All 7 Gilmore Girls season premieres ranked from worst to best


Even over two decades removed from its premiere, Gilmore Girls remains a show that’s beloved, rewatched, and discussed. There are so many lightning-rod debates about the series and its characters, including which episodes are better than the others.

The season premiere episodes of any show set the stage for the rest of the season, and Gilmore Girls thankfully always starts off each of its seven season with a memorable first hour. Between the Stars Hollow end-of-summer festival to the aftermath of the show’s most shocking cliffhanger, you’ll never forget an episode 1.

As objective as it might be, we’re ranking the show’s season premieres from worst to best in an attempt to find out which episodes kick off their seasons on the right note. Is the pilot episode the strongest season premiere, or will another season’s starter take the top spot?

Note: We’re excluding the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life premiere episode “Winter” and including only the season premieres from the original seven seasons. The ranking is just for fun and based on personal preference and entertainment value, as all of the episodes are great. Copper boom!

7. Season 6, “New and Improved Lorelai”

You’re most likely wondering, “Wait, why isn’t season 7 ranked dead last?” You’re valid for wondering, but the sixth season actually has the worst season premiere, and in this case, the definition of “worst” is “Lorelai and Rory aren’t on speaking terms.” Look, season 6 tries something new, and for that you have to applaud the very realistic mother-daughter spat. But apart from Lorelai and Luke’s engagement, it’s hard for me to find joy in the season 6 opener with the real central relationship torn right down the middle.

6. Season 5, “Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller”

After the fourth season finale, which featured Luke and Lorelai’s first kiss and Rory’s affair with Dean, season 5 opens with a lot of mess. Lorelai and Rory are at odds over the Dean situation, Emily and Richard have separated, and two of the three Gilmore girls (not Lorelai) are off to Europe to get away from their problems. It’s not a bad episode at all, but there’s a lot of character ground to cover as far as the relationships go, and as we just learned with season 6, Lorelai and Rory on the outs is always tough. Season 5 really revs up into classic territory two episodes later with episode 3, “Written in the Stars.”

5. Season 2, “Sadie, Sadie”

Although the second season ranks among the best seasons of the series overall, its premiere episode isn’t as much of a standout compared to the other 21 episodes. Picking up after the first season finale, in which Max proposes to Lorelai with a thousand yellow daisies, she finally accepts his proposal. Between Lorelai keeping that information from Emily, and Rory tangling with Richard over Dean, it’s an episode that eases us into the excellent season 2 with familiar beats rather than opening with an unforgettable intro like the succeeding two seasons.

4. Season 7, “The Long Morrow”

Here’s a bit of a hot take for you! Even though most fans would probably admit to the seventh and final season being a bit of a hard watch (I mean, the Palladinos left the show, after all), I’m here to tell you that the season premiere is actually great. Watching Rory try to decipher the meaning of the rocket Logan left her while also playing an ill-fated game of racquetball with Lorelai are two of the most underrated moments of the series. The Gilmores attempting athletics is laugh-out-loud funny! For all the frustration of Lorelai’s relationships with Luke and Christopher, it’s still a wonderful opening to a less-than-stellar season.

3. Season 1, “Pilot”

Obviously, the pilot episode is as near perfect as you can get. We’re welcomed into Stars Hollow, Lorelai and Rory’s little corner of the world, and become acquainted with the delicate familial relationships that shape the series. From the opening licks of “There She Goes” to the last scene in Luke’s, the pilot is the television equivalent of putting on your coziest sweater and tucking into a cup of coffee in the fall breeze. It would be the best season premiere of the series if the show wasn’t, like Rory, an overachieving anomaly and actually became even better as it went on.

2. Season 3, “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days”

There’s no doubt that if there’s any show in the history of television closely aligned with the season of fall, it’s this one. Being so, it’s a show that rarely does summer in the same way as fall or even winter. (Lorelai loves her some snow!) The season 3 premiere tackled summer head-on as Stars Hollow celebrated the end of the hottest season with a new festival, which brought Rory’s tricky feelings for Jess to a head. It’s a thrillingly chaotic episode, complete with a Luke-Lorelai dream sequence, that’s emblematic of the show’s ability to juggle humor and plot.

1. Season 4, “Ballrooms and Biscotti”

Not only is the season 4 premiere the best season premiere of the series, it’s also one of the top 10 — maybe even top 5 — best episodes of the series period. If you disagree, then maybe you just didn’t understand the Jimmy Carter reference. Amy Sherman-Palladino knew how to deftly slow down the plot without making an episode boring. As a writer, she allows us to kick off our shoes and stay awhile, just spend time with our favorite characters.

“Ballrooms and Biscotti” is an episode about Lorelai and Rory returning from a summer trip abroad and rushing to prepare Rory to leave for Yale. It’s about the pressures of growing up, the last moment before the next chapter of your life, and the tender bonds between three generations of women, all leading up to a transitional season that sticks the landing. Simply, it just does not get any better than this hilarious and heartfelt and perfect hour of television.

Which Gilmore Girls season premieres are your favorite? Do you agree with our ranking? Share your picks, and watch all seven seasons on Netflix!

Next. All 7 Gilmore Girls season finales ranked from worst to best. dark