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Road to Avonlea
Road to Avonlea.JPG
Created byKevin Sullivan
Based onThe Story Girl
The Golden Road
Chronicles of Avonlea
Further Chronicles of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
StarringSarah Polley
Jackie Burroughs
Lally Cadeau
Cedric Smith
Gema Zamprogna
Zachary Bennett
Michael Mahonen
Mag Ruffman[1]
ComposersJohn Welsman,[2]
Hagood Hardy
Country of originCanada
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes91 (list of episodes)
Production
Running time45 minutes
Production companySullivan Films
Release
Original networkCBC
Original releaseJanuary 7, 1990 (1990-01-07) –
March 31, 1996 (1996-03-31)
Chronology
Preceded byAnne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987)
Followed byAn Avonlea Christmas (1998)

Road to Avonlea is a Canadian television series first broadcast in Canada between January 7, 1990, and March 31, 1996, and in the United States starting on March 5, 1990. It was created by Kevin Sullivan and produced by Sullivan Films (later Sullivan Entertainment) in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the Disney Channel, with additional funding from Telefilm Canada. It follows the adventures of Sara Stanley, a young girl sent to live with her relatives in early 20th-century eastern Canada. It was loosely adapted from novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery, with many characters and episodes inspired by her stories.

Some episodes were turned into independent books by various authors;[3] around 30 titles have been released.

In the United States, its title was shortened to Avonlea, and a number of episodes were retitled and reordered. The series was released on VHS and DVD there as Tales from Avonlea.

Background and development

The series was initially loosely inspired from a number of books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, primarily The Story Girl and The Golden Road, both of which feature the character of Sara Stanley, as well as Felicity, Felix, and Cecily. These books, while set in Prince Edward Island, did not take place in the village of Avonlea. Many of the series' episodes and situations were adapted from stories recounted in Montgomery's Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea.

Many supporting characters were sourced from Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series. The show is set within the same continuity as Sullivan's 1985 film and its 1987 sequel based on the Anne novels. Rachel Lynde, Marilla Cuthbert, and Muriel Stacy all originally appeared in Montgomery's debut novel Anne of Green Gables, with Rachel and Marilla being briefly mentioned in passing in Chronicles of Avonlea. Patricia Hamilton, Colleen Dewhurst, and Marilyn Lightstone, who had played the characters in the films, returned for Road to Avonlea. The characters of Davy and Dora Keith were originally from Anne of Avonlea, the first sequel to Anne Of Green Gables. Anne Shirley herself never appeared, although she was referred to on rare occasions.

Some episodes of the show were turned into independent books by different authors. Around 30 titles have been released.

In the United States, its title was shortened to simply Avonlea, and a number of episodes were retitled and reordered. When the series was released on VHS and DVD in the United States, the title changed from Road to Avonlea to Tales from Avonlea.

The series is set in the fictional small town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, in the early 20th century (1903–1912). Ten-year-old Montreal heiress Sara Stanley (Sarah Polley) is sent by her wealthy father to live with her two maiden aunts, Hetty and Olivia King, to be near her late mother's side of the family after an embezzlement scandal results in him being placed under house arrest. The show's focus shifted over the years from Sara's interactions with locals to stories about the King family. Later seasons of the show focused more on residents of Avonlea who were connected to the King family. Sarah Polley left the show in 1994, returning for a guest appearance in the sixth season as well as the series finale episode.

Following the series proper, a reunion TV movie called An Avonlea Christmas was produced in 1998.

Characters

Major characters in the series (from left to right): Hetty King, Jasper Dale, Olivia King Dale, Sara Stanley, Alec King, Felix King, Janet King, Cecily King, Eliza Ward and Felicity King
Major characters in the series (from left to right): Hetty King, Jasper Dale, Olivia King Dale, Sara Stanley, Alec King, Felix King, Janet King, Cecily King, Eliza Ward and Felicity King

Major characters

Secondary characters

Guest stars

Many famous actors made guest appearances on the show, including

Episodes

Main article: List of Road to Avonlea episodes

Locations

The Road to Avonlea set was constructed in Uxbridge, Ontario—the town where Lucy Maud Montgomery lived and wrote for a decade after moving from Prince Edward Island. The town of Avonlea was adapted from existing buildings. Its roads were painted red in an attempt to match the distinctive color of the island's iron-rich soil. Filming also took place regularly at Westfield Heritage Centre in Flamborough, Ontario. Photography and enhanced digital matter work married second-unit scenes of Prince Edward Island with the Leaskdale location where necessary.

Home media

Sullivan Entertainment released all seven seasons on DVD in Region 1 for the first time between 2005 and 2006. In 2009, they began re-releasing the series in wide screen format. As of December 2012, all seven seasons and the Christmas special had been released in widescreen format.[4]

In 2016, Sullivan Entertainment announced it would launch their own streaming service called Gazebo TV that would feature the Road to Avonlea series among other titles produced by the company. The service launched in early 2017.

Ratings

The series debut garnered 2.527 million (2+) viewers.[5]

Awards and nominations

During Road to Avonlea's seven-year run, it won and was nominated for numerous awards worldwide:

International broadcasters of Road to Avonlea

North America

Central America

South America

Europe

Asia

See also

References

  1. ^ "Catching Up With…Mag Ruffman From 'Road to Avonlea'". Zoomer.
  2. ^ "Fans still follow Road to Avonlea". Toronto Star, Philip Marchand, July 31, 2007
  3. ^ "Book Review: SARA'S HOMECOMING, AUNT HETTY'S ORDEAL...". Canadian Materials for Young People Reviewing Journal, Volume 20 Number 5 1992 October. Reviewed by Constance Hall
  4. ^ "Tales From Avonlea: The Complete First Season". IGN, November 28, 2005
  5. ^ Bailey, Katie (January 8, 2015). "The Book of Negroes debuts to 1.7M viewers » Playback". Playback. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Avonlea - Emmy Awards Nominations". Emmy Awards - Television Academy. Emmy Awards. Retrieved May 9, 2016.