Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life has a full trailer but will Emmy care?
Full confession: I have never seen more than a single clip from Gilmore Girls. You can thank Megan and Thanksgiving for that. Lorelai. Rory. Luke. Sookie. These names reverberated throughout pop culture and Entertainment Weekly, but they never resonated with me. So, my reaction to the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life trailer isn’t quite as strong as many of yours may have been. And that’s totally fine. That’s the beauty of TV these days. There’s more than enough for everyone. Basically, if you can’t find something to watch, then you’re not trying very hard.
Anyway, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life arrives Thanksgiving weekend on Netflix after departing The CW in May 2007. Most of the main cast returns including Lauren Graham (Lorelai), Alexis Bledel (Rory), and Melissa McCarthy (Sookie). Edward Herrmann (Richard Gilmore) passed away on December 31, 2014. The new production chose not to recast his role, and his memory looms large (literally) in the trailer to some comic effect.
The new limited series reportedly gracefully continues from the Season 7 departure. It will consist of four, 90-minute episodes paired with seasons of the year – “Winter,” “Spring,” “Summer,” and “Fall.” Press notes call the return “a gift to the fans that have supported the series and made it clear they weren’t quite ready to say goodbye.” Just in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend, no doubt.
The original Gilmore Girls run received a decent amount of awards attention from most major bodies – with one notable exception. Star Lauren Graham received nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Satellite, and Television Critics Association Awards. While Graham failed to win any of these awards, the series itself did win New Program of the Year from the TCAs. Emmy only recognized the critically acclaimed series once with a win in 2004 for Outstanding Makeup in a Series. That doesn’t bode well for A Year in the Life.
With the rebooted limited series, the first question is category placement. The X-Files, another sentimental cult favorite, recently rebooted itself with a series continuation earlier this year. Despite more favorable placement within the Limited Series categories, The X-Files 2017 run positioned itself as a 10th season, thereby meriting Emmy consideration for the overstuffed Drama categories. It received zero Emmy nominations.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life likely has an easier time with category placement. Nothing in press materials specifically calls this a “Limited Series” or “TV Movie.” In fact, they’re very cagey about how exactly they’re going to brand the series. Right now, they’re calling it an “event,” which doesn’t really clarify anything at all. Since it doesn’t unfold over the traditional hour-long format (as The X-Files did) and since it doesn’t offer a follow-up series (yet, as The X-Files eventually did), it’s likely that Gilmore Girls best fits in the Limited Series categories. That feels right honestly. Outside of that category, it would have to petition the Television Academy for placement in the Comedy Series category given the 90-minute running time of each episode. It wouldn’t stand a chance in Drama Series.
However, the Limited Series categories are incredibly stuffed already. Some early high quality entries include The Night Of, and upcoming presumably high quality entries boast HBO’s Big Little Lies, Ryan Murphy’s Feud, Fargo Season 3, and HBO’s The Young Pope. Will Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life stand with those high-powered entries? Will Lauren Graham break into the Lead Actress in a Limited Series category that potentially contains some of Hollywood’s most legendary modern actresses (Jessica Lange, Susan Sarandon, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, or Michelle Pfeiffer)?
Critics will have to come through for this one in a really big way. Presumably they will given the series’ history unless the production pulls an Arrested Development Season 4 and tries to shake up the formula. The trailer indicates none of this, though. Golden Globe nominations will help and are much more likely as the Hollywood Foreign Press once recognized Graham. That was only once out of seven seasons, though. SAG nominations feel more likely to recognize the return of Lauren Graham to the role.
Right now, I’d say this “event” is strictly one for the fans, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It will be a different game completely if critics and awards bodies come through for the show.
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premieres November 25 on Netflix.