I started to cut and paste all of the many comments that I agreed with, but after running out of bandwith, I decided it made more sense to just give an all-encompassing WORD to the great points made by everyone above.
I'll try to make my explanations of my rankings brief (or at least as brief as someone as long-winded as I am can be!) and not to repeat TOO much of what's already been said. My order: S2
---IMO, more layered and interesting (and far less 'precious') than S1. A huge number of my all-time favorite, endlessly rewatchable episodes hail from this season. (Those who've read my posts know that my love for Red Light..., A Road Trip, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Run Away, Little Boy and about 10 other S2 episodes knows no bounds!) and even the few S2 episodes I'm meh on overall (like It Should Have Been Lorelai, Help Wanted and Hammers and Veils) have several scenes, lines and moments that I adore. I still cared about and related to Rory here, and actually loved Lorelai in S2 more than I did in S1. I actually enjoy Luke and his interactions with the other characters more in S2 than any other season with the possible exception of S4. As others have said, the arrival of Jess made for interesting and often awesomely snarky interactions with Luke, Rory and even Lorelai.
This is just below S2 of Buffy on my list of 'favorite TV seasons of all time.' But I have nearly the same amount of love for...S4
: I know people complain that nothing of much significance happened until the final few episodes of this season, and I completely get why some feel that way. But, for me, GG has never been about the storylines and plot developments, which I frankly always felt was AS-P's greatest weakness as a writer anyway. I just adored these characters, their brilliant dialogue and the fascinating glimpses into their lives and communities. I love that S4 is so relatively low-key. I'll take quietly delightful, subtly sly TV over roller-coaster filled, melodramatic TV any day. (See Season 6!) As Taryn
noted, my appreciation for Rory's first year experiences at Yale only increased after seeing S5. In fact, I still really liked and related to Rory throughout S4...er, right up until she slept with Dean to the tune of 'Candy Man', a song that I can never again hear without cringing. (Oh, and as many of you know and tease me about, I *adore* Digger. Not as a boyfriend for Lorelai, but as a character)S3
: I hate Nicole and the fact that we were supposed to believe she and Luke 'clicked' when I could never even see them making it through one date. I hate the Puffs and everything even tangetially related to the embarrassingly lame 'political intrigue' at Chilton. However, I absolutely adore S3. I love the Rory-Lorelai interactions and (most of) Rory and Jess, who I find infinitely more interesting than Rory-Dean. The season contains four or five or my very favorite episodes, and even the meh ones have enough of that quintessential GG-esque wit, warmth and intelligence to make them well worth watching IMO. I even really like the widely reviled Oasis. *bows head in shame* S1
: I was relieved to see other people listing some ties among the seasons, because I was really debating over which of these two to place higher. I know I should love S1. In fact, I *do* love S1, just not nearly as much as I do S2-S4. I hate Dean, who IMO was incredibly dull, generic and sulky this season even before he became vaguely stalker-y and perpetually angry/jealous/annoyed in S2. I hate Max, who I think is smarmy, boring and has about as much chemistry with Lorelai as Luke does with Nicole---i.e., absolutely none. S1 in general is also just a little too cloying and twee and cutesy for my tastes, and not as interesting or layered as the series becomes in S2.
I don't dislike any S1 episodes, but there are very few that I deeply love (Rory's Birthday Parties and maybe The Third Lorelai).
Contrast that with S5
, which has some episodes that I loathe but also some that rank among my all-time favorites. I love certain parts of the L/L romance, though I still feel it could have been done much better even in S5. I'm always surprised by how much I love much of S5, some of which is just as witty and warm and joyful an exploration of family relationships as the earlier seasons. However, the last five episodes of S5 are unwatchable for me. Not only does the mounting assassination of Rory's character reach new lows, but the entire tone and focus of the show seems to change around the time of Diorama. I HATE Logan and the fact that they even had him be anything more than a one-night stand who, say, was meant to teach Rory about herself, relationships, the fact that you can't change people etc. Instead, she freakin' 'tames' him (*sigh*) in between gallivanting around with the Life and Death Brigade types in her suddenly uber-fashionable wardrobe (*double sigh*). Gone was the proudly geeky, quietly determined Rory of the past. Instead, she became...well, exactly like the kind of person that her earlier self would have mocked. S7
As others have already said, what it lacked in GG's trademark wit and cleverness, it (at least partially) made up for with its heart. I can honestly say that I love a few of the episodes: Lorelai, Lorelai; Farewell, My Pet; Bon Voyage and...er, well, that's pretty much it. But that faint praise is still more than I can give to...S6
How this once jubiliant, life-celebrating gem of a show became so grim and joyless and brimming over with icky melodrama just blows my mind. The storylines completely took over what was once a proudly character-based show...and said storylines were an absolute trainwreck. I loved 21ITLN and parts of Friday Night's Alright for Fighting. Other than that, though, I loathe this season---from the miserable, ultimately pointless and unresolved rift between Lorelai and Rory to the soap opera-esque arrival of Luke's long lost daughter (Seriously? They really thought that was a wise direction in which to take this show?) to the awful and seemingly endless Luke-Lorelai mess.
Overall, I still love this show more than anything ever on TV not named Buffy. However, that doesn't mean that S6 doesn't still blow me away with its jaw-dropping awfulness. And, yeah, so much for my goal not to be too long-winded...;)
Edited by bookwrm74, Dec 19, 2007 @ 8:01 PM.