Monday, January 19, 2009

Road to Avonlea

When I was around 12 and 13 years old, I was addicted to Road to Avonlea. My family did not have cable tv but my best friend had it and that included the Disney channel. Every Sunday night a new episode of Road to Avonlea would be shown and she would faithfully record the show so that I could watch it. Years later, I still had the collection of old VHS tapes which housed my Avonlea series and provided me with countless hours of entertainment. (COUNTless hours, I tell you!) My friend and I wrote up our own ideas of how we thought the series should play out and what we thought should happen with the various characters. In between seasons we would talk endlessly about the various romances and developments between the various family members on the show. Obsessed? Just a little.

Now you can find the whole series on DVD and over the course of the past two years (?) or so I have rewatched the entire series with my sisters-in-law who have never seen it. For Christmas my SIL bought me the last remaining season so that we could all watch it together. It is bittersweet for me to come to the conclusion of the series again, even though I know what's going to happen. It's been tons of fun (and is especially fun this season) to hear the girls guess at what is going to happen next. I won't tell you in this blog post least they sneak a peek to find out! I'm reminiscing my past as well as the past of the King family to some degree.

The Road to Avonlea series, if you are unfamiliar with them, are based on Lucy Maud Montgomery's books The Story Girl and The Golden Road. (You can read my review of The Story Girl here.) This series was produced by Kevin Sullivan who also produced the Anne of Green Gables triology. (Although if we're giving true confessions, I absolutely DESPISE Anne Of Green Gables - The Continuing Story and refer to it only as "Anne heresy." I watched it on PBS when it first came out in 2000 and was mortified and livid. Montgomery is probably rolling over in her grave over the liberties Sullivan took with that third movie thatshouldneverhavebeenmade.)


Despite that, I do think Sullivan did a great job adapting Montgomery's works to create the Road to Avonlea series and I heartily recommend them. They not only capture the spirit of Montgomery but I think adadequately represent the King family. Yes, they changed some of the characters around, keeping some alive and removing others from the picture. It's an adaptation of Montgomery's works for sure but in this case I do think it is tastefully done.

The characters on screen are charming, lovable and easy to identify with. Best yet you really get to grow up with the family, beginning when the King cousins are young and moving along with them as they navigate their own life adventures. The stories that are brought to life for the modern day audience are frequently hilarious, often make me cry, and are just relaxing. I think the series represents the Island well and takes into account myths and legends in much the same way that Montgomery did. You do find the "witch" character in Peg Bowen that can create some suspiciously creepy episdoes but the character is truly benign and I don't find myself bothered by her. She's just an old woman who roams the Island and has a habit of freaking the children out in humerous ways. She's a character - and those are episodes - that I am happy to overlook in light of being able to enjoy things as a whole.

I love escaping to the Island to be with the King family. If you haven't had a chance to watch this series, I heartily recommend doing so. It is an expensive DVD set and I've spent a few years collecting them all (birthdays and Christmases helped). You might check your local library if you want to give this show a test run. Our local library does, I believe, carry it. For my part though I know I love it enough to own as I will happily rewatch them over and over again.

For a quick synopsis or for purchase of any given season, Amazon has some pretty good deals:

Road to Avonlea Season 1
Road to Avonlea Season 2
Road to Avonlea Season 3
Road to Avonlea Season 4
Road to Avonlea Season 5
Road to Avonlea Season 6
Road to Avonlea - Season 7

Cast Interviews from the last season (season 7):


Unknown said...

Carrie, this is the most wonderful post you have EVER made. What wonderful memories your brought back! I remember my whole family waiting in anticipation for Avonlea to come on when Monday night rolled around. I had never seen the cast interview before and I am almost a little embarrassed to say that it made me cry! I am also very thankful that this is a part of my childhood that I shared with you!
Now I just need to buy all the seasons so Tristan can watch them with me!

Unknown said...

Oh...and I couldn't agree more with your sentiments about The Continuing Story. I just pretend it doesn't exist!

Anonymous said...

This has brought back so many memories. Watching Road to Avonlea as I grew up was wonderful, and provided me with a lifelong friendship with a series. Seeing the King children grow and raise their own families is beautiful and the humorous and insightful situations the children get into is so much fun!

Thanks for this lovely post...more people need to know about R.O.A.!

~The 'Anne Heresy' is a good name for The Continuing Story :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder, Carrie. I really need to start collecting these DVDs for my own girls when they're old enough to get what Avonlea is all about.

I agree with your opinion of the Continuing Story (a.k.a. Anne Heresy). It's almost like the screenplay writers just "borrowed" Anne for her instant name recognition. I will admit that I own it, though. I THINK someone gave it to me as a gift, knowing how much I love Anne.

Beth said...

Your comment on The Continuing Story made me laugh. My daughter is always begging me to get if from the library and I refuse to do it. I usually go off in a rant on how "stupid it is, etc, etc, etc. I was so mad the first time I saw it. It truly is "Anne heresy"!

I recently came across your blog and am enjoying it very much. I think we might be kindred spirits.

Sky said...

My friend KW just got me started on these! They are my new laundry-pile-super-folding-time movies! I love them, they do not follow the books much but seem to keep the PEI spirit quite well. I love the Gus Pike character!

Sky said...

I actually love Peg Bowen, I explain to my kids that sometimes people call others witches just because they are different and that Peg Bowen is not really a witch, she is just very different and sometimes she sees that to help people she can take advantage of their fear for her so called powers.

Kailana said...

One of these days I am going to buy this show. I loved it when I was younger... Probably around the same age you mentioned, actually. I can't remember! I was sooo sad when it went off the air. Sometimes I catch reruns but I would love to watch it from beginning to end!

Ronnica said...

I'm by no a Montgomery purist, but I thought that the third movie was ridiculous and totally disjointed from the rest of the story.

mrs shortcake said...

My family were regular visitors to Avonlea on the Disney Channel and on CBC. Now that I'm married, I've introduced the series to my uber-macho husband - and he loves it! We're hoping to take a trip to PEI this summer!

Stephanie said...

I love love love these videos. :) They also sell them at Sam's and the prices are pretty good there. I'm going to be adding them to my library. I used to have tons of the episodes on VCR tapes, but they are long gone ... as is our VCR! :)

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