Hollywood has a long, proud history of taking every story, TV show or film you hold dear from childhood and stomping all over it with a remake nobody asked for.
And it would appear they're carrying on that fine tradition in celebrating the 150th anniversary of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, one of the world's most beloved books, with an absolute dumpster fire of a new movie.
Slated for a September release, the upcoming film sees the four famous March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – navigating life in the present day, as opposed to the 1860s.
All I can glean from the cloying, corny mess of the film's trailer is that aspiring novelist Jo is still handwriting her masterpiece in 2018, instead of tapping away on a laptop. (Presumably because it's more difficult to destroy your sister's novel in a bitter rage when she's backed it up on the cloud.)
But, thankfully, this year also sees another adaptation of the classic Little Women tale reaching our screens, with a three-part mini-series currently airing on Sunday nights on SoHo. Even better, this one remains in 1860s Massachusetts, complete with horse-drawn carriages, paper curls, and those curiously popular pickled limes.
However, unfortunately for this new series, it's coming after the 1994 film adaptation of the book – and, oh, what a tough act to follow.
That particular film was nominated for several Oscars and starred Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale, amongst others. The actresses playing the four sisters naturally clicked, as did Ryder and Bale as childhood friends Jo and Laurie. The film was utterly charming, right down to its famous score. I probably watched it 50 times.
So it was always going to be tough ask for 2018's mini-series to reach similar heights. But in the hands of screenwriter Heidi Thomas (who also adapted Call The Midwife), they give it a good shot.
Thomas is faithful to Alcott's original books (including the problematic ending for Jo that still divides readers to this day) but delivers several moments that are far grittier than those found in previous adaptations. The scenes with the poverty-stricken Hummel family are much more harrowing than those in the 1994 flick, for example.
Thomas also offers a less romanticised version of events. She alludes to Beth's famous fragility and shyness as being a crippling anxiety disorder. Family matriarch Marmee (played by Oscar nominee Emily Watson) is given dialogue with more modern insights, such as when she tells Jo about being angry every single day.
Yet there are still the dreamy, cosy, Instagram-worthy scenes of kittens and floral bridal crowns and beautiful, snow-covered manors that Little Women is known for, making for an uneven look and feel when contrasted with those grim moments.
Maya Hawke, the 19-year-old daughter of actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, leads this new cast in the celebrated role of headstrong tomboy Jo March. The daunting role just so happens to be her acting debut and she handles it well, even if it does pale in comparison to Ryder's efforts from 24 years ago.
It's a common theme for Hawke's co-stars, who all do an admirable job in recreating beautiful, sensible Meg, kind, introverted Beth, and emotional, romantic Amy - but don't quite reach the heights of their '90s predecessors.
That being said, this new bunch of March sisters still did enough with Alcott's already well-known story to make me cry. Twice.
While Watson brings extra credibility to the cast as Marmee, it's Dame Angela Lansbury's portrayal of the imperious Aunt March that is hands down the highlight of this mini-series. Hers is the special kind of confident, delightful performance that I'm hoping will see this 92-year-old legend finally land her first Emmy.
Some might argue that Little Women didn't need another reimagining on our TV screens. But given that the original book's theme of women challenging society's expectations of them is – depressingly – still very relevant 150 years later, now seems as good a time as any to check back in with the March sisters.
And I think it's a fairly safe bet that this mini-series will still be far superior to the "modern retelling" abomination hitting big screens come September.
• Little Women screens on SoHo, Sundays at 8.30pm with repeats on Tuesdays at 7.30pm.