Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Friday, Nov. 25, Netflix), return: Do not, repeat, do not, watch all four seasonal 90-minute installments of what is technically Gilmore Girls’ eighth season in a single binge—even writer/producer Amy Sherman-Palladino doesn’t recommend it. But you’re going to anyway. This return to Stars Hollow has everything a Gilmore Girls fan could possibly want, and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) caffeinated banter hasn’t lost a beat since the end of the original WB/CW series nine years ago. Like all nostalgia wallows, however, A Year in the Life (the Netflix run’s unnecessary subtitle) has a few problems balancing ’Member This? with Here’s a New Thing! plot points. But it still hits all the feel buttons with a sentimentally deadly accuracy that lesser revivals like Netflix’s Fuller House crapfest can’t touch. Stretch it out over the Thanksgiving weekend, because this a lot of Gilmore Girls to (re)absorb, and they’re not as perfect as you remember. Except Paris (Liza Weil). She can do no wrong.
Christmas List (Friday, Nov. 25, Hallmark), movie: You know that this year’s crop of new Christmas flicks began airing in October, right? TV’s most egregious ho-ho-offender, Hallmark, is already five weeks into Santa season, and I pity the fool who has to write these plot synopses for ’em: “In Christmas List, Isobel (Alicia Witt) plans a storybook Christmas with her boyfriend, including a snow-covered cottage in the Northwest, and a carefully composed bucket list of classic holiday traditions. But when the boyfriend goes AWOL, the list proves challenging, and a tempting new romance turns her life upside-down. Will Isobel have a White Christmas ending under the mistletoe?” First, “AWOL”? Military jargon is not Christmas-y. Second, “new romance”? Isobel moved on fast.
A Heavenly Christmas (Saturday, Nov. 26, Hallmark), movie: Let’s continue the copywriter analysis with A Heavenly Christmas: “Upon her untimely death, Eve (Kristin Davis) finds herself tethered to her guardian angel (Shirley MacLaine), learning to become a Christmas angel in Heaven. Despite being the worst recruit in the history of Christmas, Eve is assigned the difficult task of helping a struggling singer, Max (Eric McCormack) use his musical gifts to heal old family wounds. As Max begins to overcome his issues, Eve begins to embrace the meaning of Christmas, heal wounds of her own and perhaps find love along the way.” OK, she’s dead, and she’s going to “find love” with a still-alive singer who’s a bit old to still be “struggling”? Kinky.
Journey Back to Christmas (Sunday, Nov. 27, Hallmark), movie: And the hits keep coming: “A World War II-era nurse (Candace Cameron Bure) is transported in time to 2016 and meets a man (Oliver Hudson) who helps her discover the bonds of family and that the true meaning of Christmas is timeless.” That sentence was written in AP Style—Ain’t Punctuating. As for the plot … huh? Is this some kind of reverse-Outlander, minus the kilts and abusive gingers? Also, the title Journey Back to Christmas implies that she’ll returning to the 1940s to possibly be blown up by Nazis, die from a minor flu bug or just be generally marginalized as a “dame.” Stay in 2016! America won’t begin devolving into The Man in the High Castle until at least Jan. 20 of next year.
Incorporated (Wednesday, Nov. 30, Syfy), series debut: So, is now the best time to introduce a sci-fi series about class warfare taken to corporate and technological extremes … or literally the worst time? Like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the producers of Incorporated care. In this 2074-set drama, the world is split into two distinct halves: The Green Zone, a sealed corporate utopia that resembles American Psycho sponsored by the Apple Store and Ikea, wherein company loyalty is rewarded/demanded; and the Red Zone, the lawless, dirty dystopia that dozens of YA novels (and at least half of Syfy’s other programs) have warned you about. It’s slick and dazzling—so much so that Incorporated’s central story of an outsider (Sean Teale) infiltrating the Green Zone to save his girlfriend almost feels like an afterthought. Wait a minute … Green Zone … Red Zone … Christmas Incorporated?!