(Academic reaction: "Hooray! Any student watching this now knows how to pronounce 'St. John.'" Baffled reaction: "'Clear the church'? There's nobody in the church...")
Positive responses first. On the character front, I was pleased to see that St. John Rivers came equipped not only with a family, but also with the alluring Ms. Oliver. (Viewers frequently cannot count on Rivers even existing, let alone existing with sisters and a love interest.) Script-wise, I thought that using flashbacks for Jane's decision to leave Thornfield was an interesting and mostly successful choice, even if there was perhaps just a wee bit too much incipient erotic congress involved. Moreover, Jane's quest to link love and selfhood worked nicely, and I liked the repeated use of both mirrors and paintings to indicate Jane's relative sense of independent existence; we even saw a bit of Jane's resistance in the shopping sequence. Finally, both Wilson and Stephens continued to deliver well-calibrated performances (despite the aforementioned excessive moments of incipient erotic congress).
Overall, though, I think large chunks of the plot became problematic--to say the least--once ground through the script's secularization mechanism. St. John Rivers, Mr. Rochester, and Mrs. Reed all suffer from failures of niceness: St. John Rivers acts like a jerk, Mr. Rochester neglects to mention that slight impediment to the matrimonial state, and Mrs. Reed both hates Jane and refuses to forgive her. In the novel, these behaviors are signs of far more serious spiritual ailments, all of them with potential consequences in the next world as well as this one; here, they are just unfortunate psychological quirks that inconvenience Jane to some extent or other. Moreover, while the script tries to indicate the parallel between Rivers and Rochester, it does so in terms of shared passion--without noting the dangerous failure to practice humility, let alone accede to God's will, that also links the two men. (We also lose the connection between Rivers and Brocklehurst, as the script remains determinedly vague about theology.) The novel's insistent attention to moral decision-making and its repercussions, in other words, has entirely gone by the wayside; as usual, we don't come away from the miniseries with any awareness that Bronte ends with St. John Rivers' incipient death in the missionary field, not with the Rochesters' domestic happiness. Without Bronte's interest in the distinction between "custom" and divine law, the plot actually loses much of its resonance.
There are some other odd decisions. For example, I've noted before that fictional bodies usually "signify." Departing from the text's description of a character's face and form can unintentionally warp the narrative in all sorts of unexpected ways. Here, Bertha Mason remains attractive and alluring, while the purportedly beautiful St. John Rivers is...nice enough, I suppose, but not Bronte's Apollonian man of marble features. Yet Bertha's excessive body and vampiric features are supposed to suggest the inevitable outcome of wild, untamed passion, just as St. John Rivers' stone-like beauty is supposed to suggest the inevitable outcome of too much self-repression. This St. John was entirely too warm, despite his protestations of chilliness. Along the same lines, the miniseries added and subtracted sex in rather strange ways. I've already noted the excessive moments of incipient erotic congress. Here, Rochester suggests that Jane live with him platonically (not that the viewer altogether believes in his sincerity) as "brother and sister," the suggestion that Jane later offers the ultra-conventional St. John Rivers. In the novel, Rochester clearly proposes that Jane be his mistress, an outrage to Jane's understanding of divine law, whereas Jane's suggestion that she go abroad as St. John's sister is merely an outrage to social custom. More importantly, Jane's objection to marrying St. John is, in part, very much a matter of sex: she is horrified by her realization that he will go through with all the proper "forms," even though he finds her physically unattractive. The mini very much muddies the question of what is important to Jane, and what not.