It’s a feminist re-imagining in Netflix’s latest series.
Last Tuesday, Netflix released the first full-length trailer for their new series, Anne. Working with Canadian network CBC, the eight-episode series is an adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s early 20th century novel Anne of Green Gables. However, don’t expect this to be a word-to-screen adaptation; Anne’s showrunner and writer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) has said in a statement that she “wanted to chart some new territory,” admitting that the series “is not a period piece with a glossy veneer.”
For those unfamiliar with the novel off of which Anne is based, Montgomery’s work begins with the two siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, played R. H. Thomson and Geraldine James in the series, who decide to adopt an orphan boy to help them with their farm, Green Gables, in the fictional town of Avonlea that’s located in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Except, the orphan boy turns out to be a girl, the titular Anne (Amybeth McNulty). The Cuthberts decide to keep her, and what follows is the growth of Anne from a girl to a young woman as we see her learn from her mistakes, have a novel-long rivalry, and make choices that will affect her future.
The trailer doesn’t show Anne’s physical growth (in the novel readers see her from age seven up to sixteen), so it will be interesting to see if they use McNulty’s real age (she’s 14) to their advantage and chart the growth of Anne over the eight episodes. Although, it’s more likely they’ll use its second season – if renewed – to portray Anne’s life. What the trailer does show, however, is that this is a modernised adaptation of Montgomery’s novel with an unapologetic and feminist Anne at its centre. With a focus on greenery and nature that clearly contrast the greyness of the classroom, the stylistic aspect of Anne is updated with both modern visuals and shots (note the classic coming-of-age staring-out-of-a-car-window translated to a horse-drawn vehicle,) yet is still able to convey the rural 20th century authenticity that is the reason why Montgomery’s work is so beloved.
What’s more, with its originality in its portrayal of the story, it’ll be hard to compare it to the much-loved 1985 television film that takes the book’s name. Instead, they can exist together.
Watch the trailer below and see the imaginative world of Anne of Green Gables translated to screen. The series will premiere on May 12. It’s so easy to love Green Gables, isn’t it?