This version, on the evidence of Sunday’s two-hour opener, is not reverential, nor is it overcontemporized, but it affords Anne Shirley an agency that is formidable. . . . It imagines rather than remembers or reveres previous versions, no matter how beloved they were. This Anne should be approached and appreciated in the same spirit – it’s a sublimely reinvigorated Anne of Green Gables.
Anne with an E
My PVR machine has revealed the titles of the first two episodes of Anne with an “E”: “Your Will Shall Decide Your Destiny” and “I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me.” Both are allusions to Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, which had a profound influence on L.M. Montgomery’s writing.
This highly anticipated series premieres on CBC Television next Sunday, March 19, and on Netflix on Friday, May 12. Several clips have been posted to the Anne web page at CBC.ca, including a scene, released last week on International Women’s Day, depicting the women of the Avonlea sewing circle discussing the term “feminism.”
Yesterday after work I came across two ads for the upcoming CBC/Netflix television series Anne with an “E”—the first in Dundas Square and the second at a bus stop in Parkdale.
Anne will premiere in March on CBC in Canada and in May on Netflix internationally.
Earlier today, the CBC website released an official trailer for Anne with an “E”, the upcoming series that will premiere in Canada on Sunday, March 19. It has also released a two-minute clip from the first episode. Check it out, along with information about cast and crew, on the Anne web page at CBC.ca!
The premiere dates for CBC/Netflix’s upcoming series Anne with an “E” were announced today on the website The Televixen: the first episode will air Sunday, March 19 on CBC Television and on Friday, May 12 on Netflix! The series, written and created by Moira Walley-Beckett, will consist of a first season of seven episodes.
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.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced yesterday that it had greenlit a new, eight-episode television series based on Anne of Green Gables. Entitled Anne, the project is expected to go into production this spring for release sometime in 2017. The project will be created and written by Moira Walley-Beckett, who received an Emmy Award for her work as a writer on the television series Breaking Bad and who will serve as executive producer alongside Miranda de Pencier, Alison Owen, and Debra Hayward.
At its heart, ANNE is a coming-of-age story about an outsider who, against all odds and numerous challenges, fights for acceptance, for her place in the world and for love. The drama series centres on a young orphaned girl who, after an abusive childhood spent in orphanages and the homes of strangers, is mistakenly sent to live with an elderly spinster and her aging brother. Over time, 13-year-old Anne will transform their lives and eventually the small town in which they live, with her unique spirit, fierce intellect and brilliant imagination. While the new series will follow a similar storyline to the book that millions of readers around the world know and love, it will also chart new territory. Anne and the rest of the characters in and around Green Gables will experience new adventures reflecting timeless issues, including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.
This story has been reported widely, in venues including The Hollywood Reporter, The Toronto Star, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight Canada, The Guardian, the National Post, Quill and Quire, and Jezebel. The satiric website The Beaverton has also commented on this development, in a news story entitled “CBC Courts Younger Viewers with Another Reboot of 100 Year Old Novel”:
“Kids these days are done with stories where things happen,” said CBC consultant and world’s oldest child psychologist Obadiah Sugarman. “We’ll finally be giving them the stiff Victorian morality that I assume is in vogue. Not to mention, doing a period piece is a great way to make sure white people are adequately represented on television.”
“I can’t wait for yet more Anne,” enthused 22 year-old Alexandra Lewis, who has only been alive for 7 of Anne’s over two dozen adaptations. “Honestly there’s no better use of public funds than promoting the work of a long-dead, already immensely popular author.”
Jokes aside, what few if any of these reports has mentioned is that a new telefilm version of Anne of Green Gables by Toronto company Breakthrough Productions is already in post-production and is expected to air on YTV in the months to come, or that a film version of Anne of Green Gables: The Musical was announced as in development in September 2013. And what none of the sites reporting on this story has noted, as far as I know, is that producer Miranda de Pencier portrayed Josie Pye in three Anne of Green Gables miniseries by Sullivan Entertainment.