You haven’t heard of Anne With An E? Are you not on Twitter?
Anne With an E, the drama television series happens to be a reimagination of the classic novel Anne of Green Gables (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The show airs on CBC Television in Canada and for rest of the world it is available on Netflix. The story is set in 19th century Canada and is one of a kind.
The story revolves around a red-headed, orphan teenage girl named Anne Shirley Cuthbert who is later adopted by this brother sister duo- Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, all by chance. Anne finds everything around her aesthetically pleasing, in fact its her imagination that kept her going even when the circumstances were rough and unbearable. She looks at the world in a very different manner compared to other people. She talks to flowers and trees and animals and literally everything and everyone. After living a significant number of years of her life in denial, Anne’s learnt what it feels like to be unwanted and unwelcome so she loves and welcomes everyone with open arms and she has stories for everyone. So, Anne Shirley Cuthbert or Princess Cordelia, call her whatever you like but you can’t simply deny the fact that she’s a kindred spirit.
Though based in 19th century, Anne With an E and its story stand very very relevant in today’s context as well. It talks of all the issues that teenagers face today, from their academic lives to romantic lives, this show has got it all and the best part is that it doesn’t dehumanise it’s characters, they’re as simple as us and they’re allowed to make mistakes. It also takes up issues like homophobia, bullying, human rights, sexual harassment, censorship, representation, class and racism which stand relevant today and need to be spoken about. The show shares with us the lives of the closeted lovers in the then society and the struggles faced by them and the fact that they aren’t very different from the today’s world is mind boggling. The idea of “LOVE IS LOVE” shared via the character of Aunt Josephine makes her a lot of people’s favourite. The protagonist Anne also questions the idea of being an “ideal wife” and she pridefully declines the idea of her not being whole without a man and chooses to be the “Bride of Adventure” and better decide for herself instead of giving someone else the authority to do same, she also tries to normalise menstruation and break taboos around the same. Anne Shirley Cuthbert is truly what Moira Walley-Beckett calls her “accidental feminist”. Along with that the show makes the viewers familiar with the problems of slavery, struggles of American Indians, and the religious persecution of Jews in Germany through minor but impactful characters.
The show puts forward all the events from Anne’s disturbing and abusive childhood to her interesting and adventurous teenage years in Avonlea in a very creative and impactful manner and is very close to many of the literature lovers’ heart as it provides so much scope for imagination.
But, the show has been ended almost forcefully after three seasons and there’s no fourth season or finale movie coming out and this has left the fans heartbroken. Fans and viewers of the show started a campaign on Twitter to get Netflix to continue the show using the hashtag ‘#RenewAnnewithanE” over a million times. No official reason for the cancellation of the show was stated but some guess that this is something about the disintegration of the partnership between the Canadian Broadcasting Company and Netflix.
The producer Moira Walley-Beckett posted on her instagram "Please know that we fought, too. We tried to change their minds. We tried to find a new home. We tried for a finale movie ... We tried our best. Art and Commerce is never an easy marriage..But it's impossible to argue with words like Economics, Algorithms, Demographics ... But those words and others like them are the reason why the Networks don’t want to continue and we didn't find a taker anywhere else.”
Fans still continue to fight for the renewal of the show and we don’t know where all of this is going to go but not to waste for certain because Anne With an E will surely be remembered for this.
Even if the show doesn’t continue, we’d love Green Gables forever and a day. Also, we solemnly swear to love and accept people as who they are and fight for a positive change like Anne of Green Gables.
(Tamanna Malik is a first year literature student at Gargi College, Delhi University)