By Daniel D'Addario
July 27, 2016

In a first look at the upcoming Gilmore Girls follow-up movies, Lorelai and Rory are back in the form their fans expect. At the TCA conference in Los Angeles, Netflix showed the first moments of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a series of four movies, each set in a different season. In winter, Lorelai (Lauren Graham) greets Rory (Alexis Bledel), back in Stars Hollow for a visit; she’s instantly off to familiar rat-a-tat dialogue. And yes, she’s drinking coffee.

The films, which will drop on Netflix on November 25, are to portray a different sort of relationship between mother and daughter. “It’s not a high school girl and her mom. It’s two women, two chicks. They can have cocktails together,” said show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino. The show, she said, lends itself particularly well to revival given its subject matter. “The shit in your family never gets worked out,” she said. “But that’s what’s so great about family. It’s a constant evolution of, ‘Maybe this Thanksgiving!… No.’ ‘Maybe this Christmas, we’ll fix…! Nah.'”

The show’s new installments, Graham said, have “depth and complexity” by showing the aftermath of the death of Gilmore patriarch Richard, played by the late Edward Herrmann. As for lighter material, Graham said that Lorelei “does have a love life” but “not all the questions have been answered.” Bledel, meanwhile, noted that “all of” Rory’s exes make an appearance “in one way or another,” though she responded with bemusement when asked about her reaction to the endless debate over her boyfriends. She noted, “I just think it’s kind of interesting that’s what people are excited about. People do get excited about the romantic storyline, but there is so much more to her character, and it’s great when people focus on her ambition and her accomplishments.”

One minor controversy around the movies has been the potential absence—or presence—of Melissa McCarthy, a supporting player from the series who in the intervening years has become a movie star. Sherman-Palladino sought to dispel the conversation around McCarthy, who came in on one of the final days of shooting: “Everyone wants cage fights now,” she said. “It’s an age of ugliness and ‘how do we stir up bad feelings,’ and all we were trying to do was figure out how this woman who’s doing Ghostbusters all around the world can take five minutes and play with us.”

Sherman-Palladino did not get to end Gilmore Girls on her own terms after departing the series before its final season; she famously has had the “final four words” for the show in mind, though they did not air. They will now conclude the final Gilmore Girls movie. For that reason, she says she’d hoped to air the four movies in staggered time to ensure viewers could watch without fear of the ending getting spoiled. True to form, though, Netflix will be dropping all four at once. “You don’t always get what you want,” she said. “Trust me. I don’t have the ass I want, I can’t put them out separately.”

But, she insisted, the four movies will be worthwhile. “It really is a journey leading up to the last four words,” Sherman-Palladino said. “It’s a fun trip. It’s worth it. There’s peanuts.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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