Sunday night was the first installment of a new BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. PBS is broadcasting the film on Masterpiece Theatre, and will show the next part this coming Sunday. I have to say, Austen adaptations can be hit or miss. The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle) is beyond excellent. Their version of Sense and Sensibility that came out last year was wonderful. The version of Mansfield Park (starring Billie Piper) that was shown on PBS last year was wretched.
So, I was apprehensive about this adaptation of Emma. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The acting is great. Romola Garai plays Emma with great expression and Johnny Lee Miller plays a young, but attractive Mr. Knightley (he's supposed to be sixteen years older than her, but they look the same age). The sets are beautiful, the script is well done, and, my very favorite, the clothes are superb. Beyond beautiful. Not just the typical whispy pastels you see in most Regency-era films, these clothes have substance to them. And you see characters wearing the same dress again in a different scene - a touch of realism, since most people, even the rich, would not have had an endless wardrobe.
If you missed the first part Sunday night, you can watch online. The webpage also has some behind-the-scenes video and interviews with the cast and writers. Definitely worth checking out.
P.S. Thanks to Natalie at Horatio's End for the timely reminder to watch and also for the link to the PBS site.