Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Emma episode 1

The first episode of Emma aired on Sunday night and I finally have the time to write down a few thoughts. I won't give a plot summary as you've either seen it or an earlier version or read the book.

The episode did leave me feeling a bit "meh". It wasn't bad by any means. I just think it was very much a scene setting exercise. (I wonder if a three part adaptation might have been better...)

Romola did a good job playing Emma as a little unlikable. She's being selfish and mean but doesn't realise it. We don't hate her but we hate what she is doing. At the end of the episode Knightley gives her a good talking to and she perhaps starts to realise that somewhere along the way she has done something wrong.

(Actually I was waiting for him to say "it was badly done, Emma" but he never did. Mark Strong got to say that line twice in the Kate Beckinsale version. Hopefully we will hear it after the picnic scene.)

Jonny Lee Miller was fine but I thought he lacked the gravitas I think the character needs. I was thinking Toby Jones would slot in well, but then you may as well go the whole way and cast the wonderful Ruth Wilson as Emma!

Michael Gambon was brilliant with what little he had to do as her father.

Tamsin Greig was very good as Miss Bates. There was a little moment where she is about to read Jane's latest letter to her invalid mother. Her constant effort to fill the room with talk falters and a look of despair crosses her face as if she realises how empty her life is. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Jane Fairfax and the mysterious Frank Churchill were not in this episode.

I knew I had seen the actor who plays Mr Elton before, but I had no idea it was the guy who played Edmund in Mansfield Park 2007.

All in all, it gets a solid "not bad". Hopefully things will pick up next week.