Home to period pieces and literary classics, PBS’ Masterpiece (by way of the BBC) takes a crack at Louisa May Alcott’s beloved coming-of-age tale beginning Sunday, May 13 at 8 p.m. If it feels like you haven’t read (or watched) Little Women since 1896, we’ve got a handy refresher guide. So dust off those high school lit class memories and take a look at the big little players of Little Women in preparation for the two-part mini-series. Whether you’re just a girl, not yet a woman, or a Little Women devotee, you can’t go wrong with this handy guide to the mini-series.
Jo March (Maya Hawke) a.k.a. The Adventurous One
Louisa May Alcott was said to base Jo and her authorial inspirations on herself, whose dreams of a career stood in stark contrast to the ideal woman of the 19th century. A lover of reading and writing, with an independent streak, Jo has long been an inspiration to bookish girls with hot tempers everywhere. Even if we are #TeamLaurie forever.
Meg March (center, Willa Fitzgerald) a.k.a. The Traditional One
The eldest sister, who dreams of marrying and settling into domesticity, Meg fulfilled most expectations for the modern 19th-century woman. In modern times, Meg and her devotion to domesticity might feel like a total yawn to many women, but others see her as a pillar of emotional maturity and her marriage to John Brooke as the clearest happily-ever-after of the story.
Amy March (Kathryn Newton) a.k.a. The Worst One
Beautiful and vain, Amy is the absolute worst. Really, the only good thing she does is fall through some ice. She has some artistic talent going for her, but burning your sister’s manuscript is pretty unforgivable. And we’ll never understand why Laurie Laurence ended up with her. Again, she’s the worst. Sorry not sorry.
Beth March (Annes Elwy) a.k.a. The Dead One
Kind, shy, piano-obsessed Beth thinks of everyone but herself and constantly makes sacrifices for her family — including the ultimate one. (1868 spoiler alert!) Beth is considered the emotional heart of the narrative, and we’re still not over her untimely demise.
Marmee March (Emily Watson) a.k.a. The One Doing the Best She Can
While the March patriarch is away during the Civil War, Marmee struggles to keep things together with her four temperamental, feuding, loving teenage daughters. Based on Alcott’s own mother, she’s the foundation of morality and love the March sisters return to in times of trouble.
Mr. March (Dylan Baker) a.k.a. The Absentee One
A huge part of Little Women’s central drama is that Mr. March is away during the Civil War, leaving the ladies to fend for themselves and worry about his well-being. When he is home, however, he’s a caring, considerate father who doles out advice to his family and the congregation he eventually becomes minister to.
Laurie Laurence (Jonah Hauer-King) a.k.a. The Hot One
Laurie is that elusive girlhood dream — the boy next door who is actually hot (and conveniently stands to inherit a good deal of money). He’s sarcastic, playful, and fun — and encourages Jo in her authorial aspirations, making him the seeming romantic hero of the narrative, until Jo turns down his proposal. [Sob!]
The Professor (Mark Stanley) a.k.a. The Condescending (Yet Affectionate) One
Professor Bhaer is the man who ultimately wins Jo’s affections — a penniless German immigrant who loves philosophy but earns his keep as a language instructor. He is tender and warm, but also kinda condescending idk, we’re so not here for a guy who pushes his female friend to become a “serious” writer instead of writing whatever the heck she wants.
John Brooke (Julian Morris) a.k.a. The Idealistic One
John Brooke is the poor yet perfect object of Meg March’s affection. She first falls for him when he’s a tutor to Laurie, but Aunt March threatens to disinherit Meg over their relationship because he’s so boring. JK, it’s ’cause he’s poor. But, eventually, they find romantic bliss and become the model Victorian family.
Mr. Laurence (Michael Gambon) a.k.a. The Secretly Kind One
Mr. Laurence is the Dumbledore of Little Women and that’s not just because he’s played by Dumbledore actor Michael Gambon. While over-protective to his neighbors, the March sisters, he’s often at odds with his rambunctious grandson Laurie. But we can’t help but love him because of his sweet dedication to Beth and her love of pianos.
Aunt March (Angela Lansbury) a.k.a. The Stuck-Up One
Aunt March is that classic rich old lady who acts like she’s mean and cold, but is actually a big softie underneath. The March sisters stand to inherit a significant amount of money from her, if they don’t annoy her with their flagrant disregard for social niceties and charitable works and the ultimate sin of being poor. She ends up being the sisters’ ticket to happiness in a multitude of ways.