Anne with an E
|Anne with an E|
|Also known as||Anne|
|Created by||Moira Walley-Beckett|
|Based on||Anne of Green Gables|
by Lucy Maud Montgomery
|Screenplay by||Moira Walley-Beckett|
|Opening theme||"Ahead by a Century" by The Tragically Hip|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||17 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||44 minutes|
|Original network||CBC Television|
|Picture format||4K (Ultra HD)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1 with Descriptive Video Service track|
|Original release||March 19, 2017– present|
Anne with an E is a Canadian drama television series based on the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and adapted by Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Moira Walley-Beckett. It airs on CBC Television in Canada, and elsewhere in the world it is available for streaming on Netflix. The first season consists of seven episodes, with Niki Caro directing the 90-minute season premiere. The series premiered on March 19, 2017, on CBC, the first season finale airing on April 30, 2017. The first season was titled simply Anne in Canada, while Netflix used Anne with an E. CBC adopted the Anne with an E name beginning in the second season.
On August 3, 2017, both CBC and Netflix renewed the series for a 10-episode second season, which began production in November 2017. Season 2 premiered on Netflix on July 6, 2018, and on CBC on September 23, 2018.
In August 2018, CBC and Netflix renewed the series for a 10-episode third season to premiere in 2019.
In the late 19th century, brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, both past their prime, decide to take on an orphan boy to help out around their ancestral farm of Green Gables, on the outskirts of the town of Avonlea, on Prince Edward Island. When Matthew goes to pick the child up at the railway station, he finds not a boy, but a high-spirited and talkative girl, Anne Shirley. At first, the Cuthberts are inclined to send her back, particularly after Marilla's brooch goes missing, and Anne, in despair, runs away. The family reconciles and Anne settles in her new home. Upon starting school, Anne once again displays boundless enthusiasm which is nevertheless easily turned into despair when things go wrong, which they often do. Slowly, her ebullient nature wins over those around her.
- Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley
- Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert
- R. H. Thomson as Matthew Cuthbert
- Dalila Bela as Diana Barry
- Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe
- Aymeric Jett Montaz as Jerry Baynard
- Corrine Koslo as Rachel Lynde
- Dalmar Abuzeid as Sebastian "Bash" Lacroix (season 2)
- Cory Grüter-Andrew as Cole Mackenzie (season 2)
- Jonathan Holmes as Mr. William Barry
- Helen Johns as Mrs. Eliza Barry
- Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Minnie May Barry
- Deborah Grover as Josephine Barry
- Wayne Best as John Blythe
- Phillip Williams as Thomas Lynde
- David Ingram as Mr. Harmon Andrews
- Janet Porter as Mrs. Andrews
- Christian Martyn as Billy Andrews
- Lia Pappas-Kemps as Jane Andrews
- Ella Jonas Farlinger as Prissy Andrews
- Jim Annan as Mr. Gillis
- Fiona Byrne as Mrs. Gillis
- Kyla Matthews as Ruby Gillis
- Jacob Ursomarzo as Moody Spurgeon
- Stephen Tracey as Mr. Phillips
- Miranda McKeon as Josie Pye
- Glenna Walters as Tillie Boulter
- Katelyn Wells as Mary Joe
- Jacob Horsley as Charlie Sloane
- Joanna Douglas as Miss Muriel Stacy
- Trenna Keating as Mrs. Pye
The production companies are listed as Northwood Anne, Northwood Entertainment and Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; Netflix is only the distributor. The executive producers are Miranda de Pencier and series creator Moira Walley-Beckett.
According to de Pencier, the adaptation of the novel for this television series was intended to provide a different look and feel compared to past productions; they were aiming for a "documentary level of realism", as reflected in the extraordinary detail which has gone into the design of sets and costumes.
Production on Season 3 was planned to start in late 2018
Besides the show itself having a larger number of female characters than male, women serving as executive producer and showrunner, the series has several female directors. For the second season, showrunner and scriptwriter Moira Walley-Beckett was joined by a team of women writers. Season 3 will also feature a team of women writers.
Approximately 1800 girls on three continents auditioned for the role of Anne Shirley. 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."
The series has occasionally filmed on Prince Edward Island but, for budgetary reasons, it has primarily been filmed in Southern Ontario, at a Toronto studio, at outdoor locations in or near Toronto including Black Creek Pioneer Village, in Waterloo Region at locations including Doon Pioneer Village, and in communities such as Millbrook, Pickering, Hamilton, and Caledon.
