This review was corrected on Oct. 4, 2000.
The first effort from the Family Friendly Forum’s Script Development Fund, an initiative between advertisers and the WB to introduce more all-ages programming to TV, works a little too hard to be everything to everyone. However, beyond the carefully calculated diversity of the pilot lies a pleasant and heartwarming series that may bridge the generation gap at the WB. It’s still a chick show, but at least “Gilmore Girls” could attract women well past the N’ Sync phase.
Created by former “Roseanne” writer Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show should serve as a comfortable lead-in to the similarly female-skewed “Charmed.” Best shot for this show is to grab young female viewers who aren’t as committed to NBC’s “Friends.” It’s counterprogrammed well against WWF wrestling on UPN, and isn’t likely to be competing for the same male or older viewers on the other nets.
Charming newcomer Alexis Bledel stars as Rory, a 16-year-old navigating the world of adulthood in tandem with her single mother, 32-year-old Lorelai (Lauren Graham). The two have an incredibly tight bond, often sharing CDs and lip gloss, but as different challenges arrive, the mother-daughter relationship is put to the test.
Biggest challenge is Lorelai’s upper-crust parents, played by Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann; Lorelai’s association with her family has been rocky ever since she decided to raise Rory on her own.
When Rory gets accepted to a prestigious private school, Lorelai goes to her folks to borrow money. In exchange for their financial help, she agrees to attend weekly family dinners with Rory.
On one hand, “Gilmore Girls” creates a Pottery Barn catalog kind of world, where everything is clean and beautiful. But writer Sherman-Palladino broadens the scope of the too-quaint town of Stars Hollow by peppering it with a plethora of diverse characters.
Leading the ensemble is Graham, a talented actress who has had her share of TV flops, including “Townies,” “MYOB” and “Conrad Bloom.” This material is a better fit with her innate comic ability and appealing nature. The talented Bishop and Herrmann make Graham’s work easier and lend a good deal of authority and legitimacy to the show. The real star, though, is Bledel, a fresh-faced actress who’s able to articulate the wide range of often subtle emotions that confront teenagers.Director Lesli Linka Glatter provides an experienced hand on the tiller, while the lensing of Hiro Narita and Teresa Medina soaks up every bit of ambiance invoked by the production design of Gordon Barnes and Sandy Veneziano. As with most WB projects, the show benefits from a stellar soundtrack courtesy of Sam Phillips, with special attention to the show’s theme song “Where You Lead, I Will Follow,” sung by Carole King and daughter Louise Goffin.