When news broke this week that the CW was producing a TV series based on Little Women, lit nerds rejoiced... for about one minute. The network then hit us with the second part of the reboot: Rather than putting on plays in their comfy Civil War-era attic, the sisters (now half-sisters) will "band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined." Cue the cries of our childhood ruined.
The truth is, some of the most beloved pieces of teen pop culture are radically reimagined takes on classic lit. "What has thou doneth to the beloved tale of my childhood," a fifteenth century woman might say if she saw The Taming of the Shrew become 10 Things I Hate About You. "Truly, degrading and trivializing the height of art and culture," a 16th century time traveler could comment when she saw her favorite Emma become Clueless.
These movies became classics for '90s kids who may never have gone near a book full of thous or high teas, because what makes the stories great isn't the language or the set pieces, it's the characters. Who cares if Jo writes revolutionary pamphlets instead of plays, or whether Beth reminds her sisters to share their food with the poor zombie orphans instead of the war widows. What will make the show compelling is exploring their bond as sisters and seeing what makes them all strong women in their own unique ways.
Most important of all, this series is another chance to finally correct Louisa May Alcott's biggest mistake and finally unite Jo and Laurie. It was ridiculous enough to see a young Christian Bale rejected in favor of that angry old guy, but in a dystopian landscape, no teen girl is going to go for the aging writer, when she could have a charming, youthful BF. This is especially clear when said BF can scale the totalitarian compound walls and has enough money to buy her the best freeze-dried rations.