Anne With An E
Anne with an E (initially titled Anne for its first season within Canada) is a Canadian television series loosely adapted from Lucy Maud Montgomery's 1908 classic work of children's literature, Anne of Green Gables. It was created by Moira Walley-Beckett for CBC and stars Amybeth McNulty as orphan Anne Shirley, Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert, R. H. Thomson as Matthew Cuthbert, Dalila Bela as Diana Barry and Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe.
Anne with an E
Anne with an E received positive reviews and won Canadian Screen Award for Best Dramatic Series in both 2017 and 2018. The series tackles a range of issues such as orphaning, child abandonment, psychological trauma, social issues such as conformity, gender inequality, racism, religion, homosexuality, bullying and freedom of speech.
Approximately 1800 girls on three continents auditioned for the role of Anne Shirley through an open casting call. Amybeth McNulty was chosen for her ability to deliver dialogue which is "incredibly thick and dynamic and beautiful", according to Miranda de Pencier. Walley-Beckett describes her as at once "luminous", transparent, smart, soulful and emotional. According to an interview with McNulty, an Irish Canadian whose career on stage has included roles in Annie, The Sound of Music, and Oliver!, and on screen in Agatha Raisin and Clean Break, her audition for Anne "consisted of talking to trees, chatting with flowers and building thrones out of twigs."
For the second season, according to what she called her "master plan", Walley-Beckett introduced an entirely new character of her own, Bash, to reflect the racial diversity present in and around Charlottetown at the time of the novel, with a view to representing a community absent from previous adaptations, achieving this by having Gilbert travel on a steamship and meet with the new character in Trinidad: "Bash is the vehicle to explore intolerance and inequality, even more when he goes to The Bog, when he learns that other black people live there." Walley-Beckett explained: "The Bog is the community that's just outside of Charlottetown, where people of color were marginalized and had their own community there."
The series initially premiered on March 19, 2017, on CBC and aired on a weekly basis, the season finale airing on April 30, 2017. The series debuted on Netflix on May 12, 2017, under the title Anne with an E.
On August 3, 2017, CBC and Netflix renewed the series for a 10-episode second season, which premiered on Netflix on July 6, 2018, and on CBC on September 23, 2018. CBC adopted the Anne with an E name beginning in the second season.
CBC president Catherine Tait stated in October 2019 that it would no longer involve itself in co-productions with Netflix, as they constitute deals "that hurt the long-term viability of our domestic industry". A day after the third season concluded its Canadian run and despite statements from CBC previously expressing "no doubt that Canadians will continue to fall in love with this beautiful and heartwarming series for seasons to come," Netflix and CBC announced the show's cancellation the morning after the season three finale aired in Canada, marketing the season three release on Netflix as the show's "final season."
There were some fans who attempted to flood and bombard unrelated CBC and Netflix posts with the #renewannewithane hashtag (and general commentary regarding renewal) leading the CBC to block them from commenting on future posts. Netflix has never responded to campaign efforts.
Fans also crowdfunded to erect billboards in an effort to garner attention of current and potential new viewers, but also other television networks and the press. In January 2020 a set of billboards were put on display at the centre of Yonge and Dundas Square in Toronto, and shortly after another large billboard was on display in Times Square, New York City. The fans followed this successful run with another several days of billboards in Toronto, using various art and imagery done by fans of the show from various parts of the world. Many of the cast and crew, including Amybeth and Moira, visited the billboards in person and posted on their social media pages.
On Rotten Tomatoes season 1 has an approval rating of 83% based on 29 critic reviews. The site's critical consensus states: "Anne with an E uses its complex central character to offer a boldly stylish, emotionally resonant spin on classic source material that satisfies in its own right." The series has received a rating of 79 on Metacritic based on fifteen reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Amybeth McNulty defies her youth with a performance that's less a portrayal of Anne than an absolute possession. It can't be easy to make Anne's fanciful language sing the way she does, and McNulty captures the endearing awkwardness that enables Anne to win over everyone she comes in contact with.
