Tag Archives: Anne

Enjoying a raspberry cordial with Anne

First, a couple of facts about me before my preview of CBC’s second episode of Anne. I’m a 46-year-old man who has never read the Anne of Green Gables books or watched the 1985 miniseries starring Megan Follows. Some may say it’s a disadvantage not to have absorbed the novels or landmark TV project, but I think it’s a good thing. It means I go into Anne without any preconceived notions or automatic comparison to the source material or beloved 80s project. I like good TV, and Anne is very, very good.

From the opening scene in last week’s debut where Matthew thundered towards the train station to grab Anne before she left town to that same shot bookending those initial 44 minutes, I was in thrall not only by the cast, scenery and cinematography but the writing too. So far Moira Walley-Beckett has stayed true to L.M. Montgomery’s tale (the die-hard fan in my house tells me so) while adding a decidedly dark edge when Anne is recalling her time with the Hammonds.

So, what does Episode 2, “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me,” written by Walley-Beckett and directed by Helen Shaver hold? Here’s what CBC’s episode synopsis reveals:

Hoping all is not lost; Matthew races to catch up with Anne while Marilla anxiously hopes and waits for their return to Green Gables.
And here’s what I can tell you after watching a screener.

Oh, those credits
I’ll never get enough of hearing “Ahead by a Century” as Anne‘s opening credits, nor the amazing, twisting, tree animation.

A Workin’ Moms star is workin’ it
Keep an eye out for Workin’ Moms actor—and recent You’ve Been Hooked interviewee—Alden Adair, who plays a small, but pivotal, role in Sunday’s opening minutes. That scene adds a gritty realism to Anne; not everyone is a nice person and wants the best for children. Other notable Canadian faces include Daniel Kash and Rob Ramsay in supporting roles.

Marilla’s crisis of confidence
From what I understand, Colleen Dewhurst was one heck of a Marilla Cuthbert. I have to say Geraldine James is simply fantastic in this iteration. She’s crusty and cross on the outside, but a total softie inside. She clearly sees some of her younger self in Anne … and is feeling awful for accusing the girl of stealing the broach and not believing Anne when she denied doing it. Marilla wants so badly to do something to right her wrong, but must leave Matthew to find Anne and wait at Green Gables, hoping for good news.

The little things mean a lot
I’m not talking about characters or performances in this case, but the minute details in sets and props that bring Anne’s world to visual life. Dirt caked under fingernails describes hardscrabble lives where hard work is important, sunlight blazing through a cherry blossom denotes hope and a bustling, loud, crowded Charlottetown dock is a sharp contrast to the quiet sanctuary that is Green Gables. Also, kudos to Amin Bhatia and Ari Posner (most recently of X
Company
) for their stellar music.

Anne airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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CBC scheduling alert: Anne and Canada: The Story of Us changes

From a media release:

The following changes have been made to CBC’s schedule. ANNE (1×120, 6×60) fans will no longer have to wait for the return of the acclaimed new series, with the air date for the second episode moving up from Sunday, April 2 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) to Sunday, March 26 at 8 p.m. (8:30NT). New episodes of ANNE will continue to air Sundays at 8 pm (8:30 NT).

As a result of that change, the premiere of new docu-drama series CANADA: STORY OF US (10 x 60) will move from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on Sunday, March 26, with one episode airing instead of back-to-back episodes. Episode 102 will now air on Sunday, April 2 at 9 p.m. (9:30NT). New episodes of the series will continue to air Sundays at 9 p.m. (9:30NT).

Schedule changes:
Moved: Episode 102 of ANNE moves from Sunday, April 2 @ 8 p.m. to Sunday, March 26 @ 8 p.m. (8:30NT).

Moved: The premiere of CANADA: THE STORY OF US Episode 101 moves from Sunday, March 26 @ 8 p.m. to Sunday, March 26 @ 9 p.m. (9:30NT). Episode 102 will now air on Sunday, April 2 @ 9 p.m. (9:30NT).

