Photos Of The 'Gilmore Girls' Cast Then & Now Show How Far They've Come In The Last 16 Years

One of the best parts of devoting yourself to a long-running television series is literally watching the actors grow up before your very eyes. If a show only runs for about five seasons or so, then everybody pretty much looks the same the whole time. But once a show crosses that decade threshold, you'll be blown away when you go back and start rewatching from the beginning. Originally, Gilmore Girls only ran for seven years on The WB (and later The CW) — but now that the beloved series is being resurrected on Netflix, it has been 16 long years since we took our first visit to Stars Hollow back in October of 2000. And looking at pictures of the Gilmore Girls cast then and now is truly mind-blowing.

Netflix has done a superb job reassembling the cast for its A Year In The Life revival. I'm not sure how they juggled the schedules of so many in-demand actors to get them all in the same place at the same time again, but somehow they managed to get every single cast member who had been a series regular throughout those seven years — with one unfortunate exception. (Edward Herrmann, who played Lorelai's father, Richard, passed away in 2014 after a battle with brain cancer.) The returnees span the full roster of Stars Hollow residents, from Lorelai and Rory (natch) all the way down to Lorelai's boyfriend Digger, who was only on the show for one season, and everyone in between.

Let's take a look at the 13 main cast members of Gilmore Girls… and how far they've come since they first appeared on the show.

1. Lauren Graham

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Pre-Lorelai, 33-year-old Graham had starred in a few short-lived TV projects, including the ABC sitcom Townies alongside Molly Ringwald and Jenna Elfman.

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Now 49, although also apparently ageless (she hasn't changed a bit!), Graham has already had another career-defining starring role, this time as Sarah Braverman on the weepy NBC family drama Parenthood.

2. Alexis Bledel

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At 19, Bledel was just a smidge older than Rory was supposed to be when the show started in 2000. It was her first role in anything other than an uncredited cameo in the 1998 film Rushmore.

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The 35-year-old actress in now married to Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men fame (on which she also had a small recurring role), and is also famous for the popular teen film franchise The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants.

3. Kelly Bishop

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Bishop was already an accomplished ballerina, a Tony-winning Broadway actress, and a well-known film and TV actress by the time she took on the role of Emily Gilmore at the age of 56.

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After Gilmore Girls, Bishop went on to star in the ABC Family series Bunheads, and also guest starred on some of your favorite shows, including Law & Order: SVU and The Good Wife.

4. Scott Patterson

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Patterson had appearances on the likes of Seinfeld and Will & Grace under his belt when he joined the Gilmore Girls cast as Luke at the age of 42.

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Post-Gilmore Girls, Patterson (now 58) has appeared in two of the seven Saw movies as the ill-fated detective Peter Strahm.

5. Melissa McCarthy

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Remember when McCarthy was a total unknown? No? Well, she pretty much was when she first appeared as Sookie in Gilmore Girls at the age of 30.

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These days, 46-year-old McCarthy is a bonafide star, with seven Emmy nominations between her work on Mike & Molly and Saturday Night Live (including one win for the former) and even an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids.

6. Keiko Agena

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Did you know that the actress who played Rory's best friend was 27 when Gilmore Girls premiered back in 2000, more than a decade older than her supposedly teenage character, Lane Kim?

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Agena is now 43 (and presumably still playing the same age as 35-year-old Bledel), and has added roles on the likes of Castle, House, Scandal, and Shameless to her resumé.

7. Yanic Truesdale

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The French-Canadian actor was 30 when Gilmore Girls began, and a complete unknown on this side of the border.

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Due to the fact that, since Gilmore Girls, Truesdale has acted almost exclusively in Canadian television shows, the 46-year-old still remains something of an unknown on this side of the border. Thank god for Michel!

8. Liza Weil

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Weil was also a bit old to be playing Rory's contemporary, as she was 23 when she first appeared as frenemy-turned-bestie Paris Geller.

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Shonda Rhimes must have been a huge Gilmore Girls fan, since Weil went on to guest star on most of the producer's dramas — Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal — before the now-39-year-old landed her own series regular role on How To Get Away With Murder.

9. Jared Padalecki

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When the show started, this young unknown actor was only 18, actually a year younger than his co-star Bledel. Look at that adorable baby face. Who knew he would grow into…

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…this handsome 34-year-old man? The WB/CW has been good to Padalecki; when he was done with Gilmore Girls, he just shifted over to Supernatural on the same network, where he's now been for 12 seasons and 247 episodes.

10. Milo Ventimiglia

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When we first met Jess Mariano, Ventimiglia was 24 years old and had a number of guest appearances to his name, including on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air and Sabrina The Teenage Witch.

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What's Ventimiglia up to now? The 39-year-old's butt is breaking records over on NBC's This Is Us, where the actor's naked behind helped make the show's trailer the most-viewed promo of the current fall season. You may also remember him as Peter Petrelli on Heroes.

11. Sean Gunn

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Although the 26-year-old's character, Kirk, was seen kicking around Stars Hollow throughout the show's first couple years, Gunn wasn't promoted to the main cast until Season 3 — but he remained there for the rest of the show's run.

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Although the actor, now 42, has continued to rack up small roles on both television and film, he's probably most famous now for being the younger brother of Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn — whose film he appeared in as Ravager first mate Kraglin.

12. Chris Eigeman

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Eigeman had the shortest stint out of any of Gilmore Girls' main cast members, only appearing in one of the show's seven seasons; but the 39-year-old certainly made an impression as Lorelai's love interest, Digger.

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Fortunately, nobody in Stars Hollow gets left behind — and that includes 51-year-old Eigeman, who will be back for A Year In The Life, after having recently appeared in the likes of Fringe, Girls, and Bunheads.

13. Matt Czuchry

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At 27, Czuchry was still relatively baby-faced when he joined the cast as Logan Huntzberger in Season 5 — the latest addition to the show's main cast. Viewers may already have been familiar with him from guest roles on shows like Freaks And Geeks, The Practice, and 7th Heaven.

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But viewers are definitely even more familiar with Czuchry now (who remains fresh-faced as ever at 39) thanks to his role as Cary Agos on all seven seasons of The Good Wife.

Some Gilmore Girls cast members have grown from boys to men in the years since the show went off the air in 2007; some have emerged into Academy Award-worthy careers; and some mysterious haven't aged a day. (Seriously, Lauren Graham must have made some sort of deal with the devil.) See them all back in action when Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life premieres on Netflix this Friday, Nov. 25.

Images: Screengrab/The CW (13); Saeed Adyani (6), Neil Jacobs (3), Suzanne Hanover/Netflix; Courtesy of Netflix