WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A plucky orphan whose passions run deep finds an unlikely home with a spinster and her soft-spoken bachelor brother. Based on Anne of Green Gables.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Anne with an E certainly takes some liberties with Anne Shirley's life. Book Anne can only wish her life was as exciting as this TV series. There are so many stories that don't happen in the books but after finishing this season, I can't say that I'm mad about it.
Once, I stopped comparing it to the books and just watched it as a series it was quite good.
A lot of the times, book to screen adaptations don’t go well and while I do have some issues with this show, for the most part I enjoyed it.
For one thing, they’ve made Anne more dramatic than she needs to be and she can be quite annoying. But I do love how much the relationship between Anne and Marilla has grown. Anne bonded immediately with Matthew in season one but with Marilla it still felt like she was a visitor at Green Gables. But in season two, there is much more of a family vibe amongst them all. Even the French boy, Jerry is a big part of their family with Anne teaching him to read.
I must admit, the social dynamics in Anne with an E, prompted me to look up the history of 1890s Canada. And something that this series does address that author Lucy Maude Montgomery could not conceive to include in her writing was that racial and LGBTQ prejudices of the time.
Season 2 introduces us to a few new faces to both series viewers and book readers. First up there's a new addition to the school with Cole.
Cole is gay and while it's completely obvious to the viewer, it's not so much to the residents of Avonlea. And the first time it's voiced is when Cole, Anne and Diana attend a party thrown by Aunt Josephine. In the books, Aunt Josephine is much beloved to Anne and in this series she; her character and personality is explored a bit more. In season one it was implied that Aunt Josephine was lesbian and this is what gives Cole the courage to come out but also to leave prejudiced Avonlea.
Cole is a lovely character, he’s a kindred spirit to Anne and through Cole’s story, the series also tackles the issue of bullying. Because as you can imagine, Billy Andrews is still the worst and has now moved on from bullying Anne to Cole. And when Billy and his goons destroy their little oasis in the woods it’s so heart-breaking.
Then there’s Sebastian or Bash as we get to know him as. You see, Gilbert Blythe has gone off on a boat and is travelling the world. He ends up in Trinidad and helps a prostitute, who was thrown out of a brothel, gives birth practically on the street. This lights the fire in him to be a doctor. Long story short, Bash ends up going back to Avonlea with Gilbert to run the farm. But Avonlea has never had a black resident before and as you can imagine they are shook. Some more than others, so much so that Bash ends up in the “The Bog”, a low-income and predominantly black neighbourhood.
And while Anne with an E introduces a host of new stories and plotlines, it does weave some of the classic Anne Shirley shenanigans into the series, like Anne’s misadventures with the hair dye, Marilla’s eye problems and the new school teacher, Miss Stacey.
Miss Stacey is probably my favourite part of the season. My word, if you thought Avonlea was shook by Bash, the conniption they have with tinkering, motorcycle-riding, pants-wearing, hands on teaching Miss Stacey is astounding. Change is not something the residents of Avonlea handle well but Anne and the rest of the children pull off a magnificent stunt to keep her on as the school teacher.
Anne with an E is so well done, the locations and sets are beautiful and the costumes are exquisite. And if you can choose to ignore Anne’s somewhat annoying outbursts of dramatics, it’s an enjoyable and definitely a binge watchable show.