Gilmore Girls return, and there’s plenty of room under the duvet

Television Review: ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’, ‘Crazyhead’, ‘Vogue Williams: On the Edge’

Gilmore Girls: Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in “A Year in the Life”, on Netflix

Gilmore Girls: Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel in “A Year in the Life”, on Netflix

 

Ready the hot-water bottles: Gilmore Girls (Netflix), the ultimate comfort show, is back. Almost 10 years since the series last aired, Rory, Lorelai and the residents of Stars Hollow return in A Year in the Life.

The series is split into four 90-minute episodes, called Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The entire first episode is like an extended opening scene of a Disney movie, as we are reacquainted with the townspeople – not by song but by fast-paced dialogue that skips around the actual reason we are back in this snow-globe town.

Not much happens in the first two episodes other than showing us everyone’s employment status. (Kirk’s latest career move is a lift service called Öööber.) Still, it lays the ground for the next three hours of comfort telly. You’ll need a fort made out of duvets for this one.

One of the biggest changes is the absence of Richard Gilmore. The actor who played him, Edward Herrmann, died in 2014, and A Year in the Life is partly driven by the grieving process of Lorelai and her mother, Emily, the ultimate ice queen. The pair even go to therapy together, which reopens old wounds.

While Lorelai’s main concerns are her mother and her partner, Luke, who is the embodiment of a Bruce Springsteen song, Rory’s life is more mysterious. While everyone in Stars Hollow constantly refers to her New Yorker article, the one that Luke has proudly placed in his diner’s menu, Rory gives off the appearance of being successful and important because she owns three phones and keeps forgetting that she has a boyfriend called Paul.

Rory spends her time flying between the United States and London, so we can assume that the rate per word for Stars Hollow’s most-read New Yorker article is pretty sweet.

There are a few details that make it seem as if time has stood still for everyone in the Gilmore world. They hate tweeters and tea drinkers. (The count of empty cups of coffee masquerading as full is through the roof.) Luke still hates wifi. Taylor Doose leads a community meeting where they want to increase the number of gay people living in the village. The jokes about Emily’s staff are still jarring.

The return of its creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, means that Gilmore Girls will get the white-suburban dream ending she always wanted. To the untrained eye – that is, to the eye of someone who watched The OC instead – this is generally a show where very little happens. For diehard fans it’s an escape, and this reboot is a great excuse to hide away for a while.

Who you gonna call?

If the fiery gates of hell open right in front of us and the smell of sulphur clogs our senses, we’ll be doing all right if Raquel and Amy show up. In the season finale of Crazyhead (E4, Wednesday) the demon-fighting duo save the world from eternal damnation – and all it takes is a bit of heartbreak and that all-important thing we call teamwork.

Earlier in the season we learned that Raquel (Susan Wokoma) is part demon, part demon hunter, making her a powerful unicorn to Callum, a psychiatrist who also moonlights as an evil overlord. To demonically possess Earth’s population Callum needs Raquel to unlock the gates of hell, which happen to be under a mansion that’s hosting a Halloween party for a few thousand youths.

The only way to do that is for her demon boyfriend to break her heart, taking “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” a little too seriously.

In this day and age, however, scorned women have something far more powerful up their sleeves: Beyoncé. As Amy (Cara Theobold) snaps Raquel out of assisting with the apocalypse, she does what most people do in moments of pressure: summons Queen Bee. “Don’t end the world for his limp dick. You are a strong, independent woman. You’re like Beyoncé. All the ladies, throw your hands up!” Amy says, shaking her mate back to reality. “Raquel! Throw. Your. Hands. Up.”

Crazyhead can be brittly funny, but the series has lost momentum in its second half, with too much talk and not enough ass-kicking. That said, it has cleverly used mental health and sexuality as driving forces, and has strongly developed its characters. A second series has not yet been commissioned, but its creator, Howard Overman, says he has plenty to work with.

Exploding online abuse

In Trolled, Sextorted & Hours from Death, the third episode of Vogue Williams: On the Edge (RTÉ2, Tuesday), Vogue investigates the impact of online bullying, grooming and catfishing on women and young girls. It’s a well-known topic thanks to MTV’s Catfish, whose global view demonstrates how widespread the problem is.

In the US, Williams meets Alicia Kozakiewicz, an internet-safety and missing-persons advocate who, aged 13 in 2002, was kidnapped, raped and tortured by a man she met in a chat room.

She also interviews the YouTube star Chrissy Chambers, who says her ex-boyfriend posted videos, to 37 different pornography sites, of himself having sex with her while she was unconscious. Chambers is the first person to take civil action against an ex for allegedly uploading revenge porn.

Williams’s interviewing style is casual, making it easy for people to confide in her. Based on her own traumatic experience – her face was Photoshopped on to images on a porn site – there is a clear understanding of what is being shared with her.

In Bedfordshire we meet two self-appointed paedophile hunters, Katie and Neil Ivall, who set up Facebook profiles as young girls to catch the men who seek them out. It is apparent that there are not enough official resources policing social media.

In the case of revenge porn, Charlotte Laws – the “Erin Brockovich of porn” – that says the law is not keeping up with the number of people who are being abused on a daily basis.

Trolled, Sextorted & Hours from Death is difficult viewing. But it is a timely and factual reminder that we are still figuring out online privacy and ethics – especially when tweets, videos and images can be deleted, leaving little evidence behind.

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