December 06, 2004 12:00 PM


PBS (Sun., Nov. 28, 9 p.m. ET)

Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 classic Pollyanna concerns an 11-year-old girl whose name has become synonymous with cockeyed optimism. Any adaptation of the novel is bound to have a high sugar content, but this well-acted Masterpiece Theatre entry stops short of sticky sweetness.

Though the setting has changed from New England to old England, the story seems right at home. Newly orphaned Pollyanna (Georgina Terry) comes to live with stern Aunt Polly (Amanda Burton), and the child’s positive thinking proves a tonic for all she meets. Serious misfortune befalls Pollyanna—get out your hankies—but nothing can keep her down. The refreshing thing about Terry’s performance is that she wears no halo. Her Pollyanna is a ray of sunshine and a bit of a pest—in short, a kid.

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