Saying a TV show spends a lot of money might be an odd way to extoll praise, but that’s what pushes “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” from great into the stratosphere of “I might cry if it gets canceled before the story is over” in its sophomore year. Season 2, now available on Amazon Prime, takes various members of the Weissmans and Maisels to Paris, their annual summer vacation in the Catskills Mountains, comedy clubs around the Northeast, and of course the familiar haunts of New York’s Upper West Side.
All of the best traits and very few of the worst traits of hat-loving TV producer Amy Sherman-Palladino are present in the delightful “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which recently hit Amazon Prime with an eight-episode first season. Along with “Gilmore Girls” and “Bunheads,” call it a career hat trick.
Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino warmly invite fans back into Lorelai and Rory’s world in “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” four 90-minute episodes that hit Netflix last week. I had always been satisfied with the seven seasons of “Gilmore Girls” (the cancellation of “Bunheads” after one season left a much bigger void), but by the end of these six hours, I realized that this bow was indeed needed to tie up the saga in a more perfect way.
At the “Gilmore Girls” panel at the ATX Television Festival in June, producer Amy Sherman-Palladino said that in the TV business, if you’re lucky, “You get one.” Presumably, she meant one show where the actors, writers and environment come together to result in a loved and lauded finished product. By those standards, she actually got two, with the second being “Bunheads”(2012-13, ABC Family; available for digital download from Amazon). However, if you add “not being canceled after one season” to the requirements, “Bunheads” did indeed lack that extra stroke of luck.
“Gilmore Girls” Season 6 (2005-06, The WB) is the season I remembered the least about. Even though I watched every episode when it aired, there were entire hours that felt new to me on this re-watching. While Season 6 is not as good as the glory years of Seasons 1-4, it marks a nice recovery from the over-the-top Season 5 and a respectable farewell for executive producers Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, who would end up sitting out the seventh and final season.
In my head, I had subtitled “Gilmore Girls” Season 5 (2004-05, The WB) “The Destruction of Rory’s Character,” as it starts with her sleeping with married man Dean and ends with her stealing a yacht and dropping out of Yale. And I mentally blamed her new boyfriend Logan – whose primary crime is that he’s not Dean or Jess – for a lot of that. After this rewatching, though, I see that Season 5’s problems run deeper.
“Gilmore Girls” Season 4 (2003-04, The WB) was the best of seasons and the worst of seasons. Although the first half is wonderful, it ultimately ranks as the most flawed season up to this point, but not for the reason one might assume.
Following the Season of Dean and the Season of Jess, “Gilmore Girls” Season 3 (2002-03, The WB) resists being defined by a relationship, or at least not a functional one. As is often the case in senior-year-of-high-school seasons, “Gilmore Girls” grows up and gets complicated (Jess instead of Dean, Yale over Harvard, the Independence Inn swapped out for the Dragonfly). While the plots and characters are numerous, the nostalgic end-of-an-era theme and tone dominate.
I don’t mean to reduce “Gilmore Girls” to a teen romance show and have my analysis of Season 2 (2001-02, WB) read like a review of “Gossip Girl” or “The O.C.” Certainly, Season 2 features serious issues like Lorelai and Sookie planning to open their own inn, Richard dealing with retirement, and Lane trying to find an identity that she doesn’t have to hide under the floorboards.
As fans know, “Gilmore Girls” is richer than its hook of “A mother and daughter who also happen to be best friends.” But any thorough review of Season 1 (2000-01, The WB) — which I embarked on to relieve the pain of the cancellation of Amy Sherman-Palladino’s “Bunheads” — has to acknowledge how unusual this notion was on TV at the time, when the majority of shows emphasized generational disconnect.