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Thoughts on the New Anne of Green Gables Adaptation

17 May

The article below pretty much describes my impression of the new Anne tv series. I was impressed with the scenery and houses and costumes, and Marilla and Matthew were as I imagined them. However, I remember the book as quirky and hilarious, not dark and dismal. I tried to be open-minded, but urgh.

We live in dark, dystopic times, and so much of literature, film, and television nowadays reflects that. Dystopia is extremely popular, as is the darker sides of the supernatural. So are dark adaptations, such as Emerald City (based on Oz). But taking something as charming, delightful, and whimsical–and a children’s book, at that–and turning it into such a dark story, even giving Anne Shirley PTSD, strikes me as practically sacrilegious.

This tv series took situations that in the book were humorous and transformed them into the most melodramatic potential extreme. For instance, when Marilla can’t find her heirloom brooch, she threatens to send Anne back to the orphanage…and actually sends her off before she finds the brooch. When she does find the brooch, Anne is already on her way to the orphanage, and Matthew goes on a frantic search for Anne, who can’t bear returning to the orphanage and runs away. It takes days for Matthew to find her.

In reaction to this disappointing remake, I just started reading Anne of Green Gables (though I read it many times decade ago), and it’s as humorous and quirky as I remember.
L. M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon is darker than Anne, but it’s not a gothic nightmare, either.

The new adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables” falls prey to the war on whimsy, the tired modern tactic of reworking the classics in order to make them “realistic.”