Updated primetime schedule for Sunday, March 26 (NT time zone half-hour later for all times)

Updated 8 PM: ANNE – Episode 102 (“I am no bird, and no net ensnares me”)
Updated 9 PM: CANADA: THE STORY OF US – Series Premiere, Episode 101 (“Worlds Collide”)

Updated primetime schedule for Sunday, April 2 (NT time zone half-hour later for all times)

Updated 8 PM: ANNE – Episode 103 (“But what is so headstrong as youth?”)
9 PM: CANADA: THE STORY OF US – Episode 102 (“Hunting Treasures”)

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Link: On Set with ‘Anne’ Star Amybeth McNulty

From Melissa Girimonte of The Televixen:

Link: On Set with ‘Anne’ Star Amybeth McNulty
I got the first Anne book when I was 9 years old for my birthday, and that was all the experience I really had with it. I never watched the movies, never saw any other productions of it. It was just the book and I feel like that’s all I really needed. Then the script from Moira [Walley-Beckett] was given to me and I didn’t feel like I needed to re-read the book. I felt that I would stick with her script and any questions I had, I would go to her. That’s all I really needed for myself to picture Anne and to portray her in my sense of how she should be portrayed.” Continue reading.

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Anne of Green Gables given fresh new life in CBC’s Anne

It took me just 40 seconds into the first episode of CBC’s Anne—debuting Sunday at 8 p.m.—to realize this iteration of the Anne of Green Gables story was going to be different.

A sweeping shot of Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thomson) riding a thundering horse in the surf and a train whistle echoing in the distance immediately cut to the opening credits. The credits themselves are noteworthy, with Anne Shirley’s sayings scrawled into arty, enhanced tree limbs as The Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century” plays. L.M. Montgomery’s iconic heroine is indeed over 100 years old, but hasn’t showed her age. Or her importance.

R.H. Thomson as Matthew Cuthbert

“What didn’t exist was an ongoing series where we got to spend more time with Anne,” says executive producer Miranda de Pencier. “The way the British repatriate their classics for new generations, we wanted to make our own version of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables that felt relevant to today.”

“It feels like this is the perfect moment in time to re-explore and re-examine Anne for today,” says fellow executive producer, writer and showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett. “There are such desperate issues right now, of gender parity, women’s rights—not to mention the issues that are inherent in the book of prejudice and bullying—what does it mean to be from away? To be an outsider and unaccepted? These were all issues that we thought were incredibly timely.”

Sunday’s two-hour debut is stunning visually. A cherry tree is a riot of colour against a pine forest as Anne sits outside the train station waiting for Matthew to pick her up. Waves crash against ruddy red cliffs. Big skies abound.

Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert

The performances are stellar too. Amybeth McNulty, of course, does most of the heavy lifting as Anne and doesn’t look out of place next to Geraldine James’ Marilla Cuthbert or Thomson’s Matthew. Anne is the creative and imaginative girl generations recognize, but Walley-Beckett’s script gives her an edge: flashbacks to abuse at the Hammonds are stark and scary. Thomson’s take on Matthew is a good one. Like the books, he’s reserved and quiet (Martin Sheen’s portrayal in the YTV TV-movies is decidedly more chatty.), and stooped shoulders make the lanky actor appear shorter than he really is. Other cast include Dalila Bela as Anne’s best bud, Diana Barry; Corrine Koslo as resident snoop Rachel Lynde; Aymeric Jett Montaz as farmhand Jerry Maynard; and Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe.

McNulty is simply charming in the lead role, able to exude enthusiasm, intelligence and a healthy dose of moxie without being annoying. You can’t help but smile when she utters a soliloquy that leaves Matthew nonplussed and Marilla shaking her head.

“Amybeth is fiercely bright and independent, spirited and incredibly sensitive and also has a worldly perspective, which is something we touch on again and again in Anne,” Walley-Beckett says. “She was it.”

See if you agree on Sunday.

Anne airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

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