I watched it the other day. What an incredible disappointment and a true example of false advertising. Talk about missing the whole freakin' point. Not only has it been made into a mediocre, sentimentalized TV soap opera, but in its own way, it's as much of a butchery of Welles' concept than RKO's infamous re-editing. I'll take the 1942 version over this cheese any day, because at least it's got some of Welles' vision left.
I couldn't help thinking of Gus Van Sant's shot-by-shot remake of Psycho a few years back. Van Sant's film may have turned out to be utterly pointless and empty, but... what if somebody did something like that with Ambersons?
Get a first-rate director who loves and has an understanding of Welles' style (Scorsese? Bogdanovich? Just throwing 'em out there...) to take the original shooting script, re-shoot Welles' scenes with a good cast, and also do the deleted scenes in a way he/she thinks Welles may have done it. Not because it would make it a better movie, of course, nor to replace Welles' film -- but to give us a vague sense of what RKO took away from us.
I'm not saying that would work out, or do justice to the original -- it's just that I'd rather see that than a bad TV miniseries that claims to be based on Welles' script when it's anything but. The 2002 version changed some of the chronology, omitted the narration as well as some other memorable bits of dialogue, and doesn't even try to emulate the amazing tones of nostalgia and dark tragedy that pervade the original. It wouldn't have mattered so much to me if they'd just made it as an adaptation of the novel, as their own individual interpretation, without latching onto Welles' name, but Welles would be spinning in his grave to have his name attached to this...
I'll leave you with the letter RKO sent to Welles concerning Ambersons.
Reading this letter really, really makes me want to punch any random movie-industry executive in the head.