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One of the most enduring novels in the history of American literature is Louisa May Alcott's classic Little Women, which told the tale of the four March sisters as they grew from girls into young women. The coming of age stories of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have resonated with readers for more than a century. Now, the saga of the March sisters is coming to the small screen on the perfect place: PBS.
PBS and Masterpiece are collaborating with the BBC for a TV adaptation of Little Women, and if that's not a trifecta of perfect producers for a series based on a book, I don't know what is. The adaptation will run for three parts of an hour each, written by Heidi Thomas of Call the Midwife and Cransford. Vanessa Casill of Thirteen and My Mad Fat Diary is slated to direct. The aim is for a new version that will manage to connect with contemporary audiences, satisfy the hopes of longtime fans of the novel, and introduce the story to brand new demographics.
As somebody who has read and re-read Little Women more time than I can count, I'm pretty excited about this adaptation. While the PBS project may not get the production value or fancy filming of book adaptations that air elsewhere, we can bet that it will be conducted in a way that honors the source material and appeals to viewers who may not be exceptionally versed in Louisa May Alcott's book. I already foresee myself crying by the time the third hour comes about.
The trick to turning this Little Women adaptation into a hit with book fans and newcomers alike may be entirely in the casting. The March sisters, Marmee, and Laurie are iconic literary characters to many, and the right actors could guarantee that they're as lovable on screen as they are on the page. The PBS adaptation presumably won't be able to land Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, and Christian Bale, but it doesn't necessarily need big names for the major roles.
It should be interesting to see how the folks working on Little Women manage to pack everything into three hours of TV. There have been a number of Little Women movies over the years (including the aforementioned film starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, and Christian Bale), and a new big screen project is on the way with an unexpected cast to be released in 2018, so it's definitely possible to fit the big moments of the book into 2-3 hours. It has also been made into small screen serials in years past. Hopefully this new version of Little Women will be one of the best. It certainly sounds less bonkers than the CW version that was in development for a while.
PBS hasn't yet announced a premiere date, so no need to start stocking up on tissues just yet. Casting will likely be announced in the not-too-distant future, with principal photography kicking off in July. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all your viewing options while we wait for Little Women. Be sure to drop by our rundowns for cable/streaming and broadcast TV renewals and cancellations as well. Our TV season finale schedule can give you all you need to know about your shows ending.