When Gilmore Girls was in full swing, from 2000 to 2007, I was a teenager. In France, and you might not know this, there is a law called Loi Toubon, which aims to protect the French language and mandates its use in things like government publications, workplaces, ads, and interestingly, audiovisual programs. The idea is that unless we are talking about music or independent films (which we like to watch in their original version), France is committed to protect and promote cultural works in its own language, and there are substantial subsidies in place to fund the arts, provided by government bodies. A natural consequence of this of course, is that between acquiring the rights of international programs, translating, and dubbing them, it can take a mighty long time for popular TV shows to be broadcasted.
Before streaming illegally or legally was even an option, it was not uncommon that a popular show from across the pond would take, oh I’d say about two years, before it reached our screens. As a result, the main (free) French TV channels were very strategic in the programs they chose to invest in. M6, one of the most popular French channels for watching “brand-new” American TV opted for shows which would reach a wider demographic and prove a hit with both men and women. Their programming for Saturday evenings prime time slots, for instance, was called “The Trilogy” and featured supernatural or thriller-type shows such as Charmed, NCIS, and The X Files. Shows aimed at a female audience tended to be a Friday evening affair, with Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sex and The City among favourites, because of their comedy-leaning tone and the colourful personality of their strong heroines.
I’m telling you all this to justify that I had never heard of Gilmore Girls until I went to study in Tennessee as part of an exchange program during my university degree. This sounds surprising but I looked it up and the show was only broadcasted in France behind the paywall of cabled TV channels, and then again, only from 2008 (!) when I was already a student and watching TV was the furthest thing possible from my mind. In the US, I caught a few episodes here and there in a non-chronological order and I fell in love with it. The relationship between Lorelei and her daughter Rory, the witty dialogue delivered at a breakneck speed, and the peek into what small-town living in the tight-knit community of a Connecticut town might look like.
Fast forward to this Summer, when an email from a friend landed in my inbox to let me know that Gilmore Girls was now available on Netflix and that I should really watch it. “You will love it!” she said. “I know!” I said, “I have seen a few episodes already.” And love it, I did. I’m not ashamed to say, for the last four months, I have managed to get through all seven seasons, that is to say… 153 episodes! Can you believe it? That sounds crazy. That’s an average of 9 episodes a week, which seems like a whole lot of TV watching. Then again, I don’t have an actual TV, so I’m telling myself that instead of settling down in front of whatever is on, I made an educated decision to watch something great.
Because if you’ve watched and loved Gilmore Girls too, I think you will agree that there are few shows as charming as this one. Entertaining, thoughtful, funny, smart, and bittersweet all at the same time, how even to describe it? I mean this is TV at its best. It has the warmth of a mug of hot cocoa enjoyed in front of a fire in the cosiest armchair of a country house in the Cotswolds. How I loved getting home from work to a cup of tea and an episode or two before cooking dinner. Rarely have I been so attached to such quirky characters, and enjoyed following their stories, big and small, through the weeks.
Now the only problem of course, and I hope this might not sound too silly, is that since I’ve finished watching it, I miss it terribly! What to follow it with? Please tell me I’m not the only feeling like this. In a way, Gilmore Girls seriously raised the bar, it’s a gold standard to which every new TV show I start watching is compared to and so far, this has made things a little difficult for me because nothing know seems good enough, smart enough, charming enough.
So tell me…
What are some of the best shows you’ve watched and enjoyed through the seasons? The only other show I’ve followed with such interest is The Good Wife so I’m in desperate need of recommendations! And otherwise… there’s always November 25th (thank you Netflix!) but seriously readers, I’m counting on you to find me a new addictive program. Let me know in the comments below!