Television continues to be something of a volatile industry - for every hit, several shows (often quickly) don't make it. Once again, consumers in this day and age have many choices for entertainment, leaving television to be forced to up the ante in terms of providing content. Great comedies and dramas are now few-and-far-between, while only a few reality shows ("Amazing Race") offer any value. While I have never gotten a chance to watch "Gilmore Girls" very much, I have gotten drawn into the series while watching on DVD. While the series is now over, it remained one of the bigger hits for the merger channel of UPN and WB, the CW.
The show takes place in a small town in Connecticut and focuses on a 32-year-old mother, Lorelai (Lauren Graham, finally finding her place to shine after a series of supporting roles) and her 16-year-old daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). The two operate as sisters and best friends instead of the traditional mother/daughter pairing, but they're there for each other and Lorelai really listens and respects her daughter. When Rory finds herself accepted into a private school early in the series, Lorelai sees her chance to offer her daughter the kind of experiences that she didn't have - which also means heading to the wealthy parents she'd broken off talking with to try and ask for money. Given their return to involvement in their daughter's life in an early season, Lorelai's parents want to see her and Rory more often.
The show does remind me somewhat of "Dawson's Creek" in ways - the small-town setting, the witty dialogue that doesn't seem particularly realistic - but I have to say that I enjoyed "Gilmore" more. The show doesn't seem as if it focuses on an "issue" each week, but slides into issues and topics as a result of developments and interactions between characters. The unrealistic aspects of the witty dialogue are easy to overlook because the humor is often genuinely funny (some of the one-liners are really terrific) and the emotional moments between characters genuinely moving. The supporting characters are funny and well-played, especially the inn staff that Lorelai often nearly goes crazy trying to manage.
The performances are superb, as well. Lauren Graham is wonderfully likable as Lorelai. Warm and witty, you want her to succeed in trying to get the best for her daughter. She shifts easily between portraying a woman who tries to be a mature, responsible mother and someone who is a wonderful friend to her daughter, listening to her ideas and loving being able to share in her bright, intelligent daughter's experiences while she grows up. The two have great chemistry and are really one of the finest mother/daughter TV pairings in a while.
The sixth season of the series was the final one for co-creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, leaving producer David Rosenthal ("Spin City") to take the reigns for the final season. The sixth season opens with Lorelai proposing to Luke and not on speaking terms with Rory, who is living with her grandparents and facing community service for stealing a boat. While Lorelai and Rory make-up and Rory gets back on the right track, Lorelai's relationship with Luke hits rocky patches, especially when he finds out that he has a daughter.
The seventh, and final season of Gilmore Girls began where it left off, with Lorelai in bed with Rory’s father, Christopher (David Sutcliffe) after having a fight with fiancé, Luke. This will be the basis of the entire last season, as Lorelai and Luke break up and Lorelai immediately rushes to Christopher for support and eventual dating. The moment Lorelai begins dating Christopher is the moment the series begins to feel like an entirely different show; a show that has no idea who Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are. The first half of the seventh season has Lorelai spending most of her time with Christopher, trying to avoid Luke, trying to repair any disappointed feelings that her break-up with Luke might have caused her neighbors, and of course trying to explain to Rory why she slept with Christopher in the first place. The relationship with Lorelai and Christopher seems unnecessary as it further emphasizes my point that the seventh season abandons the essence of these characters for a good ten episodes. After all, in the past seasons, Amy Sherman-Palladino made it very clear that Lorelai, though human, was a very strong woman. The seventh season, minus Sherman-Palladino’s influence (she left the show after the sixth season due to contract problems with the studio) saw Lorelai as weaker and not quite herself. Not to mention the dialogue wasn’t quite as snappy and quick witted san Sherman-Palladino.
