“Anne of Green Gables” was one of the first novels that fostered my love of reading as a kid and Anne Shirley will always be one of my biggest literary role-models. ( I’ve seen the 1985 mini-series film numerous times). So naturally, I was intrigued when I saw “Anne With An E” pop up on Netflix just last week. After finishing the show within a few days, here are my thoughts:
The casting for Anne, Matthew, and Marilla is spot on in terms of appearance. The soundtrack is beautiful and the show is also visually appealing with lots of greenery and breathtaking nature shots. The clothing is accurate for the time period and hair and makeup was tastefully done. No issues there.
This show feels like a completely different story with some parts of the original Anne of Green Gables plot-line thrown in. This is why I watched the first two episodes with confused horror and took time to warm up to all the changes. Also, a few character personalities have been noticeably altered. For example, the new Gilbert Blythe evokes sympathy from the viewers because of the new backstory the show gives him. It adds emotional depth to his character, but it also changes the original Gilbert Blythe we all know and love. Despite this, I actually really liked the actor for the series! His chemistry with Anne (and the rest of the cast) was definitely noticeable. He was different from the smug and teasing Gilbert Blythe from the book, but he was just as charming!
The show has a noticeably darker tone than previous adaptations and it also attempts to elaborate on Anne’s troubled history. After all, the details of the potential abuse Anne went through in her past homes was a topic never explored in the book. So I appreciated the insight that the show gave with Anne’s struggles with being an orphan at the turn of the century.
So the main thing that I really truly disliked about this adaptation was the irritating melodrama that took away from the heart-warming story of Anne of Green Gables. I understand that the show was attempting to interpret Anne of Green Gables through darker adult lenses. But it really could have been accomplished without the clumsy dialogue, the forced acting, and a few of the really unnecessary situations that were tossed in. Basically, “Anne With An E” often lacked subtlety and really seemed like it was trying too hard.
Overall, I have no idea how I would rate this first season. It was a little hard to swallow at times and didn’t quite live up to the eager and uplifting spirit of the original story. But it was creative, risky, and also entertaining at times. I find myself looking forward to season 2.