Now, the Palladinos will return to provide closure to a passionately loyal fanbase — and despite what history tells us about reboots, quite a few viewers have sky-high expectations already. Below you'll find a guide to the entire series, which we wrote when it first became available on Netflix in October 2014.
ORIGINAL POST, written 10/1/14:
Congratulations, Netflix viewers — soon, you will be able to finally understand all of those "Gilmore Girls" references tossed around so casually that make no sense to the average person. (From "Oy, with the poodles already" to "Copper boom!")
All seven seasons of the classic WB-turned-CW drama series are on Netflix starting Wednesday, but in case you would rather know the highlights before you get started (or just want a refresher), here's a helpful reminder from each season.
We shouldn't even have to say this, but spoilers abound.
Timeline: Rory's sophomore year of high school.
Key storylines: Season 1 is filled with introductions and setting up backstories that will drive the entire series. We learn that Lorelai (Lauren Graham) is a single mom to 16-year-old Rory (Alexis Bledel), a quiet but brilliant high school student who loves reading so much that she brings along a book to school dances. Lorelai got pregnant with Rory at age 16 and ran away from her wealthy, conservative parents shortly afterwards, finding work as a maid at an inn 30 miles away in a small town. While that led to a lifelong rift with her parents, it also meant an unusually close bond with Rory. The two are best friends and do everything together, which may seem strange — but they're frankly two of the most normal people in their quirky New England town of Stars Hollow, Conn.
Anyway, the show kicks off as Rory gets into a fancy private school, Chilton. Given that the tuition is astronomical, Lorelai is forced to go to her estranged parents and ask for money. It's quite difficult, as it's a point of pride that she never asked for help with anything. Her chilly relationship with her mother, Emily (Kelly Bishop) and Richard (Ed Herrman) gets even colder when they agree to pay for Rory's school, but in return, they want to be involved in Lorelai's life — and she and Rory must come for dinner every Friday night. We see Rory start to struggle through Chilton; Lorelai struggle with her parents; and learn more about the crazy Stars Hollow world. That includes life at the Independence Inn, which Lorelai now runs with her best friend, chef Sookie (Melissa McCarthy).
Love interests: Rory gets her first boyfriend, Dean (Jared Padelecki), which has its ups and downs: He builds her a car, but she fails to say a return "I love you" and they temporarily split. Lorelai dates Rory's teacher, Max (Scott Cohen), with disastrous consequences at first, though the season ends with their engagement. Her real soulmate is Luke (Scott Patterson), the gruff owner of the local diner — even though they flirt all the time and everyone thinks they're made for each other, they can't quite make a connection. Lorelai also has an ill-advised fling with her high school boyfriend and Rory's father, Christopher (David Sutcliffe).
Important side characters: Paris Gellar (Liza Weil), Rory's frenemy at Chilton; Tristan Dugray (Chad Michael Murray), a preppy jerk who is revealed to actually have a soul and a crush on Rory; Rachel (Lisa Ann Hadley), Luke's ex-girlfriend, who storms into town for a few episodes to break his heart again; Michel (Yanic Truesdale), the cranky concierge at the Independence Inn.
Best episode: "Kiss and Tell." Rory has her first kiss with Dean and tells her other best friend, Lane (Keiko Agena), but not Lorelai, who's hurt when she finds out the news from Lane's strict mother, Mrs. Kim (Emily Kuroda). Lorelai gets cool mom points when she invites Dean over for movie night, leading to an awkward and adorable first date.
Rank from 1 to 10: 8. Typical growing pains of a new show, but settles in remarkably quickly with rapid-fire dialogue and about a million obscure pop culture references.
Timeline: Rory's junior year of high school.
Key storylines: Lorelai's love life becomes infinitely more complicated when she breaks off her engagement with Max and starts bonding again with Christopher. Emily and Lorelai battle when Emily still feels left out of her daughter's life. Settled into Chilton, Rory is excelling at school but running into relationship problems, as Dean becomes Stage 5 clinger jealous of her new friendship with Luke's nephew, Jess (Milo Ventimiglia), who just moved to town. Richard is forced out of his high-powered insurance consultant job and opens his own company. Lorelai and Sookie finally make plans to open their own inn and have their sights set on restoring the old, rundown Dragonfly Inn — and are discouraged when its owner refuses to sell the property.
Love interests: Lorelai and Christopher are on the verge of getting back together after reconnecting all season, yet it all implodes when his girlfriend, Sherry (Madchen Amick), gets pregnant. Rory falls for the troublemaking Jess, though she tries to hide her feelings and maintain her relationship with Dean — but she winds up kissing Jess in the season finale.
Important side characters: Sherry, Christopher's impossibly perfect girlfriend; Mia (Elizabeth Franz), the owner of the Independence Inn who took Lorelai in as a teenager when she ran away from home with Rory; Sophie (Carole King), the owner of a music shop in Stars Hollow where Lane first realizes her love of the drums.
Best episode: "The Bracebridge Dinner." Lots of storylines collide on a magical evening when Lorelai and Sookie host an old-timey weekend at the inn and invite the whole town.
