As of press time, we're still nine long days away from the debut of "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life."
But for a few lucky TV critics, Thanksgiving weekend came just a little bit early thanks to Netflix ... and since we love you like Lorelai loves coffee, we're here to sum up what TV's top minds are saying about the return of Stars Hollow:
Variety says "it is television at its most warm and reassuring," and that "“Gilmore Girls” continues to owe a great deal of its success to Lauren Graham."
"She slips back into creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s rat-a-tat dialogue without missing a beat, and her nuanced performance as Lorelai Gilmore supplies the show’s beating heart," Mo Ryan writes. "The 'girls' in this narrative ... can sometimes be monstrously selfish or annoyingly oblivious, and it’s not always clear that the show is aware of how grating the Gilmores can be at their most narcissistic or even cruel.
But Graham and Bishop in particular are masters of imbuing their evasive characters with layers of pain, yearning and compassion, and Graham’s chemistry with Bledel remains charming. For this program to work, the love these women have for each other must remain palpable, and it is, certainly in some scenes near the end that are likely to bring a tear to the eye."
However, Ryan also claims that the show goes too far with its Logan plot, writing "that particular subplot tends to go in circles without acquiring much in the way of depth or texture."
Entertainment Weekly says the story honors the late Edward Herrmann ... and the "final four words."
Of "Fall," Jensen writes,
"The fate of Richard Gilmore ... catalyzes much of the plot," Jeff Jensen writes of the "Winter" installment. "There’s a flashback sequence in 'Winter' that’s quite poignant, and it also effectively recharges the testy, resentment-packed Emily-Lorelai relationship. The story honors Herrmann without sentimentalizing Richard, a complicated figure to Lorelai; a portrait of Richard that’s a beautiful gesture and hilarious sight gag symbolizes an attempt to do many things at once."
"You get the legendary final four words. They might inspire want for another set of episodes ASAP, but as I imagined what that story might be, I found myself content with letting that story be just that: something that unspools only in our imagination. 'Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life' feels like a summary statement about the characters and their relationship to each other, even as it ends on a note that says nothing ever ends or fully resolves, not really. Life goes on, circumstances will change (or won’t), and we all have to figure out how to keep loving each other better, no matter what happens next. I don’t need another 'Year in the Life' to know if the Gilmore girls and the good people of Stars Hollow will rise to that challenge. But if Sherman-Palladino leads with more, I will follow."
USA Today says "time has passed, and relationships have changed, but there’s nothing or no one fans won’t recognize and newcomers won’t be able to figure out."
Writer Robert Bianco wasn't a fan of the "Summer" installment's musical episode, writing
"Even the combined gifts of [guest stars] Christian Borle and Sutton Foster can't quite excuse a musical sequence that defies belief and owes far too much to Christopher Guest's parody 'Waiting for Guffman' and Borle’s own 'Something Rotten.'"
Also, Bianco notes that "you get much less of Melissa McCarthy’s Sookie than most would like, and much more of Sean Gunn’s Kirk than some will like. But overall, the balance feels about right."
Vulture was less kind, saying "there’s something about the sameness of Stars Hollow that feels less quaint in 'A Year in the Life' than it did during the run of the series."
"The town, some of its inhabitants, and even those who live a few miles away, like Lorelai’s parents, were always pretty tethered to the traditional," Jen Chaney writes. "Given their disdain for snobbery and their appreciation of the quirky, Lorelai and Rory often acted as a counterpoint to all that, although even their fixation on old films and TV shows was, in some ways, an endorsement of the past over the present. But even mother and daughter, at times, come across as more judgmental and petty than they did before. (They make some unnecessary fat jokes, for example, that should be beneath their characters.)"
Hollywood Reporter writes that it's "flawed, but a must for fans" — and that Rory's old boyfriends grow stale, fast.
"Bledel is hamstrung by the arrested development the writers built into Rory's college tenure," Daniel Fienberg writes "It made sense that Rory regressed into rebellion in later seasons after beginning as wise-beyond-her-years, but it was also frustrating and it's even more frustrating now, all these years later. Bledel plays what she's given well. She also can't help that Sherman-Palladino, and fans as well I suppose, is hung up on the same guys (Matt Czuchry's Logan and Milo Ventimiglia's Jess play prominent roles here) as in the series, without any hint of moving on. I guess if you're a fan hung up on the idea of Rory and Logan or Rory and Jess, this will play for you, but as a viewer who thought all of the men in Rory's lives were phases she needed to move through and that none of them ever felt like an 'answer,' it's annoying to find this unchanged."