I’ve been curious about the Emily of New Moon television series for some time. It originally aired in 1998 and ran for four seasons. I’d never actually seen it though until Amazon ran a special I couldn’t resist. (You can get it on Amazon for less than $10 as of this moment!. THAT was a deal I absolutely wasn’t about to pass up and I eagerly awaited its arrival in my mailbox.
Being an avid Anne fan, and a Lucy Maud Montgomery fan in general, I was looking forward to seeing Emily brought to life on screen. And I wasn’t disappointed. And I was disappointed. Now, I’m writing this review of the series without having even completed watching the entire first season. I’ve seen half of it so far and it’s slow moving, primarily because of the spiritual nature that Salter Street Films decided to hone in on. I know Emily is a darker story in nature (compared to Anne) but I think they went a little overboard with Emily’s interest in the spiritual realm. If I were to summarize all of the episodes I have seen so far I would say that Emily can be summed up in these four words: “I see dead people.” She is forever seeing and talking to the dead in a rather creepy way. She doesn’t just send letter to her dead father, “To Douglas Starr, on the road to Heaven” but she interacts with many Murray relatives as they roam around the graveyard, as well as with non-relations. Now, in the books Emily does have visions and learns the story of what happened to her friend Ilse’s mother in a rather unusual way. But they overplayed it (horribly so) for the television audience. Emily is a really creepy sort of girl. It makes it hard to sit and watch this series for pleasure because I don’t find that form of spiritualism to be a real comfort. In fact, I think that they went so far with Emily talking to the dead, that I would offer a strong caution against watching this series with anyone under the age of 12 who you wouldn’t really want dealing with the idea of spirits and the spirit realm. If I had a daughter (which I don’t), I would not give her free reign when it comes to watching the Emily series. Without a daughter, and the choice of using my free time on Emily, I can’t say I’ve been all that thrilled to watch it just for myself. Morbid curiosity drives me onward, if anything at all.
That said, I know that there are a great number of people who prefer Emily’s darker side because they feel that she is more easy to relate to than the bright, sparkly Anne of Green Gables (my personal preference). I will say this for the Emily tv series: they used local children to star in the series and it was filmed on Prince Edward Island and you can tell. (I love that!) The acting isn’t exactly stellar, however, you DO like the people you are supposed to like and equally despise the people you are supposed to despise. Your feelings about each individual character grow at exactly the right pace. Exactly. I find that amazing. It’s not a Kevin Sullivan presentation, but if you like Emily and want to dive into this series and live it more fully, I won’t say that this is outright bad. I’m holding myself back from that (despite my concerns) because my feelings towards Aunt Elizabeth, Cousin Jimmy, Perry Miller are all right on. (Truthfully, the only character that has given me pause is Ilse, but that primarily has to do with the fact that I pictured her older in my mind’s eye.)
I give this series an “eehhh.” No thumbs up, no thumbs down. It’s Montgomery. What did you expect me to say? (I have stronger opinions to dish out on things which are blatantly anti-Montgomery like that Anne heresy they call “The Continuing Story.”)
If you have a passion for Lucy Maud’s Characters, I invite you to join me in the second annual Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge which I will be hosting at Reading to Know during the month of January. Track with me at Reading to Know to learn more information. I feel like the best way for me to ease into a new reading year is to spend time with some of my best friends. I’m looking forward to visiting a bit with Anne, but welcome you to read whichever Montgomery book you like! Grab a button and join in on the fun, come January!
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know and Reading My Library and obsesses about Anne of Green Gables continuously in real life.