Gilmore Girls generation: Ready-made Netflix success
This undated publicity photo, released by The WB, shows Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore, left, and Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore in a scene from the network's series 'Gilmore Girls.' (AP Photo/ The WB / Scott Garfield)
Published Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:25PM PST
Last Updated Sunday, December 4, 2016 11:56AM PST
One week after the Gilmore Girls revival was released on Netflix, it’s safe to assume that most fans of the television show have already devoured all four episodes. More than a simple television premiere, the series is a cultural phenomenon.
According to ratings information released Thursday by streaming monitor Symphony Advanced Media, only Orange is the New Black and the first run of Fuller House outperformed Gilmore Girls in the first three-days after its release. Netflix doesn’t recognize these numbers, as the company keeps subscriber ratings statistics for its original programming private.
Seven seasons of Gilmore Girls were available on Netflix before the latest reboot. Peter Chow-White, a communications professor at Simon Fraser University, said it was a calculated decision for the company to bring back the popular series.
“They have a history of who’s been watching it, how often they watch it, when they watch it, do they binge watch it? They have very detailed data on the significance of the television show Gilmore Girls to the audience that Netflix sells their service to,” Chow-White said. “They don’t make it in a guess, they have a pretty good idea of how successful this show’s going to be before they even make it.”
The show, which first aired in 2000, has been introduced to a new generation of viewers thanks to the diverse methods of television content consumption.
“Nowadays we watch ‘television,’ so to speak, on any device,” Chow-White said. “Not just in one room in the house, but anywhere where an internet signal is available…This is how ubiquitous the watching of content is in society now. It’s kind of like when people started to have cell phones many years ago and it was considered rude to talk on cell phones in public.”
In October, cell phone conversations were aplenty in the lineup outside Vancouver’s Trafiq Café & Bakery. The café was the only Canadian location outside of Toronto chosen to be transformed into Luke’s Diner, one of the main locations in Gilmore Girls. The pop-up event attracted thousands of fans across North America.
Samia Barbosa, a legal studies student at Capilano University, was one of hundreds waiting in line for hours at Trafiq, and said she grew up with the show’s two main characters, Lorelai and her daughter Rory, and first heard of Netflix when it was mentioned in one episode.
“I've watched the show since I was 16. I was Rory's age when I started watching, now I'm Lorelai's age!" she said.
Barbosa referenced another episode where the characters describe The Donna Reed Show as transcending television, much like Netflix itself.
“In the show they say, ‘It’s not a TV show. It’s a lifestyle, it's a religion,’ and I think that's true of Gilmore Girls.”