Writing of the 90-minute premiere episode for the Toronto Star, Johanna Schneller was appreciative of Walley-Beckett's departures from the novel, bringing its subtext to the fore: "Reading between the novel's lines and adding verisimilitude, she gives us quick but potent glimpses of the miseries many orphans faced in 1890s imperialist culture." Hanh Nguyen, reviewing the series for IndieWire, concurred with this assessment, saying:
Rather than ruining the series, they give the context for why Anne would be filled with gratitude for the beauties of nature, basic human decency and having a family to call her own. Montgomery had based much of Anne's need for escape into imagination on her own lonely childhood, and her stories have always had an underlying poignancy that made them all the sweeter.
Some reviewers were more ambivalent, mainly about Walley-Beckett's changes to the story. Canadian novelist Saleema Nawaz, who reviewed the 90-minute first episode for Toronto Life, said she enjoyed it more than she expected, particularly the set designs and costumes, as well as the performances by McNulty and Thomson, and she approved of the choice of theme song as reflective of the continued relevance of the source material. She was less sure about how far the series intended to stray from that source material, and disapproved of the "manufactured drama, such as Matthew's wild horse ride". Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Isabella Beidenharn expressed similar feelings, but, "putting the source material aside, it's a fine show on its own", and she conceded that "inventing a dark side might help Anne With an E fit into today's TV landscape". Allison Keene, writing for Collider, agrees that Anne is a good drama on its own terms, but allows it is "only a fair adaptation" of the novel, at its best in the home scenes: "Anne with an E is undeniably the most stylish adaptation we've ever seen of Anne of Green Gables. But its desire to reveal more of Anne's miserable past in order to be more true to what the desperation of an orphan is like feels at odds with Montgomery's story." Writing for Variety, critic Sonia Saraiya is even more ambivalent, describing the series as on the one hand "a brilliant adaptation" which "succeeds admirably", but on the other hand, "the show can't quite sustain the brilliance, veering first into maudlin territory and then into the oddly saccharine as it tests out its tone", contending that "the show gets a bit bogged down in telling the story of Anne's dysfunction", presenting "a slightly soapy view of Anne's trials and tribulations that at times really humanize her and in others, are rather infantilizing".
Sarah Larson, writing for The New Yorker, was not at all impressed with changes made to the story, arguing that they alter Anne's character to the point of non-recognition. While she acknowledges that bringing subtext to the fore is a fine idea, she is not pleased with the execution, saying that the result is part "the Anne we know and love" and part "untrustworthy stranger", calling the alteration and addition of scenes a "betrayal" of Montgomery's novel, comparing the treatment unfavourably to Patricia Rozema's 1999 adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Laura Finch writing for "World", agrees, saying, "...despite some of the positive feminist themes found here (like whether or not girls should go to school), it's often hard to find the original Anne amid the extraneous storylines." For Joanna Robinson, writing for Vanity Fair, a central problem with the show is that it "seems to think that in order for Anne to be a feminist figure, she has to butt up against a straw-man-filled patriarchy," and so it turned many of the male characters into misogynists, most notably the Reverend Allan, who is considered by Anne to be a "kindred spirit" in the book: "Anne with an E seems to think Anne's triumphs are only noteworthy if she's continually told she can't succeed, when in fact her unfettered brilliance needs no such clumsy opposition. It also seems to think that Anne needs a radical feminist makeover when, in fact, the story of her success was feminist in its own right." This is part of a more general problem Robinson notes, that conflicts are exaggerated and overdone: "this series thrives on non-stop tragedy."
On Rotten Tomatoes, season 2 has an approval rating of 43% based on 8 critic reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. Hanh Nguyen writes that despite "periods of melancholy and turmoil, this season feels more energetic and subsequently lighter because of the faster pace. It also is more comfortable in its skin and handles humor in its everyday situations deftly while also poking fun at itself." Allison Keene, despite her misgivings about the first season's divergence from the original novel, says it grew on her; she approves of the second season's "major shift in tone" and how, in moving away from the books and expanding the world, "it also moves towards excellence." Conversely, Heather Hogan, who "hated" the first season for similar reasons in her review of the first season, and despite loving the now open "gayness" of the second season, nevertheless concludes her review thus: "Anne With an E continues to use characters shoehorned in from 2018 to explain race and gender and sexuality to people on Prince Edward Island in 1908 as a way of explaining those things to people watching television on the internet in 2018. It's clunky and weird and sometimes embarrassing. The dialogue sometimes feels like it was written in an alien language and run through Google Translator. The drama is so overwrought it's ridiculous. The characters remain unrecognizable." 041b061a72