Moira Walley-Beckett had this to say about her treatment, which is darker than the previous productions: "In this day and age, themes of identity, prejudice, bullying, being an outsider, searching for a way to be accepted and how to belong are entirely topical and super relevant, and those are themes that are built into the story of 'Anne.'" She went on to call Anne Shirley an "accidental feminist", and how she "really wanted to tell this story now". 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 plan for Season 3 is to cover topics such as identity, feminism, bullying and gender parity. Walley-Beckett added: "Our beloved Anne will be 16 years old when we return to this season full of romantic complications, bold adventures and dramatic discoveries. I will explore important, contemporary themes that I hope will continue to resonate with, and inspire and uplift, our audience."
Broadcast and release
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. The second and later seasons were retitled to match Netflix's title by the CBC which had initially used the title Anne. The CBC premier for Season 2 was in late September, after it had been streaming on Netflix for some time.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||7||March 19, 2017||April 30, 2017|
|2||10||July 6, 2018||July 6, 2018|
Season 1 (2017)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Can. viewers|
|1||1||"Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny"||Niki Caro||Moira Walley-Beckett||March 19, 2017||0.999|
|When a miscommunication brings a girl, Anne Shirley, to Green Gables instead of a boy, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are faced with a life-changing decision.|
|2||2||"I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me"||Helen Shaver||Moira Walley-Beckett||March 26, 2017||0.780|
|Hoping all is not lost, Matthew races to catch up with Anne while Marilla anxiously hopes and waits for their return to Green Gables.|
|3||3||"But What Is So Headstrong as Youth?"||Sandra Goldbacher||Moira Walley-Beckett||April 2, 2017||0.994|
|Anne is excited to begin school and make friends, but is unprepared for the bullying that occurs when she doesn't fit in. Marilla too, is testing new waters as she accepts an invitation to join a "Progressive Mothers" group.|
|4||4||"An Inward Treasure is Born"||David Evans||Moira Walley-Beckett||April 9, 2017||0.654|
|Anne is faced with the decision of whether or not to return to school. But a fire at the Gillis house and Anne's generous actions help her in her choice.|
|5||5||"Tightly Knotted to a Similar String"||Patricia Rozema||Moira Walley-Beckett||April 16, 2017||N/A|
|Anne must deal with the inevitability of womanhood when she gets her first period. At the same time, Marilla and Matthew acclimatize to parenthood and revisit moments of their youth through Anne.|
|6||6||"Remorse Is the Poison of Life"||Paul Fox||Moira Walley-Beckett||April 23, 2017||0.656|
|When her little sister Minnie May becomes ill, Diana runs to Anne for help. Meanwhile, the Blythe farm sees change, as Marilla is reminded of what she gave up and Matthew receives some unsettling news.|
|7||7||"Wherever You Are Is My Home"||Amanda Tapping||Moira Walley-Beckett||April 30, 2017||N/A|
|The Cuthberts vow to do whatever it takes to save the farm which reminds Anne of the strength of friendship and love.|
Season 2 (2018)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date ||Can. viewers|
|8||1||"Youth is the Season of Hope"||Helen Shaver||Moira Walley-Beckett||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|The Cuthberts' boarders stir excitement with a question: Could there be gold in Avonlea? Elsewhere, Gilbert makes a new friend at sea.|
|9||2||"Signs are Small Measurable Things, but Interpretations are Illimitable"||Paul Fox||Shernold Edwards||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|The steamer lands in Trinidad, bringing Bash face to face with his past. The Barrys get behind the gold rush, but Matthew and Marilla aren't so sure.|
|10||3||"The True Seeing is Within"||Ken Girotti||Kathryn Borel, Jr.||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|An adventure away with the Barrys teaches Anne to trust her instincts. Marilla begins to suspect that her boarders aren't as innocent as they seem.|
|11||4||"The Painful Eagerness of Unfed Hope"||Anne Wheeler||Jane Maggs||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|Anne writes letters as an "agent of romance" while Diana trains at home to be a lady. A life-changing encounter steers Gilbert toward his destiny.|
|12||5||"The Determining Acts of Her Life"||Norma Bailey||Amanda Fahey||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|A game of spin the bottle prompts burning questions about love and beauty. Anne and Cole bond over their differences as Gilbert makes his way home.|
|13||6||"I Protest Against Any Absolute Conclusion"||Ken Girotti||Naledi Jackson||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|Anne faces the world with a shocking new look while the town preps for its annual Christmas pantomime. Gilbert and Bash join the Cuthberts for dinner.|
