn’t come along too often on TV.
Ignored completely by the mainstream awards, it was simultaneously under the radar while being loved by millions. That’s the way it generally was for WB and CW series, though — no matter how witty or well-acted, the Emmy Awards and Golden Globes steered clear.
The drama, starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as a dynamic mother-daughter duo, was different from everything else on television. It was a family drama — Lorelai got pregnant with Rory when she was 16, setting up an eternally difficult relationships with her wealthy, conservative parents — but still funny. The show defined snark and fast-talking dialogue before that became typical. Before nerds took over TV, Rory made it cool to read books and do homework for fun.
It left a rare mark on pop culture the way a show only can when people deeply care about the characters. Even seven years later, people still talk about whether Lorelai and Luke (Scott Patterson) were right together. There are fierce debates about whether Rory should have ended up with Dean (Jared Padalecki), Jess (Milo Ventimiglia) or Logan (Matt Czuchry). To many, Oscar-nominated “Bridesmaids” star Melissa McCarthy will always be Sookie, Lorelai’s eccentric best friend.
However, the show never really had closure, which is the worst thing you can do to a show with a particularly passionate fanbase. The unique feel of the series was mostly due to the quirky, creative minds of its creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino. Therefore, it was especially painful when the show ended badly: The duo walked away before the seventh and final season, after lengthy negotiations with Warner Bros. studios went south.
As you can tell in this interview with the Palladinos at the time, there was a lot of raw emotion and anger involved in the decision to leave. Either way, the series definitively lost its spark after they left. Storylines went awry, and the ending was largely considered a disappointment. (Even to Graham, who had some issues with the way the show wrapped up at first.) It all ended on a sour note, and on many levels, viewers felt cheated.
The other aspect that twisted the knife: There wasn’t an easy way to rewatch the show afterward, aside from DVDs, so it almost felt gone forever. ABC Family had reruns, but the series wasn’t available on an accessible platform to relive over and over. As we all know, that’s the current way to build up a true sense of nostalgia, and to spread the lore of the show to a broader audience who missed it the first time around.
Now, that’s finally changed, and a small victory for a series that had an effect on so many. Starting Oct. 1, look for your social media feeds to be cluttered with “Gilmore Girls” quotes and photos — in an era before memes and gifs, the series was tailor-made for both. (And even more people can keep annoying Graham about plans for a reunion movie.)
A Netflix rep said the company couldn’t confirm the terms of the deal, but that its subscribers should consider “Gilmore Girls” in the regular library of TV series. In other words, a piece of good news: After a rocky ending, the show isn’t going away anytime soon.