By Tom Gliatto Rennie Dyball Scott Huver
January 21, 2008 12:00 PM

PBS, check local listings |


Masterpiece Theatre has undergone a makeover—a quick Dustbustering of musty corners—as it starts a new season with fresh adaptations of Jane Austen’s six novels. The series has dropped Theatre from its title (it’s officially Masterpiece now) and lost that opening shot of richly bound classic books. And the new host is X-Files star Gillian Anderson, filmed without fuss in front of a crimson backdrop that matches her hair. The first production, Persuasion, isn’t as subtle as the delicate 1995 version, but as heroine Anne Elliot—who can’t get over her regret at having rejected Captain Wentworth (Rupert Penry-Jones)—Sally Hawkins has a look of long-endured sorrow that’s very moving. It ends happily—that hasn’t changed.