As I reported yesterday, news broke this week that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation had ordered an eight-episode limited series based on L.M. Montgomery’s novel Anne of Green Gables from producer Moira Walley-Beckett, whose past writing credits include the television series Breaking Bad. The news received rather mixed comments, judging by the comments left on various news sites and even on the Facebook page for L.M. Montgomery Online: for some commentators, Sullivan Entertainment’s 1985 miniseries is of such high quality that any attempt to remake it is pointless (for several fans, no one but Megan Follows can ever play Anne), whereas others voiced concern about the decision to hire Walley-Beckett to helm the project, given not only her past writing credits but also the statement that the series would “chart new territory” by depicting “new adventures reflecting timeless issues, including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”
In the midst of this mixed reaction, several additional articles were released in the last few days, emphasizing why a new take on L.M. Montgomery’s 108-year-old novel is not only understandable but absolutely necessary:
- Nora Caplan-Bricker’s “Why Anne of Green Gables Is a Patron Saint of Female Outsiders,” on Slate;
- Jocelyn Rish’s “Who Should Star in the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Remake?”on MTV;
- Lorilee Cracker’s “7 Reasons Why This Anne of Green Gables Superfan Welcomes the New Miniseries,” on her blog Peace, Love, & Raspberry Cordial;
- Sarah Seltzer’s “What Do Nancy Drew and ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Have to Offer the Age of Peak TV?” on Flavorwire;
- Heather Dockray’s “What ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Could Look Like with a ‘Breaking Bad’ Writer,” on Mashable
As for me, I’m thrilled that a talented writer/producer wants to interpret Montgomery’s best-known novel and ever-appealing protagonist for the twenty-first century, just as I am always fascinated by adaptations of Anne of Green Gables and its sequels for stage and screen, from a 1934 Hollywood “talkie” and Kevin Sullivan’s work to the recent hit play Anne and Gilbert and Breakthrough Entertainment’s upcoming telefilm. Given how meaningful the character Anne Shirley is to so many readers worldwide, surely there is room for a new take on this ever-popular character.