Last Sunday I had the pleasant surprise of stumbling across the new BBC version of Emma on “Masterpiece Classic”. As most of you know, I adore watching adaptations of Jane Austen’s books. Many Austen movies are among my favorites of all time. I really liked the Gwenyth Paltrow version of Emma (mainly because Toni Collette and Jeremy Northam are A-MAZING), so I didn’t know what I was going to think about this new one.
Well, I have only seen the first episode (there are three all together) but I love it!!!!! Romola Garai plays Emma and she is so adorable! She does a great job of making Emma likable and relate-able. As Laura Linney pointed out in her “Masterpiece Classic” introduction, Emma is not an easy character to like. She is rather stuck up, meddlesome, and does not really listen when people tell her she is wrong. But Romola makes Emma seem like a fun person to be around, and there is great chemistry between her and Johnny Lee Miller who plays Mr. Knightly. I am really excited to watch it tonight (I have actually been looking forward to it all week!!) I thought since there are only two hours left, that it would end tonight, but apparently they are playing one hour tonight and then the last hour next week. Curses! Those crafty PBS people are making me wait a whole nother week!!! (Nother is a word I picked up after reading A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup……very cool book, you should check it out.)
One of my favorite things about watching BBC productions is that everyone is so familiar. I always recognize some of the actors from other movies or tv shows. The fun part is trying to guess where I saw them before. Emma was a wonderful example of this because I recognized half the cast!!! Here are the people I knew:
Johnny Lee Miller (Mr. Knightly)–okay, so I don’t think I have ever seen him in anything before, but hello! he was married to Angelina Jolie! So, yeah, that’s how I know him.
Michael Gambon (Mr. Woodhouse)–Dumbledore the second, of course.
Dan Fredenburgh (the other Mr. Knightly)–otherwise known as Colin Firth’s skeezy brother from Love Actually.
Tamsin Greig (Miss Bates)–this was a tricky one…I didn’t actually guess this until I looked her up. I thought maybe she had been in Persuasion with Sally Hawkins, but nope, she was Fran from Black Books!!!!! That really threw me.
Jodhi May (Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston)–She is the sister of Madeleine Stowe in Last of the Mohicans. The one who never talks, and always makes me cry buckets of tears at the end of the movie. She hasn’t aged a day since then.
Robert Bathurst (Mr. Weston)–this was another one that totally threw me. I just kept staring at him and thinking “man, where have I seen him before”??? I finally had to look it up and he was the evil dad from The Thief Lord!!! I think I didn’t recognize him because he was smiling so much. In The Thief Lord he just yells the whole time, so I didn’t know what he would look like as a happy person.
Christina Cole (Mrs. Elton)–aaaahhh Christina…she won’t show up until tonight’s episode, but I did have to mention her. She is so perfect in the role of the romantic rival. It is always in a slightly mean to very mean fashion. She has played the “other woman” in Jane Eyre, What A Girl Wants, and Lost in Austen. I bet she is the nicest person in real life, but she always plays beautiful British bitches.
So, am I the only person who does this while they are watching tv/movies? I try not to point these things out when I am with other people, because I find it really annoying when my dad does it to me, but sometimes I can’t help it. My cats don’t seem to mind when I tell them that it is weird to see Dumbledore playing Emma’s father.
Hopefully all of you Austen fans will check out Emma on PBS. It is definitely worth it. The first episode is available to watch here to get ready for tonight.