Rank from 1 to 10: 10. Pretty much a perfect season of television — with many delightful episodes — that wraps up with a killer cliffhanger.
Timeline: Rory's senior year of high school.
Key storylines: Much of this season revolves around Rory working toward her dream of getting into Harvard, as she throws herself into resume-building activities before graduation. That includes being vice president of the student council while Paris is president, which leads to chaos. It's all worth it as Rory gets into Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Paris has an epic meltdown when she's rejected by Harvard). Though Rory's persistently pressured by her grandparents to consider Yale — only a 30-minute drive from Stars Hollow and where Richard attended school — Lorelai is furious, as she doesn't want her parents involved with any decision. Eventually, it's clear that Rory likes Yale best and Lorelai just has to deal.
Love interests: Lorelai is still reeling from her break-up with Christopher — before the relationship even really began — so besides a few dates, she stays single most of the season. (She and Christopher eventually make up when Sherry gives birth to a baby girl.) Rory breaks up with Dean during a traumatic dance marathon situation and starts dating bad boy Jess, which is essentially a disaster. He stops going to school and isn't allowed to go to prom, and rather than tell Rory this embarrassing news, he ditches her and flees to California.
Important side characters: Francie (Emily Bergl), a school bully that drives a wedge between Rory and Paris; Jackson (Jackson Douglas), Sookie's husband; Nicole (Tricia O'Kelly), a lawyer who so does not seem like Luke's type, yet they end up dating; Peyton (Jon Hamm), who goes on one date with Lorelai and is only important because he's played by Jon Hamm; Alex (Billy Burke), briefly Lorelai's boyfriend who disappears without much notice; Lindsay (Arielle Kebbel), Dean's new girlfriend and eventual fiancee; Dave (Adam Brody), Lane's boyfriend and member of her band.
Best episode: "Those Are Strings, Pinocchio." Cliche to choose the season finale, but just try to get through Rory's graduation valedictorian speech without crying. Plus, Lorelai and Sookie bid on and finally acquire the Dragonfly Inn. And Rory asks Emily and Richard to pay for Yale, thereby ensuring (obligatory) Friday night dinners at the Gilmore house continue.
Rank from 1 to 10: 9. Mostly based on the flawless dance marathon episode, but really, all the relationships finally start to pay off.
Timeline: Rory's freshman year of college.
Key storylines: Rory heads to Yale, a major adjustment for both her and Lorelai, who spends most of the season going through the difficult process of renovating and opening the Dragonfly Inn. She encounters many obstacles, including running out of money and the fact that Sookie has a baby and isn't around to help out. Rory struggles to get used to a college workload and crazy roommates, which includes her own high school nemesis Paris. Emily and Richard start having major marriage problems when Richard goes into business with Jason (Chris Eigeman), the son of his professional enemy.
Love interests: Rory doesn't date anyone during her first year at Yale (and puts sweet Marty firmly into the friendzone) but bonds with Dean when he starts having problems with his wife, Lindsay. That leads to trouble as Rory and Dean wind up in bed together in the season finale — even though Dean is married. As for Lorelai, she decides against her better judgment to date Jason, treading carefully since he's in business with her father. Still, she and Luke get closer through the season — by the finale, they have a much-anticipated first kiss as they finally realize their feelings for each other.
Important side characters: Pals Madeline (Shelly Cole) and Louise (Teal Redmann) from Chilton return in a crucial spring break episode, convincing Rory to drunk dial Dean and spark their friendship; Pennilyn Lott (Linda Gehringer), Richard's college girlfriend whom Emily is shocked to learns still meets him for lunch once a year; Marty (Wayne Wilcox) Rory's friend from Yale that has a huge crush on her; Tana (Olivia Hack) and Janet (Katie Walder), Rory's other roommates at Yale; Liz (Kathleen Wilhoite), Luke's sister and Jess's mom.
Best episode: "Ted Koppel's Big Night Out." It's the beginning of the end for Emily and Richard once they run into Pennilyn Lott at the Harvard-Yale football game, as she spills details about her and Richard's secret lunches. Later, Lorelai goes on the most romantic grocery store date ever with Jason.
Rank from 1 to 10: 7. No show is ever the same when the main character goes off to college, and while there were plenty of high points with Rory at Yale, this one was no exception.
Timeline: Rory's sophomore year of college.
Key storylines: Rory's life gets turned upside down when she meets Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry), wealthy and privileged with lots of family money — the exact people Lorelai always warned her to avoid. The two wind up dating, and even though Logan's a notorious playboy, he's willing to give the whole "relationship" thing a try. Rory, with her lifelong goal to become a journalist, gets an internship at a newspaper owned by Logan's father Mitchum, a media titan. She's crushed when during a performance review, Mitchum tells her that she doesn't have what it takes to become a reporter. Devastated, Rory decides to do something crazy — she and Logan wind up stealing a yacht and get arrested. Afterward, Rory decides to take some time off from Yale to figure out what to do with her life, which sends a furious Lorelai into a tailspin. Emily and Richard separate for the first part of the season, but then reconcile and throw a lavish vow renewal.
