*The following article contains spoilers from Season 1 & 2 of Anne With an E
“I went looking for my dreams outside of myself and discovered, it’s not what the world holds for you, it’s what you bring to it.” -Anne
Anne with an E is a Canadian drama TV-series based on the book written by Lucy Montgomery called Anne of Green Gables. The book was adapted by producer and writer Moira Walley-Beckett for Netflix. It recently got renewed for a third season that all of its fans are excited to see, and it’s very obvious why that is.
This show is set in the early 19th century, in the town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. The story starts when Matthew Cuthbert goes to the train station to pick up an orphan boy to help out on the farm, but instead he finds Anne- a very strange girl who has a flair for talking incessantly. The Cuthberts, Matthew and his sister Marilla were set on sending her back and getting a boy instead but with a few twists and turns, Anne was able to stay in Green Gables after the Cuthberts accepted her as theirs.
Moira Walley-Beckett has given a very interesting edgy turn to the events of the story, which might have been a surprise for those who read the books and expected the series to mirror the plot of the book. However, most fans actually liked this twist in the series as it grounded and gave realism to the story. Anne was more realistic with all the real-life troubles.
Anne from the book was always high-spirited through everything she went through. In the book, Anne seemed to be pretty well adjusted and strong for an unwanted orphan.
But, Anne with an E is depicted as vulnerable. She’s traumatized by her dark abused past but she still manages to make her way into the world. She is a very well written representation of a strong character.
Gwen Inhat of The A.V. Club calls the series “at once darker and sweeter than the original novel”, which is very much true, as the show is not all dark, but is also not entirely sweet- it strikes the perfect balance between the two. The show is still filled with joy and is meaningful. It’s not another tale about the new girl trying to fit in. It is life. I think the reason people are calling it dark because most shows do a very good job at romanticizing the past. People do struggle at all times, the past was not more safe or joyful and people weren’t nice and critics need to grasp that fact. Walley-Beckett has worked very hard to make this series as historically accurate as possible, from the setting to the clothes and mannerisms. Although there was one issue that troubles fans- the lack of diversity.
It has even troubled the writer- she made sure to be very attentive to the book details, only, there was one problem. She noticed it as well as fans: no diversity.
So she went out of her way to give other cultures and colours more rise in the story.
She created a storyline based on the racism that was happening in the 19th century. Canadian actor Dalmar Abuzeid plays Sebastian, a steamship worker that befriends Gilbert Blythe. He is a black character that was added to the series who has helped lead season two into revealing important issues to the viewers.
After heavy researching, the producer discovered The Bog, a neighborhood where the black community has lived at that time. The producer was ecstatic after that discovery as it has enabled the show to explore and create real-life stories about racism, inclusion, and prejudice. The Bog also uncovers other important characters in the story like Sebastian’s love interest. (It was exciting to see a love story form between the two in this season!)
This wonderful series does not sugarcoat life. It gives you all, the sour and sweet.
Most importantly, our beautiful Anne’s personality doesn’t falter from the original. She is very imaginative- living in another world of her creation. She is still fond of using big words. And we still see her hit Gilbert with a slate so don’t worry.
She also doesn’t ever stop talking, but she’s interesting.
“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them- that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” -Anne.
Also, our Anne is a feminist.
In season 2, The show is seen highlighting, and in a beautiful way, themes of self-reliance for women, equality, and queerness. The people of Avonlea have a hard time accepting and embracing change. A big example is a new teacher in Anne’s school. Almost everyone thought her teaching ways were foolish, but they weren’t. They were unconventional but useful. The children were seen learning and enjoying their time in school with her new and improved way of teaching. The new teacher was harshly judged for being different so Anne and her friends made sure a change was made and that people realized that her being different doesn’t cause any harm.
Also, it was moving to see Prissy (Anne’s Classmate) realizing her worth as a woman. She was going to get married and be off to a man who didn’t believe that she should study at all. Her education was unimportant. All she was to the society was a servant and devotee of a man. She was very submissive at first but the reality of what she was to that man suddenly dawned on her at the altar, so she gathered her courage and left her groom for freedom.
As a cherry on the cake, it was great to see the show exploring queerness as it was acknowledged at aunt Josephine’s soiree, who I might as well add, is gay. The gathering was queer-friendly and very beautiful. Anne also befriends Cole, a creative and passionate boy, who appears to be gay as well. He began to accept himself more after being exposed to that wonderful event where he felt he can truly be himself.
“[Love] doesn’t look the same for everyone; it can come in so many forms,” said Anne. “How can there be anything wrong with spending your life with the person you love?”
There is so much potential in this show, and so much to love about it. Anne with an E is a hidden gem on Netflix that deserves a watch.
[Featured Image Via Netflix]