While Lorelai was busy playing house with Christopher, Rory was completing her final year at Yale. Her relationship with Logan continues as rocky as it did in prior seasons, however by the middle of the final season, they seem to be somewhat normal together, which makes for a nice break. The show focuses on Rory’s uncertainty concerning her future, and it’s handled very well. She meets new friends, makes a few mistakes, and tries to discover exactly who she wants to become after Yale. The final episodes of the season are especially stressful for Rory as she has difficulty getting a job with any newspaper, which only propels her worry despite everyone’s belief in her.
A lot takes place in the seventh season from Lane’s pregnancy (and birth of twins), to Richard’s heart attack, to Logan’s business mishap, to Luke spending time with daughter April, to Sookie’s unexpected pregnancy, even a few proposals tossed around add to the flare, and of course there are the usual wacky town meetings and humorous gatherings Stars Hallow always put together (see Hale Bale Maze and Knit, People, Knit). Though the season started off disappointing, the second half found itself rediscovering, if not remembering, exactly who Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are. Some particularly wonderful episodes include: Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls Only, It’s Just Like Riding a Bike, Lorelai? Lorelai?, and the final episode that makes you wish for more, Bon Voyage.
Season 7 CW
132. 7- 1 26 Sep 06 The Long Morrow
133. 7- 2 3 Oct 06 That's What You Get, Folks, For Makin' Whoopee
134. 7- 3 10 Oct 06 Lorelai's First Cotillion
135. 7- 4 17 Oct 06 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous
136. 7- 5 24 Oct 06 The Great Stink
137. 7- 6 7 Nov 06 Go, Bulldogs!
138. 7- 7 14 Nov 06 French Twist
139. 7- 8 21 Nov 06 Introducing Lorelai Planetarium
140. 7- 9 28 Nov 06 Knit, People, Knit!
141. 7-10 5 Dec 06 Merry Fisticuffs
142. 7-11 23 Jan 07 Santa's Secret Stuff
143. 7-12 30 Jan 07 To Whom It May Concern
144. 7-13 6 Feb 07 I'd Rather Be In Philadelphia
145. 7-14 13 Feb 07 Farewell, My Pet
146. 7-15 20 Feb 07 I'm a Kayak, Hear Me Roar
147. 7-16 27 Feb 07 Will You Be My Lorelai Gilmore?
148. 7-17 6 Mar 07 Gilmore Girls Only
149. 7-18 17 Apr 07 Hay Bale Maze
150. 7-19 24 Apr 07 It's Just Like Riding a Bike
151. 7-20 1 May 07 Lorelai? Lorelai?
152. 7-21 8 May 07 Unto The Breach
153. 7-22 15 May 07 Bon Voyage
VIDEO: The seventh season "Gilmore" episodes are once again presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Warner Brothers. The picture quality is a bit of a step up from the debut season's offerings. Sharpness and detail is generally about broadcast quality, as the picture appeared crisp and fairly well-defined for the most part. Some scenes appeared a tad soft at times, but not terribly so.
Some minor grain and shimmering were the only real concerns present during the episodes. A trace or two of pixelation were also spotted, but hardly were a distraction. Colors remained bright and vivid, with no smearing or other faults. Flesh tones were also largely accurate and natural.
SOUND: The episodes are presented in 2.0 audio. Dialogue and music remained crisp and well-recorded, with no concerns. As expected, there's not a great detail of audio activity present in this dialogue-driven drama.
EXTRAS: Unfortunately, just a few basics: an additional scene from episode 5, "Gilmore Fashionistas", "A Best Friend's Peek Inside the Gilmore Girls With Keiko Agena", "Who Wants to Talk Boys" montage and "Kirk's Tour of Star's Hollow". Unforuntately, it's a pretty thin selection of material - it would have been nice for the stars to offer a commentary for the final episode.
Final Thoughts: The final season of "Gilmore" has a rocky start, but things gradually recover on the way to an enjoyable finale. The DVD set for the season offers little in the way of supplements, but fine audio/video quality. Recommended for fans.