Love interests: Besides dealing with running the newly-opened Dragonfly Inn, Lorelai's main plot involves a new fledgling relationship with Luke. They briefly break up when Emily orchestrates Christopher (who split from his girlfriend) to return and declare his love for Lorelai, but end up back together when Lorelai declares she'll write them both out of her life. (That doesn't last.) In the final scene of the season, Lorelai proposes to Luke. Rory has a much more tumultuous time — before she meets Logan, she decides to start dating Dean again after he divorces Lindsay. While their relationship had a rocky start (given the fact that they slept together while he was married, and his wife threw him out of the house), it gets even worse when they acknowledge they have nothing in common anymore in their very different worlds.
Important side characters: Mitchum (Gregg Henry) and Shira (Leann Hunley), Logan's parents who crush Rory's dreams and declare she's not good enough for their family; TJ (Michael DeLuise), Liz's husband and Luke's irritating brother-in-law.
Best episode: "Wedding Bell Blues." The 100th episode finds Emily's sabotage scheme for Luke and Lorelai's relationship in full force at Emily and Richard's vow renewal.
Rank from 1 to 10: 7. Still strong, but the whole "throw Rory in with the rich kid crowd" idea has ups and downs.
Timeline: Rory's junior year at Yale.
Key storylines: It's the year of The Lorelai and Rory Feud — the pair don't talk for nearly nine episodes, as Lorelai is incensed that Rory decided to drop out of school and live with Emily and Richard. Rory goes to court for the yacht theft and gets assigned hundreds of hours of community service. She grows closer to Logan and is in denial about everything until her ex, Jess, arrives for a wake-up call. Eventually, she makes up with Lorelai in a glorious reunion and goes back to Yale, where she decides to ignore Mitchum's pronouncements and pursue her career in journalism. She throws herself back into everything and even becomes editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News, inadvertently ousting Paris from the job.
Love interests: Lorelai and Luke have major problems after they get engaged and Luke starts dragging his feet about the wedding when it's revealed that (oops!) he has a 12-year-old secret daughter that his ex-girlfriend never told him about. It leads to so many fights that the two eventually split in the worst way possible. Christopher is back in the picture when he inherits money and starts paying for Rory's college tuition. Of course, he and Lorelai end up in bed together in the season finale. Rory's love life is troubled as well, as she and Logan temporarily break up after a big fight — and in the interim, he sleeps with a number of other women. Rory is furious until Logan gets in a horrible accident after drunkenly parachuting off a cliff, and the two make up. (Aww, young love.)
Important side characters: April (Vanessa Marano), Luke's daughter; Anna (Sherilyn Fenn), Luke's ex-girlfriend that failed to mention he had a daughter; Doyle (Danny Strong), Paris's boyfriend and the former editor of the Yale Daily News; Honor Huntzberger (Devon Sorari), Logan's sister.
Best episode: "A Vineyard Valentine." Rory and Logan invite Luke and Lorelai to Logan's family's Martha's Vineyard compound on Valentine's Day weekend, though it all blows up when Mitchum bursts in and drags Logan off to London for a business meeting.
Rank from 1 to 10: 5. No one — including Graham and Bledel — enjoyed that Rory and Lorelai were in a feud for so long, and April is pretty much the most hated plot device in "Gilmore Girl" history. Plus, Rory quitting school? Totally out of character.
Timeline: Rory's senior year at Yale.
Key storylines: In the aftermath of her break-up with Luke, Lorelai starts dating Christopher — then they get married! In Paris. (If this seems like a bizarre turn, it's because original creators Amy and Dan Sherman-Palladino left the show at this point, so things got weird with the replacement showrunner.) Luke spends lots of time bonding with April, since he's pretty much back to his hermit lifestyle once he's split with Lorelai. Lane (married to Zach from her band) gets pregnant with twins. Rory starts planning for life after college and is devastated when she doesn't land a prestigious internship at the New York Times. Luckily, in the final episode, she gets a job working for a Web site covering Barack Obama's campaign; so she's pretty much on her way to her dream of becoming a political reporter. Lorelai agrees to continue mending her slowly-improving relationship with her parents and continue Friday night dinners once Rory moves away.
Love interests: Rory is in a serious relationship with Logan all season, even when he is forced to go work in London for months. Yet when he proposes at the end of the season, she turns him down. Because she is only 22. (Agan, things got weird this season.) Lorelai and Christopher's marriage lasts exactly as long as you would expect — a few episodes — before they realized they're not really meant to be together. Christopher is insanely jealous of Lorelai and Luke's bond, which still remains even after their horrible break-up. At the end of the final episode, Luke and Lorelai embrace with a kiss, so apparently they'll end up together after all.
Important side characters: Gigi, Christopher's young daughter with Sherry; Lucy (Krysten Ritter) and Olivia (Michelle Ongkingco), Rory's annoying new friends at Yale after Logan leaves for London.
Best episode: "Bon Voyage." For nostalgia's sake, the series finale that featured nearly all of the important characters from over the years.
Rank from 1 to 10: 3. A pretty sad farewell for an excellent show — none of the characters made much sense anymore and the dialogue made us sad — but at least things ended on a somewhat happy note.