Every season of Gilmore Girls ranked
The glow and the charm of movies and television shows from the 2000s is hard to come by in today’s modern releases. Watching these titles now feels warm and lighthearted — almost like our mainstream, must-see entertainment wasn’t as serious and gritty as it is now. Luckily, these relics can still be found on DVD and streaming services. Gilmore Girls, perhaps one of the most delightful pieces of television from the 2000s, is no exception.
Gilmore Girls follows the daily lives of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, a witty single mother and her equally bubbly teenage daughter, in their quaint New England town of Stars Hollow. The show lasted seven seasons — over 150 episodes — before its cancellation in 2007. Fans didn’t feel like the season seven finale was the end, though. It took nine years, but thanks to their dedicated persistence, the diehard fanbase gathered enough support to convince Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino to revive the series for four feature-length episodes on Netflix. Each season takes place over the course of one year, but the show feels reminiscent of fall no matter what month it’s in — because of this, it always manages to feel comforting and safe. We’ve ranked them all below, from coziest to coldest.
This is the season that allowed the Gilmore Girls to finally get comfortable. Any kinks left from the first season have been ironed out, all the characters finally feel familiar, and we start to have hopes and dreams for the characters going forward. It’s the part of the series where you never want to stop watching — each episode is endlessly enjoyable. It’s a flawless season.
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Everything is set in stone in the third season of Gilmore Girls — Rory’s relationships with Dean and Jess are athletes their most high-strung, Lorelai’s dead-set on opening her own inn and works hard toward her goal with her best friend Sookie (all while trying to ignore her obvious feelings for Luke), Rory’s friend Lane is starting to rebel against her strict mother, and so on—it’s an emotional and eventful season, and as a result, it’s the one that really takes the show to new heights.
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Rory starts college and finally makes peace with her high school frenemy Paris, Lorelai prepares for the opening of her inn and starts up a relationship with her father’s business partner, and in the end, Luke and Lorelai FINALLY realize their true feelings for one another. It’s one heck of a season and a personal favorite of many diehard fans.
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For some fans, it really doesn’t get any better than this — the first season of Gilmore Girls is the one that set the tone and the pace for the entire series. Relationships between characters feel new and safe and secure. We’re still getting to know Lorelai and Rory, while the two of them set up storylines with characters that’ll last the entire rest of the series. We’re introduced to Luke, the owner of Luke’s Diner where the Gilmores get their coffee each morning, we’re introduced to Emily and Richard, the matriarch and patriarch of the Gilmore family, and we’re introduced to each and every quirky member of Stars Hollow. It’s hard to beat the season that started it all, but some of the typical first season struggles definitely still exist.
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Rory and Lorelai spend a large part of the first half of this season fighting instead of being best friends — where’s the fun in that? Making the main characters, the ones who are supposed to always love and understand each other, get in a long and drawn-out fight is nothing short of excruciating. The season picks back up once they inevitably make up, but one can’t help but wonder how good the season could’ve been if the storyline at the start of the season was removed altogether.
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A Year in the Life
This Netflix revival was met with mixed reviews, but it’s honestly not bad at all. There are a few absences — the actor who played Richard Gilmore, Edward Herrmann, passed away before the show began shooting — but almost the entire cast returns, from the main Gilmore family to the strange supporting characters we’ve come to know and love throughout the years. There are only four episodes, but they’re all an hour and a half long, so it’s almost like viewers are getting eight episodes’ worth of content. It’s sweet, but it definitely lacks that warmth of the original seasons at times. Still, it’s largely a success.
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If you thought the fight was bad at the beginning of season five, just wait for the beginning of season six. Like the start of the previous season, Lorelai and Rory spend much of the first half of the season — over five months — not speaking at all. It’s hard to watch, and it honestly makes one yearn for the times when they were fighting in season five — at least they were still talking then, even if they weren’t talking kindly. The post-fight half of the season is all right, but it never feels right after that drama at the beginning of the season (plus Rory’s boyfriend Logan is the absolute worst).
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With the departure of creator and executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino combined with the loss of viewers from the move from the WB to the CW between seasons six and seven, you’d hope that the network would just decide to call it quits. That wasn’t the case, unfortunately. Season seven went on without its creator, without its usual executive producers, and without an ending written. Amy and Daniel had written most of the season by the time they left over budget issues, but it doesn’t matter — the show just doesn’t feel right. It’s like a Gilmore Girls parody.
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