They managed to modernize the script so that people’s reactions always felt relateable. I do not always like BBC’s casting, but in this case it was spot on and characters who felt sinister actually turned out to be slightly sinister. Romola Garai is adorable as Emma. She has our sympathies, but is also believable when too meddlesome. Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Nightley is great when he’s empathic or scolding. All performances are pleasantly toned down. My only minor gripe is that the ending is a bit too happy. Also notable is an observation made by LouE15 on IMDB:
My only slight snarky point would be that there didn’t appear to be a really discernible difference in age between him and Emma, which represents such a significant barrier in the original story to Emma’s consideration of Mr Knightley as something more than a scolding old friend, her superior in age, intellect and gravitas.This is the best “Emma” adaptation, I have seen so far (but my memory of the others is hazy).