Anne with an E: An Adaptation

For the longest time, I was not a fan of adaptations. I like traditions, classics, things that don’t change. That’s how I felt about books and movies and anything that was “original” for the longest time. Don’t mess with a good thing, don’t fix something if it’s not broke; those were all phrases that I grew up hearing and something that was pressed upon me as a child.

However, in college, I took an adaptation class and that class changed my mind about all of it. We read a lot of originals in that class–Pamela by Samuel Richardson, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and other books that I now cannot recall. We read their adaptations–Shamela as well as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. We read a comic book that was based off of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley’s classic novel. And while I really enjoy classics, I started to see the value of adaptations, even doing some adaptations myself for my final project by writing poems for Marianne’s ‘diary’ about the things she was going through within the adaptation of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.

Adaptation is a way to delve deeper in to a story that you are already in love with, a way to pay homage to an author who you adore, by letting their original work guide and influence your own. Adaptations allow you to go back in to a story in a way that is different yet still comforting. I know that for me, once a story is finished, I feel sad because I won’t get to be among those characters and that setting anymore. By embracing adaptations, I am allowed to revisit those characters and those places that feel like home through the eyes of a new perspective.

That’s how I feel about “Anne with an E”, recently given to the public by Netflix. I love the original Anne of Green Gables story; I didn’t grow up reading the books but I watched the “original” series on DVD many a time and grew fond of Anne and Gilbert Blythe, and Matthew was always a favorite of mine. Something about the characters felt so much more realistic than other characters in different stories, and the romance between the two characters was much more realistic than anything Jane Austen and other writers have produced within their works.

When I heard that Netflix was doing an adaptation of the story, I had mixed feelings. I wanted to see more of the story and characters, but I was afraid that they would make the story cheesy and not do the original justice. I watched the first 10 minutes and stopped the first episode, finding the main character lacking in some way; either it felt like her acting was forced or they were trying too hard with the directing. Either way, I wasn’t impressed at first. But then I picked it back up the next day.

The characters were definitely well thought out and delved in to more. I feel that when you have a television show or a mini series, it allows for more detail than a movie, because the story is stretched out. In “Anne with an E”, the watcher can definitely get to know the characters so much better, and I feel because of this, we grow closer to them. The backstory of Anne and how she became the eccentric person that she is, the reason why she is orphaned, and why she has trouble at the beginning of her stay at Green Gables is developed more fully with the allowance of a television series. And the actor that plays Gilbert Blythe! Whew! Great acting and I love how we see more about his character as well.

All in all I give this show a 4 out of 5. Great job Netflix! Please continue putting out the show so we can grow even more attached to these classic characters!


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