TV Time: Road to Avonlea

TV Time: Road to Avonlea

We love movies and television! But, the problem with so much of modern television is that it contains so many things that are undesirable either from language, violence or sexual content. We’ve had to go through many of our discs and get rid of things and we’ve also cracked down on our channel surfing. For Lent, we purposed to be extra careful what shows we landed on and to make sure that we didn’t watch parts of shows or movies that we’ve already gotten rid of.  There’s still a long way to go in making sure that we’re filling our hearts and minds with good and not hurtful things. One standard way of measuring if something is good for us to watch that is based from one of my favorite Bible verses

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

In light of that many we knew had to readjust our viewing. But, I’m happy to say that our favorite show Road to Avonlea is going nowhere! I (Kari) first became a fan of this show as a young girl and I got RJ hooked on it before we got married!  It’s a wonderful series that mixes drama and comedy in the most delightful ways. It’s impossible to walk away from an episode without laughing, having your heart touched and being challenged to be a better person. How could you not love a show like that?

Road to Avonlea is based on the some of the writings of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.  It’s set in the fictitious village of Avonlea on the very real and beautiful Prince Edward Island. The series begins with young Sara Stanley meeting her mother’s relatives The King Family. The episodes follow them through all the changes and challenges that a big family faces from childish fights through marriage and new children being born. It’s fun because you get to learn so much about another era from the beautiful period details of the costumes and sets, which are stunning! But, in many ways we’re still dealing with some of the same problems such as progress, friendship, and finding our own place in life, even though the historical setting is different.

an example of one of Felicity's beautiful gowns image from roadtoavonlea.com

an example of one of Felicity’s beautiful gowns image from roadtoavonlea.com

We love this Road to Avonlea! And I mean, we LOVE it! Here are some of our favorite episodes

Season One

Kari: “Aunt Abigail’s Beau”

I LOVE stories about marriage, weddings, engagements, courtships, etc and this episode is so sweet and so funny. How can an episode about a beau returning to pursue his sweetheart after fleeing to the Yukon not be fun? It’s a great ensemble episode, too, with great moments not just for the guest stars, but also for Sara/Felicity and Alec and Janet.

RJ: “ The Story Girl Earns Her Name”

I love this episode because it features the introduction of the quiet man, Jasper Dale.  He’s such a great character for anyone that’s ever felt like a screw-up.

Season Two

Kari: “It’s Just a Stage”

This episode features the absolutely beautiful and hilarious Madeline Kahn as a visiting stage actress cousin of Sara Stanley. I never get tired of this episode and there are many running jokes in my family that are references from this episode.

RJ: “May the Best Man Win”

Jasper has to compete for the affections of Olivia King when her old boyfriend comes back to town.

Season Three

Kari: “Ties that Bind”

Like I said earlier- I love weddings! When two of my favorite characters tie the knot in a beautiful Edwardian wedding it’s somehow even more fun! The wedding dress is beautiful and the episode contains an extra special blend of the tears and laughter heart of the series. (We even used music from Road to Avonlea and this very episode at our wedding. And if I could have gotten married in a dress like Olivia’s and a wedding just like hers- I would have! I still would!)

RJ: “Friends and Relations”

This installment is a great example of ensemble story telling.  Pretty much every character gets some attention, with my favorite moments occurring on an ice-fishing trip that virtually every male character goes on together.

Season Four

Kari: “The Dinner”

We have to have an episode about budding romance on this list. Gus and Felicity are a wonderful couple and watching their story throughout the series is a pure delight. In this episode Felicity invites Gus for a secret dinner so that they can be alone with absolutely disastrous results.

RJ: “Home Movie”

I really do love the Jasper episodes!  Here his new camera invention is used to save the day, when land developers try to destroy Avonlea.

Season Five

Kari: “Enter Prince Charming”

Its Sara’s turn for a beau! Avonlea welcomes a new minister and his family who shake up the church and village in a variety of ways. This first of a two part series has amazing music! Stockard Channing guest stars as Viola Davis the minister’s wife and is stunning and flawless in performances as always.

RJ: “Modern Times”

Jasper really makes good here when he and Olivia take over the local lobster cannery, and his problem solving leads to some great efficiencies.

Season Six

Kari “Lonely Hearts”

This episode features a bachelor auction, which is always good fodder for laughs, romance and misunderstandings on a television show.  It’s a very romance centered episode between many of the characters, and it also features some very sweet father/ daughter moments

RJ: “Great Expectations”

When young orphan Davey is having trouble in school, Jasper really focuses on helping the boy develop a love of learning, and shows that he’s going to make a great dad.

Season Seven

Kari: “King of the Great White Way”- As an actor myself, one of my greatest dreams is that someone will discover how talented I am and want to make me a star. Seriously. That’s exactly what happens in this episode where Eugene Levy guest stars as a songwriter in a slump that becomes inspired by Alec’s voice. This episode also has some wonderful music and it’s always a treat to hear Cedric Smith sing!

RJ: “Davey and the Mermaid”

This is a great little quirky episode.  I love illusions, and hate con artists, so what better than a carnival episode to show off both?

We love this show so much! It was a huge deal to only pick one favorite episode from each season! It can’t be stated enough how it’s so sweet, so funny, so heartwarming and such a joy to watch. Kevin Sullivan really created a masterpiece when he made this show. It’s timeless and I love it even more than I did as a young girl. I appreciate so much both the production quality of the work and the quality of performance and storytelling the episodes contain. It’s a treat to be able to relax and watch an episode together without having to turn it off after having dealt with something objectionable. We’ll keep enjoying these shows together (we’re actually getting ready to start watching the whole series through again) and we’ll have so much fun sharing them someday with our children! Thank God for DVDs so that no matter what networks now try to present as family entertainment (some of which is too racy or just bad) that we have wonderful shows that we can enjoy for years to come!

What other great, clean television shows do you know of? Do you have any favorites? Are you a fan of Road to Avonlea? What’s your favorite episode?

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