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I’m a sucker for Masterpiece. The sweet sounds of the french horn, Laura Linney telling me, “Tonight on Masterpiece,” the list of financial contributors that always end with Donald and Darlene Shiley – all of it’s my jam. I know that I’m not alone when I say that my Sunday nights unabashedly belong to the Public Broadcasting System.
Because of Masterpiece, Colin Firth is always and forever the quintessential Mr. Darcy, Dame Helen Mirren is still the most badass detective, Highclere Castle continues to be our dream home, and we slightly regret the Revolutionary War and the fact that we don’t have British accents.
But in 2018, Masterpiece travels back to a Civil War America with their adaptation of the novel that made many of us fall in love with literature, Little Women.
It’s been 23 years since the last time we saw Louisa May Alcott’s tale of the March sisters brought to life.
Now don’t get me wrong – I loved the 1994 version. Teenage Julie believed Winona Ryder was the ultimate girl goal, lusted after Christian Bale and wanted to make little Welsh babies with him, and considered Claire Dane to be the worst cryer of all time.
All of those statements still ring true for Adult Julie today.
But Little Women is a story worth retelling, and if anything deserves the Masterpiece touch of gold, it’s this novel.
Growing up, I considered Jo to be my literary shero, and even tried to start a nickname for myself – Ju. Obviously, it didn’t take and rightly so. She was headstrong, determined to take her passion for reading and writing and make a career out of it, created her own path, and fought against the rigidity of feminine expectations in the 19th century. Essentially, she’s whom I think Elizabeth Warren would have been in the 1800s.
Little Women goes beyond just being a story about sisters. Its themes of family, friendship, gender roles and most importantly feminism have proven to stand the test of time. In the 21st century, when female reproductive organs are basically considered a preexisting condition and women still have to fight for equality in the workplace, Little Women is needed now more than ever, especially for our young girls.
Of course, we have a whole year to wait for this production, but that’s PBS’s way of reminding you to dig deep into your storage, find your dogeared copy of Little Women, and revisit the March family.
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