It’s not as satisfying or artistic as TV’s ”Anne of Green Gables” or the recent adaptation of ”Pollyanna,” but the new Disney miniseries version of ”Little House on the Prairie” is, nonetheless, a fine family drama with a young female protagonist.
”Little House,” of course, was mounted successfully before, as a 1974-83 NBC series produced by and starring Michael Landon. This new one, a total of six hours long, is presented under ABC’s ”Wonderful World of Disney” umbrella and premieres at 8 p.m. Saturday with a two-hour installment. Subsequent one-hour episodes air weekly in the same Saturday time slot.
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s original ”Little House on the Prairie” book, published in 1935, was the third in her series of childhood memoirs. The ”Little House” that Landon built ran out of original source material early on but kept going, adding new situations and characters.
Landon played Charles Ingalls, the proud pa who moved his family from wintry Wisconsin to a Kansas homestead. Melissa Gilbert played young Laura, and Melissa Sue Anderson played sister Mary.
The regular cast, over the years, included ”Malcolm in the Middle” creator Linwood Boomer as Adam Kendall, ”Arrested Development” star Jason Bateman as James Cooper Ingalls and Shannen Doherty, most recently of ”North Shore,” as Jenny Wilder.
The Disney version, adapted by ”Miss Congeniality” screenwriter Katie Ford, starts out as a much less populated affair. Saturday’s premiere covers less than half of the book, ending with a cliff-hanger in which Laura and Mary’s mother, Caroline (Erin Cottrell), are confronted by what then were called Indians.
Filmed on location in Canada