|14||7||"Memory Has as Many Moods as The Temper"||Anne Wheeler||Jane Maggs||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|Cole accompanies the girls to Aunt Josephine's for a lavish party filled with surprises. Back at home, Marilla's health takes a worrisome turn.|
|15||8||"Struggling Against the Perception of Facts"||Amanda Tapping||Shernold Edwards||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|With a wedding on the horizon, Anne wonders what kind of bride she'd like to be. Marilla sees an oculist, and Bash meets a friendly face in "The Bog."|
|16||9||"What We Have Been Makes Us What We Are"||Paul Fox||Moira Walley-Beckett||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|A brand-new teacher brings unconventional methods -- and a motorbike -- to Avonlea. Gilbert's plan to speed up his studies leaves Bash feeling lost.|
|17||10||"The Growing Good of the World"||Paul Fox||Moira Walley-Beckett||July 6, 2018||N/A|
|Anne rallies her friends to save Miss Stacy in the wake of a disastrous incident. Bash gets an unexpected gift, and Cole makes a surprising choice.|
The first season has achieved a rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews for an average rating of 7.78/10 the site's critical consensus stating: "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".
Emily Ashby, writing for Common Sense Media, calls the series an "exceptional" and "spectacular" interpretation, giving it four out of five stars. Tasha Cerny, contributor for the Tracking Board, praises the cinematography as lush and colourful, the characters vibrant, and the plot "surprisingly thrilling for a story about a young girl living in a small secluded community in the late nineteenth century. I laughed, I cried, and I didn't expect either from a show about a little girl." Gwen Inhat of The A.V. Club calls the series "at once darker and sweeter than the original" novel, praising the core cast, reserving the highest for the series lead: "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, concurs 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." Jen Chaney, writing for Vulture.com, agrees, saying: "What distinguishes it from other previous Anne iterations is its willingness to harden some of the story's softness, just enough, to create an element of realism that period pieces, Gables-related or not, can be inclined to avoid." Neil Genzlinger writing for The New York Times, commenting on reports of darkness and grittiness, goes so far as to call the adaptation "richer" than the source material: "Ms. McNulty's Anne is still wonderfully ebullient and eminently likable; she's just not the one-dimensional figure of other adaptations". Annie Hirschlag, writing for Mic, suggests that a genuinely contemporary Anne is bound to reflect the current television landscape and wider culture of its times (the 2010s): "Since today's entertainment is peppered with antiheroes — characters who are far from perfect, even occasionally villainous — it makes sense that Anne's familiar idealism is fringed with darkness and agony."
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. 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."
Reviews for the second season have been mixed. On Rotten Tomatoes, it currently sits at 43% with an average rating of 8/10, based on seven reviews. 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 Season 1, 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." Meghan O'Keefe, who was "charmed" by Season 1, is "baffled" by Season 2's choices of new storylines: "I'm not such a purist that I need TV adaptations to hit every beat of a novel, but I do think that television made for families should understand what their own core philosophy is. While Walley-Beckett's instincts are good, I think this show is too enamored with its trappings of darkness to realize that Anne of Green Gables has endured this long because people love the small specificity of the characters' lives. Warping these details for showier TV kind of dilutes the story." Author Amy Glynn says while the actors give "solid gold performances" the script itself is "adulterated"; it "tramples the source material in a way that dilutes and arguably betrays the protagonist. What's the power in Anne's legendarily overwrought imagination once the world around her is darker than anything she could ever come up with? What's the point of scenic and linguistic fidelity to the time and place once you've powder-coated it with an incredibly unsubtle overlay of 2018 sensibilities? It's not postmodern, it's not sardonic, it's not playful, it's not transgressive. It's a ham-handed dissertation on "feminism" and "diversity" and how only the terribly, terribly outcast can ever understand when something is a good idea and it's sanctimonious twaddle that would have made the book's author break out in hives. And it's agonizing because it is visually lovely and incredibly well-acted sanctimonious twaddle."
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