|DVD Box Art|
Adapted from my review of Little Women (1994)
Little Women revolves around the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March, and their mother, Mrs. March [called Marmee]. Mr. March, Mrs. March's husband and Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy's father, is off fighting in the Civil War. Jo March, the main protagonist, becomes quick friends with Theodore "Laurie" Laurence who falls in love with her.
While there is only one period drama actress that I recognized in this version of Little Women, there were plenty of recognizable Hollywood actors in there.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Meredith Baxter||Meg March||The Inheritance as Beatrice Hamilton|
|Susan Dey||Jo March||The Patridge Family as Laurie Partridge|
|Eve Plumb||Beth March||The Brady Bunch as Jan Brady|
|Greer Garson||Aunt March||Pride and Prejudice (1940) as Elizabeth Bennet|
|Robert Young||Mr Lawrence||Father Knows Best as Jim Anderson|
|William Shatner||Professor Bhaer||Star Trek: The Original Series as Captain James T. Kirk|
|John de Lancie||Frank Vaughn||Star Trek: The Next Generation as Q|
Because this miniseries had a longer run time than the 1994 movie, I felt that I got to know the characters and story better with this version of Little Women. When I watched the 1994 version, I felt like there were some gaps in the storyline, but with this version, I felt like I had a better understanding of the story.
|Left to Right: Jo March, Meg March, Beth March, and Amy March|
Picture from Enchanted Serenity of Period Films
Jo fared better than Meg. Susan Dey was a decent Jo. I thought she captured Jo's tomboyish nature well. I don't know if the Jo in the story made a habit of climbing out of the window and climbing down a tree to get out of the house on occasion, but it wouldn't shock me that Jo did that. Jo also served as the narrator throughout the entire story, Spoiler which sets the ground a little bit when she publishes her life story in the newspaper End of Spoiler.
One of the things that irked me about this miniseries was Amy. The same actress played her from beginning to end. From the beginning she looked like she was older even though she was only supposed to be twelve (or at least in the story she's supposed to be twelve). Don't get me wrong, I liked her better than Kirsten Dunst's Amy (this Amy was less annoying, though she did still irk me every so often): I just thought that it was a stretch to have an older actress play Amy.
Now onto Laurie. There are really two sides of Laurie: there is the one side where him and Jo are friends, but before he proposes to Jo, and there is the other side where he is trying to get over Jo and falls in love with Amy. Comparing this Laurie with Christian Bale's Laurie, I thought that Christian Bale did better with the first part (but only by a little bit), but this Laurie did better with the second part. With the second side, you really see how Laurie comes around and picks himself up after Jo (with Christian Bale, I didn't see that and thought he just turned out weird).
And now the reason I watched this Little Women... William Shatner as Professor Bhaer. I was never much of a fan of Professor Bhaer: not that I disliked his character, but I thought he was just too old for Jo. (I still think she should have married Laurie). William Shatner did over act as Professor Bhaer (and especially with the very fake German accent) but that's his shtick and I nevertheless liked his Professor Bhaer better than the 1994 Professor Bhaer.
|Theodore "Laurie" Lawrence|
|William Shatner as Professor Bhaer|
You can tell that this miniseries did not have a big budget. I don't doubt that many of the scenes were on a set of some sort, but nevertheless, they were good sets. One of the things that stood out to me was the differences between the Marches' home and the Lawrence' home. They were on the same street, but were vastly different. The Marches' home was much more modest, while the Lawrence's home was more elaborate. You get to see more of the Marches' home (Jo is the narrator, after all), while you only see the main room of the Lawrence's home.
|Jo covering her head with a scarf|
If you watch this miniseries, don't watch it for the costumes. They're not the worst costumes that I've seen, but they definitely aren't great. And on top of all that, they are not accurate to the time period. There was a severe lack of crinolines (or hoopskirts) for the era; granted, the Marches aren't a rich family, so at home or out and about they might be able to get away without a crinoline, but not at a party at Meg's friend Sallie Gardiner's home. Everyone at that party, even fashionable Sallie, seemed to lack the crinolines that would have been worn at a party at the time. There were a couple of scenes were Jo was walking around in a split skirt, which I don't think a young lady in her situation would have done. And one of the things that irked me, at the very least during the first episode, was the lack of bonnets/hats: the March girls would cover their heads with a scarf, but no hat.
I enjoyed this miniseries more than I expected... I will even admit (much to the chagrin of Louisa May Alcott fans, I'm sure) that I enjoyed this movie more than the 1994 version. Granted, the acting isn't the best, the scenery isn't great, and the costumes left much to be desire... Yet I enjoyed this movie more than the 1994 movie that seemed to do better in all of those categories. I think I might have enjoyed this movie more than the 1994 version because it was better paced. Since it was a two episode miniseries, there was more time to develop the story than the 1994 version. I can't vouch for it's accuracy to the original story, but I can say that I enjoyed this miniseries
There is virtually no content to speak of. I would rate this miniseries as TV-G.
Little Women is available on DVD and on Hulu. It runs for a total of 200 minutes that is split into two episodes.