Here are some of Your's Truly's thoughts on the first episode. . . sorry this isn't very polished, I just jotted it down in a hurry on a forum. . .
Okay - I watched it yesterday and - I have to say - I can only be lukewarm about the first episode (let's hope the series improves in later episodes). It's not shockingly bad, but it's not that good either. At least, I didn't think it was.
As for the following 55 minutes - it would have worked so much better if Sandy Welch had used at least some of Austen's dialogue! I'm currently rereading the book, and I'm guessing that only 15-20% of the dialogue in episode 1 is actually from Austen.
Romola Garai as Emma is okay - ditto JLM as Mr. Knightley. If Emma's character seems slightly distorted, it's probably the fault of the director and screenwriter, not Romola. Only - I think they're taking the "modern" gestures and mannerisms too far here. They seem to have forgotten that a girl like Emma would have been taught to deport herself properly, walking, moving, and speaking with grace.
The only real standout from the rest of the cast was Tamsin Greig as Miss Bates. The other cast members were all perfectly adequate in their parts, without any real passion or brilliance.
It just seems like a rather soul-less adaptation so far. However, it will probably grow on me, and I'm sure the next few episodes will be better.
- But don't let that put you off from watching it! Watch it, then let me know what you thought!