Gilmore Girls fans were ecstatic last week when the Netflix revival became officially official, with everyone’s minds immediately turning circles trying to figure out what will happen to their favorite characters in the four-episode miniseries. With original showrunner and writer Amy Sherman-Palladino back at the helm and most of the original cast back in action, surely there is no reason to fear? Well, yes and no. Sherman-Palladino ran things for the first six seasons before abandoning ship due to contract disputes before the seventh and final season. That last season saw a steep drop in quality, making it clear that Sherman-Palladino had a magical touch when writing her two fast-talking coffee addicts. Additionally, the Gilmore Girls cast is one of the best ensembles in recent television, and with a majority of them returning, there is a good chance that they can recapture the magic. There have been a bunch of shows recently revived, and the Gilmore Girls team can learn plenty from those that have gone before and avoid the pitfalls of other ventures.
Make it more than just wish fulfillment for fans.
It seems ungenerous to mention the Veronica Mars film as a cautionary tale. Fans clamored for it, even contributing to its creation through a massive Kickstarter project, and everyone was more than ready to return to Neptune. However, it felt like good will and high expectations put creator Rob Thomas in a box and he consequently made a pleasant, but ultimately forgettable film. It played like fan fiction writ large, which seems fun until you’re left with an empty feeling — and that never happened while the show was on the air. The recent X-Files revival, while flawed, does do one thing well: By having the X-Files division shut down and Mulder and Scully broken up, the show has torn down some of the show’s pillars, giving it a chance to rebuild them in new and creative ways.
Play on the show’s strengths.
Arrested Development fans were stoked for the show’s return to Netflix for a fourth season, but few were satisfied with the results. There were glimmers of what made the show so great, but the revival never quite gelled. Part of that was due to the fact that the cast was mostly split up, filming separately due to busy schedules. The quick and hilarious interplay between the cast was the best part of Arrested Development, and it couldn’t quite reach its previous highs with a far-flung cast. Similarly, the witty repartee between characters, especially the Gilmore girls themselves, is what drove the original show. The show’s sixth season began with Rory and Lorelai in the midst of a falling out and not speaking. It was an excruciating handful of episodes, and showed how critical that central relationship is. While the Gilmore Girls cast isn’t quite as in-demand as the main players of Arrested Development, the issue remains the same: please don’t splinter the core relationships.
Stay relevant, but not desperately so.
Full House and Gilmore Girls are not remotely the same show, but did you see the video above? It haunts my dreams. Fuller House isn’t even out yet and I’m already embarrassed for everyone involved. Gilmore Girls is a show that lives and dies by pop culture references, but still manages to feel timeless at the same time. Stars Hollow has always felt like a time capsule from a simpler time, so that should remain untouched. No one wants an Apple Store next to Dosey’s Market.
Keep the character development natural.
As much as we’d like for characters to remain in suspended animation, it wouldn’t make sense for the characters to be exactly the same after a nearly 10-year absence. That is one thing that can be said for the Veronica Mars film: the characters were in places that made sense. Of course Piz worked at NPR. Wallace was always going to stay in Neptune. Of course Logan dated a coked-out pop star and was framed for murder, again. The characters had changed, but in ways that made sense. Character development was always a strong suit of Sherman-Palladino’s. Even when the characters were screwing up, it felt right. (This does not include everything that Lorelai did in season seven, because that was the worst of the worst.) Instead of giving fans exactly what they want (Christopher dead in a freak accident, Emily and Miss Patty in a loving and committed relationship after Richard passed away), stick to what would make the most sense for the characters.