I am sorry to have to interrupt my scheduled Red Maple post from my three-part Forest Of Reading Series, but this post that I am putting up today contains time-sensitive content.
Recently, I have discovered that one of my favourite shows, Anne With An E, was cancelled. The show, which features Amybeth McNulty, Lucas Jade Zumann, Geraldine James and R.H Thomson, was loosely based on the book series Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, is a coming-of-age story about an orphan named Anne who is sent to Prince Edward Island to live with an elderly brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. She soon comes to love them, and she brings a spark of joy into their lives.
This is a very interesting book series, with lots of fun, misadventure, and early-1900s charm. And although many books have terrible book-to-movie adaptations, I am happy to say that the first two Meagan Follows Anne of Green Gables movies were pretty faithful to the original stories. Well, with the exception of the third one, The Continuing Story. What it looks like happened with that one is that the producers used a bit too much creative license, created a story that wasn’t in any book, and messed with the pre-set timelines, leading it to be a flop.
But Anne With An E was also made using a lot of creative license, and hardly used any of the original plots. Yet it’s become widely successful and popular. Why? For me, I enjoy watching the show because of Anne’s character. This Anne speaks about the trauma she endured in the orphanage before she came to Green Gables, and always stands by her morals. She won’t leave anyone behind, and fights for what is right. She makes mistakes, but learns from them. Not that she wasn’t like that in the books, but this new Anne seems almost more realistic.
Another key factor is that MATTHEW DOESN’T DIE. Sorry for spoiling the first book, but his death was one of the saddest I’ve ever read, and I always wondered what would have happened if he had lived. This way, I don’t have to wonder anymore, because he’s still alive in the show! Although he is a quieter character, you know that something is important to him when he speaks about it. He’s also great at comforting Anne, whether she’s had an argument with Marilla, or made fun of at school.
But I think the main reason this show is successful is because of the diverse issues it tackles. Some of the storylines throughout the show involve racism, sexism, bullying, sexual assault, residential schools, and suicide. While this all sounds a bit dismal, I can honestly say that I’ve learned more about these issues from Anne With An E than from any other show, or at school even. For example, I’ve learned a lot about residential schools and the mistreatment of Indigenous people in class, but those were just facts and statistics. Watching the show, it seems more real, because I can actually see what the characters are going through. It visually shows how wrong the entire thing was, instead of me having to imagine it by reading from a textbook.
I also love how even though the show is set in the early 1900s, Anne’s character recognizes when something is wrong or unfair, and acts on it. When her friend was sexually assaulted, Anne questioned why her friend was getting blamed when she was the victim, and wrote a powerful piece in the school newspaper about it. When Anne became friends with Ka’kwet, a Mi’kmaq girl, she didn’t care what the other town residents thought or said about her. And when Ka’kwet was forcefully taken to residential school, Anne didn’t hesitate to try and help her.
And it’s not just Anne who’s a strong character. The female empowerment in this show is incredible! Diana took a stand against her parents and sat the Queens University entrance exams, against their wishes. Prissy Andrews left Mr. Phillips at the altar, and asked her parents for her dowry. Diana’s Aunt Josephine revealed that she was lesbian. The list goes on! Of course, the male characters are pretty powerful themselves. And when both groups work together, some pretty incredible things can happen.
Hence why I was devastated when CBC and Netflix canceled the show after only three seasons. Yes, I understand that it’s “the end of the red Green Gables road”, and that “it was agreed that season three would be the final season”, but that’s just meaningless talk. There’s no other show out there that inspired me to let my voice be heard, and discussed relevant issues like Anne With An E. Although the finale did wrap up a bunch of storylines, I still really want to see how the others unfold.
If you haven’t watched this show yet, please do. I highly, highly recommend it. Even if you haven’t read the books, you’ll still understand what’s going on in the show. And if you love it as much as I do, show your support by using the hashtags #SaveAnneWithAnE and #RenewAnneWithAnE. You can also sign petitions, like: https://www.change.org/p/awae-fans-renew-anne-with-an-e-for-season-4 , or even spread the word so that more people watch it and get the viewership levels up. If enough people do this, there’s a chance that we could get another season. But I think that a feature film would be the more likely outcome in this case, if Netflix can be made to see reason. Besides, I want to see more of Anne and Gilbert’s relationship. They finally admitted their feelings for each other, and kissed. Three times!