There are three groups of television fans out there — the ones who love and worship “Gilmore Girls,” the ones who can’t stand it, and the ones who haven’t had a chance to make up their minds about it because the show’s never been available on streaming subscription services.
So, two out of three of those groups should consider themselves very lucky about the news that as of October 1, the Lauren Graham/Alexis Bledel-starring dramedy will be available on Netflix. Like any television show worth talking about, “Gilmore Girls” possesses unique qualities that mean it’s not for everyone. But it might just be for you.
It was a career-launcher.
Since the end of the series, Graham and Bledel haven’t just been sitting around reading and drinking too much coffee — Graham found steady work on another undervalued quality drama, NBC’s “Parenthood,” while Bledel had a memorable guest role on the fifth season of “Mad Men.”
Beyond its leads, though, the show’s also notable for bringing us Melissa McCarthy in her first series role and giving Jared Padalecki the exposure he and fangirls needed to power “Supernatural” for 10 seasons now. Milo Ventimiglia, Matt Czuchry, Chad Michael Murray and Adam Brody also spent time in Stars Hollow — it was an essential training ground for attractive young men in the early 2000s.
It was another great example of auteur TV.
Hailing from the same era of television that made Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin into icons, “Gilmore Girls” featured many of the same qualities that made “Buffy” and “West Wing” so beloved — great actors, quality production values and dialogue so distinctive that you could pick it out of a line-up, blindfolded. And that came directly from series showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino (who created the show with her husband Dan).
While not necessarily everyone’s taste, the speed-talking and pop culture references made sure that “Gilmore Girls” sounded like nothing else on television, and proved Sherman-Palladino’s importance to the show when, after her departure at the end of Season 6, the series struggled to recapture her voice. When discussing the history of auteur television, Sherman-Palladino’s name frankly does not come up enough, and that’s a shame.
It was unappreciated in its time (and still unappreciated now).
One cause for that, it has to be said, may come down to the fact that it was a show about women, starring women and created by a woman — an equation which has a hard time adding up to respect in a culture focused on celebrating the middle-aged male antihero.
But beyond gender issues, it feels like the reason “Gilmore Girls” has gone so underappreciated today is more due to the question of exposure: When it was on the air, it was often overlooked because it was airing on the same network as less accomplished teen-skewing series. (Yes, “Buffy” and “Angel” were also great shows that premiered on the WB, but they were, like “Gilmore,” outliers that went unappreciated in their time.)
And since “Gilmore” went off the air, the only way to watch was to spend hundreds of dollars on DVDs or iTunes downloads, which is why the time is right for a new digitally savvy audience to discover Stars Hollow. Meanwhile, those of us who didn’t properly appreciate the show’s charms will get a second chance as well.
Confession: I didn’t have the chance before, but I can’t wait to experience the show from start to finish.