Why “Anne with an E” is one of the best TV series and why everyone should watch it
It’s been years since I finished this series, but I think it’s time to talk about it. So for the “reviews” column, today I will introduce you to the Netflix adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Montgomery (in Italy known as “Anne with red hair”), that is Anne with an E (Chiamatemi Anna in Italian).
Anne with an E, a Netflix Original, premiered in 2017 and was canceled two years later. This unfair cancellation has outraged and continues to outrage millions of fans (myself included), simply because of how well Anne with an E does to the world.
This fascinating show is nothing short of an underrated gem; not many are aware of this adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. So I hope this short list of reasons why this show is great will make you want to watch it.
The characters are adorable
The series, like LM Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables novels, takes place in Prince Edward Island, Canada. When Anne-Shirley Cuthbert, the protagonist, finds herself in Avonlea, she is a breath of fresh air for her closed-minded community of hers.
She is courageous and forward-thinking, something the people of Avonlea are not used to. She’s also wildly romantic and imaginative, which makes following her story all the more enjoyable. Despite her positive qualities, Anne is also quick-tempered, impulsive and somewhat dramatic, but the three-dimensional aspects of her make her a very relatable and realistic character.
While I said the Avonlea community is a bit narrow-minded, some of them eventually learn to open up to things like giving women the right to have a voice and become fairly progressive thinkers.
Triumph over trauma
Anne has gone through unspeakable trauma in her life. She lived in an orphanage for most of her childhood, where she was bullied and mocked for her imagination of her. The show offers numerous flashbacks of Anne’s time at the orphanage, showing us snippets of the terror she went through.
It gets us to know Anne better, but also shows how strong she is; like her, despite everything she’s survived, she remains true to herself and embraces her passions. It is inspiring to see how Anne has taken her past hardships and molded them into courage and compassion.
Tackle issues of sexuality, sexism, racism and bullying
One of the things Anne with an E is best known for is her impersonation.
In addition to witnessing the past horrors of Anne’s bullying, we meet Cole Mackenzie in Season 2. He is bullied and ridiculed not only by some of the other kids in his class, but also by his own teacher, Mr. Phillips. Cole eventually drops out of school due to the constant bullying he receives for displaying “feminine” qualities, which were considered taboo for the time (the late 1890s). However, Anne and Diana, as well as their other friends, support Cole no matter what and have his back. Cole also meets his charming Aunt Josephine, who takes him under her wing and teaches him to embrace her sexuality.
Also in Season 2, we are introduced to Sebastian “Bash” Lacroix and Mary. Both are black people living in a time when anyone who was black was considered unworthy and undeserving of love and respect. Bash, who hails from Trinidad, is often mistaken for a slave and therefore struggles to fit into a place like Avonlea.
However, Gilbert Blythe, who considers him his brother, welcomes him and introduces him to all the wonderful people and places Avonlea has to offer. Bash meets Mary in The Bog (a place where black people are marginalized and form their own community), whom he eventually marries and starts a family with. Despite their hardships, Bash and Mary receive endless love and support from the people of Avonlea,
Also, although the theme of feminism is strong throughout the series, it becomes one of the central themes of the third season, where the storyline delves into topics such as sexual abuse and women standing up for themselves. In the late 1890s, women who spoke their truth and had a voice simply could not exist; it was unheard of. So when Anne publishes an article in their local paper where she expresses radical but beautiful thoughts like “women matter on their own, not in relation to a man“, is seen as problematic. Anne, along with Mrs Stacy are both inspiring as they never shut up and encourage everyone to break free from the bigotry of society.
It will make you think… a lot
While the series focuses on big topics, those aren’t the only times it makes you feel something. Anne with an E is not a show that just makes you feel sadness and anger. It’s a lighthearted show at its core. It makes you feel love and gratitude; it makes you feel light and courageous; makes you feel everything. Even the sweetest of moments will draw tears to your eyes, simply because of the immense love and power that the show displays. It’s one of the things he does best.
I’m not kidding when I say that one of the things that once made me emotional while looking at Anne with an E is her photograph. It is dripping with beauty.
The children are actually played by child actors
I know this is a very small reason, but considering how many TV shows and movies these days cast people over the age of 30 to play teenagers, the fact that the cast is actually teenagers is important. It’s so rare and I found it such a refreshing detail. It has a pleasant and realistic tone and thanks to the skill of these actors, it certainly adds a feeling factor as well.
It has a wonderful, large community
The Anne with a E fandom goes by the name of “Kindred Spirits“, and that’s how Anne refers to her and Diana’s friendship. Even calling it a “fandom” seems wrong to me because it’s really more of a family. It’s a great community of like-minded people who share their love of creativity and imagination. There are artists and writers, all supportive and loving and thoughtful and devoted.
And when I say dedicated, I mean it dedicated. Since Anne with an E was cancelled, fans have been marketing their show using posters and started petitions to renew the show for a fourth season. One petition in particular has reached over 1.6 million signatures and continues to grow.
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