THE SERIES

Road to Avonlea is set in a fictional small east coast town on Prince Edward Island in the early 20th century. Based on characters and stories from the novels of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the 95 episode one-hour series was a spin-off from Sullivan Entertainment’s miniseries of Montgomery’s best known novel, Anne of Green Gables.

Among the 95 episodes are both uproarious and touching stories that celebrate childhood and imagination alongside more serious themes of birth, love, old age and death as experienced in a small community during the Edwardian era. The long running saga co-produced with Disney and CBC came to be regarded as something of an institution. Its sumptuous, cinematic production values, heartfelt characters and story lines sparked a cult-like following all over the world.

Avonlea as it was know on The Disney Channel aired consistently between March 1990 and January 1997.

A reunion movie called An Avonlea Christmas was produced in 1998.

Among the 95 episodes are both uproarious and touching stories that celebrate childhood and imagination alongside more serious themes of birth, love, old age and death as experienced in a small community during the Edwardian era. The long running saga co-produced with Disney and CBC came to be regarded as something of an institution. Its sumptuous, cinematic production values, heartfelt characters and story lines sparked a cult-like following all over the world.

Avonlea as it was know on The Disney Channel aired consistently between March 1990 and January 1997.

A reunion movie called An Avonlea Christmas was produced in 1998.

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BRIEF FACTS

16 Emmy Nominations
4 Emmy Award wins

1992 : CHRISTOPHER LLOYD-Outstanding Lead Actor in a Dramatic Series

1993 : OUTSTANDING CHILDREN’S PROGRAM 

1995 : OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN for a Series

1997 : DIANNE WIEST-Outstanding Guest Actress in a Dramatic Series

The series was sold in over 140 countries by the end of its domestic run

“This is the kind of show kids love and their parents
can enjoy right along with them. Light hearted fun with a sense of morality and quality”

The Hollywood Reporter

Throughout the seven seasons many guest stars joined the brilliant ensemble cast, in specially scripted roles:

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

Stockard Channing

Dianne Wiest

Faye Dunaway

Treat Williams

Maureen Stapleton

Bruce Greenwood

Christopher Reeve

Ned Beatty

Meg Tilly

Diana Rigg

Christopher Lloyd

Eugene Levy

Michael York

Peter Coyote

Madeline Kahn

THE INCEPTION OF THE SERIES

In 1990, after bringing two sumptuously filmed mini-series of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea starring Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth and Megan Follows, executive producer/showrunner Kevin Sullivan had just completed writing and directing two other feature films.

The mini-series reached staggering success around the world, however, his thoughts were far away from the idyllic, small-town world of Avonlea, for which he had just won an Emmy and a Peabody Award. A good friend challenged him, “No one has ever made a long-running television hit out of a classic novel. You have all the style and experience, why not serialize Anne of Green Gables?”

Sullivan began to draw together in his mind a parade of characters and several of the original cast members to reprise their roles from the Green Gables mini-series. He set the concept for the show in the east coast town where the original had been staged.

The mini-series reached staggering success around the world, however, his thoughts were far away from the idyllic, small-town world of Avonlea, for which he had just won an Emmy and a Peabody Award. A good friend challenged him, “No one has ever made a long-running television hit out of a classic novel. You have all the style and experience, why not serialize Anne of Green Gables?”

Sullivan began to draw together in his mind a parade of characters and several of the original cast members to reprise their roles from the Green Gables mini-series. He set the concept for the show in the east coast town where the original had been staged.

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THE PILOT

The series opens in 1907 when a sheltered 10-year-old Montreal heiress, Sara Stanley (Sarah Polley), is sent by her wealthy father, Blair Stanley, (after an embezzlement scandal has resulted in him being placed under house arrest) to a rural maritime community to live with the relatives of her late mother, namely her two maiden aunts, Hetty and Olivia King. Sara discovers the town of Avonlea is peopled with unforgettable characters that audiences came to know and love as much as Sara. The series follows Sara’s story and coming of age. Along the way she must prove herself to her cousins, relations and community — before she can feel a sense of belonging with the stable, loving family.

THE FORMULA

The dramatic formula for the series was unwavering. Episode plots were built around the development of a cast of youngsters with an adult ensemble cast which saw the kids’ entrance into the adult world of family and community life.

The larger community of the town was shaped through the interactions of cast regulars with ‘outsiders.’ Sullivan developed dynamic roles for superb guest stars who instigated disruptions into both family and community ties, and who sometimes served as an invasion of modern life and the rapidly changing world encroaching on small-town life.

The dramatic formula was magical and attracted a unique but phenomenal cast to Sullivan’s idealized and nostalgic world. The series narrative ended on the eve of World War I which served to reinforce the innocence of the setting — linking childhood, family and community.

Nothing like Avonlea has been produced again on such a cinematic scale and with such sophisticated and moving story-telling. Its unique form of multi-generational viewing brought adult and family audiences together week after week in both domestic and foreign markets.

The dramatic formula was magical and attracted a unique but phenomenal cast to Sullivan’s idealized and nostalgic world. The series narrative ended on the eve of World War I which served to reinforce the innocence of the setting — linking childhood, family and community.

Nothing like Avonlea has been produced again on such a cinematic scale and with such sophisticated and moving story-telling. Its unique form of multi-generational viewing brought adult and family audiences together week after week in both domestic and foreign markets.

Read more

“Solid, engrossing family fare with classy acting,
splendid photography and a fine period look.”

VARIETY