Posted in Literature

An Anne-otation of Interpretations

Where have I even been lately?

That’s always the question after a brief hiatus(if you’re someone who even cares, I mean). Let me see: I started a new job, surprised my friends across the state, and, in general, sorted my life out.

I know. I’m genuinely surprised, as well.

But enough of that. Let’s move on to the matter at hand.

Do you ever forget things about yourself? Things you’ve liked, or done, or experienced?

Because I do. All the time.

For example: I’ve had to shoot a bow and arrow onstage live. I’ve met the governor of Michigan. I was, am, and always will be obsessed with Anne of Green Gables.

Sometimes, my condition goes dormant. After all, the last book was written almost 100 years ago. You’d think there wouldn’t be a lot of material for me to binge myself upon.

And you’d be wrong.

Take, for example, the recent addition of Anne with an E, otherwise known as Anne: The Series, to Netflix. One episode in, and my obsession was reawakened.

This is just the newest in a long string of adaptations, of varying degrees of tradition and contemporary issues. And, no lie: I’ve watched pretty much all of them. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list of top Anne of Green Gables/Prince Edward Island film and video adaptations.

  1. Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea, starring Megan Follows

The classic; the OG adaptation. What’s not to love about this mini-series from the 1980s (apart from the hairstyles, that is?) Megan Follows plays our intrepid heroine, Anne Shirley, from adolescence to adulthood, opposite the heartthrob of a generation, Jonathan Crombie.

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Don’t talk to me about the other movie set during WWI. We’re not going there.

This is the quintessential Anne, as people often remember her. The acting is superb, the writing is solid, and I honestly don’t mind pretending Megan and Jonathan are teenagers for a couple of hours.

2. Road to Avonlea/Emily of New Moon

This one might be cheating(just a little).

There’s no actual Anne in these series, but they belong to the same world, and were produced by the same company that made the Megan Follows’s adaptation.

And I’ve watched every episode, so I feel like I should get some props for that.

In any case, I like to think of Road to Avonlea as a mix between Anne of Green Gables and Full House.

road-to-avonlea-19

Emily of New Moon takes this same magic formula, and adds in a bit of Degrassi drama.

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I mean, it’s still Canadian.

So, if you love dear Anne, but are looking for some new stories in the same setting, you’d might like to give these a try.

3. Anne with an E/Anne: The Series

Now THIS is a controversial opinion!

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A lot of people don’t like this adaptation. Many more are just ambivalent. But I’ll give you three reasons why I, an Anne-obsessed fan, am willing to love it.

First of all, just LOOK AT THIS TITLE SEQUENCE.

Gorgeous. Don’t even get me started.

Secondly, the character work, in my opinion, is phenomenal. Anne finally gets to deal with her abandonment issues. Gilbert is a complete DREAMBOAT. And the drunk scene between Anne and Diana where they start giggling about “bosoms?” Classic.

And finally, even though the plotline of the first season differs quite a few time from the books(housefires, robbers, etc), there’s a lot of details that I’m glad we’re added. Principally, the episode that delves into menstrual cycles is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. And it’s necessary, too: I know that I always wonder how women dealt with those issues no matter what kind of TV show I’m watching(The women on the show The 100, for example, supposedly have a contraceptive implant that obstructs their cycles).

Anyway.

4. Green Gables Fables

Anybody who knows any of my stranger internet habits knows that I absolutely love web series, especially literary ones. This is one of my all-time favorites, complete with an excellent cast, interesting transmedia storyline, and enough modern-day updates to keep this story fresh.

One of the things that sets this series apart, at least in my mind, is how much I really buy in to Anne’s romantic persona. That’s usually the most difficult point of an Anne-adaptation: how to portray a character who is dreamy and daring, naive and knowledgeable. In my opinion, this is the show that takes the cake.

And the banter is tops. Just saying.

5. Project Green Gables

Now, if you’re anything like me, then I know what you’re thinking.

Meredith, this is fine, but it’s all… kinda…white…

I hear you, and I’ve got something else to say.

Enter Project Green Gables, a Finnish web series which recasts the scarlet-haired heroine with a young black girl.

And before you say anything else, let me elaborate on the consequences of such a decision. Yes, Anne Shirley is a character who is deeply entrenched in personal appearance. She’s iconic. To deviate from that mythology is certainly a risky move.

But to their credit, this web series does this well. The cultural implications of being black more than trumps the social anxiety of being a redhead. When Gilbert Blythe tugs at Anne’s braids, his underlying emotion is clearer. When Anne tries to dye/change her hair, it speaks to a culture that glorifies smooth, silky hair over everything else.

Also, this series isn’t finished yet. Season 3 is set to premiere later this month, so if you’re interested, there’s still time to catch up!

Overall, I think this posts demonstrates one of my favorite characteristics of a good story: there’s room for change. Things become remade, over and over, without becoming stale or old. It’s the ultimate form of flattery, and I can’t stop myself from wanting more.

 

 

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