This latest version of Anne of Green Gables (the 1908 novel by Canadian author L.M. Montgomery) sees the plucky ginger orphan Anne once again learning to live with adoptive siblings Marilla and Matthew, spouting a vocabulary too large for her person, and repeatedly whacking her pal Gilbert on the head with her chalkboard, details any fan of the book and subsequent adaptations will recall. It’s the same story set in the same time frame with the same characters, but told with a new flair and a refreshing innocence that revitalizes the classic yarn. Nary a swear word nor an un-socked ankle can be found in all of Avonlen- the lush, green hillside Canadian town where the show takes place.
In the recently released third and final season, we see Anne Shirley graduate from her dinky little school and head off to college, just as Gilbert is realizing that his heart belongs to the redhead. Same old story, but yet, it’s not. Prior to those events, we watched her classic antics as she turned her hair green, made life long friends, learned important life lessons, and tried to learn more about herself. There are occasional changes in the narrative and attempts to be “woke,” but it wisely doesn’t derail much from the original story.
Anne with an E isn’t an epic that grabs attention. There are no dragons, no wizards, no epic battles nor blood. But the acting, setting, and the heart of the show are all first rate. It doesn’t talk down to its viewers because there might be kids watching, either. Rather, it elevates its audience by setting a high standard in entertainment no matter age.
This is good, old fashion television. The kind you would gather around with your clan for family time while you ate Hungry Man dinners as a kid- think Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, etc. Today’s tech-minded youngsters might not dig old fashioned shows like this per se, but this one is done well enough to engage them. It’s the type of television we need right now as families turn binge viewing into all day affairs.