Everything about Anne, eh?

Link: The Other Side of Anne of Green Gables

From Willa Paskin of The New York Times:

Link: The Other Side of Anne of Green Gables
Do you know Anne Shirley? You would like her. Everybody does. A lively and optimistic survivor with a feverish imagination and unchecked enthusiasms, she is a redheaded outsider who becomes an insider without forsaking her peculiarities or her intelligence. An inadvertent feminist, an unrepentant romantic, a hot-tempered sprite, she’s impulsive, she’s dramatic, she’s smart, she’s funny, she insists on spelling her name with an E at the end because it “looks so much nicer.” Continue reading.

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Anne signs off with emotional season finale

It seems like just yesterday Anne debuted on CBC and now, all of a sudden, Sunday’s season finale is upon us. While much of Moira Walley-Beckett’s interpretation has been faithful to L.M. Montgomery’s tome, there have been deviations from the source material, most notably the death of Gilbert Blythe’s father, rendering him an orphan just like Anne.

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the tone, cinematography and performances, particularly Amybeth McNulty’s take on our flame-haired heroine. But, really, everyone has been stellar and these first eight episodes have merely whet my appetite for more. Alas, nothing has been announced yet and we’ll have to settle for Sunday’s episode for now.

Here’s what CBC says about “Wherever you are is my home,” written by Walley-Beckett and directed by Amanda Tapping:

On the verge of losing the farm, the Cuthberts must do whatever it takes to save it. Anne is reminded of the strength of friendship and love.
And he’s what else we can tell you after watching a screener of the episode.
It’s Christmas in Avonlea
That’s no surprise if you’ve seen Sunday’s teaser or the image above, but there’s no Yuletide cheer at the farm as Marilla and Matthew struggle to pay their debts. Will there be a Christmas miracle or a chunk of coal at the bottom of Anne’s stocking?
Road trip!
An unlikely pair goes on an important journey and learn more about themselves—and each other—on the way. Keep your eyes open for veteran actors Daniel Kash in a key scene as well as showrunner Walley-Beckett in a blink-and-you’ll-miss her moment.
Geraldine James and R. H. Thomson are amazing
The pair has been stellar as Marilla and Matthew all season, but James and Thomson ratchet up their performances on Sunday in several jaw-droppingly good scenes. While we’re on it, McNulty and James share some emotional moments too. Better keep the tissues handy, folks.
What did you think of the first season of Anne? Are you wanting more? Comment below!

Images courtesy of CBC.

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Link: A ‘Breaking Bad’ writer and producer is behind a new Anne of Green Gables

From Erin Blakemore of Smithsonian.com:

Link: A ‘Breaking Bad’ writer and producer is behind a new Anne of Green Gables
“Anne is timeless, but she’s timely right now. I’m not influenced by what’s come before. I feel like Anne’s issues are incredibly relevant and topical right now. There’s so much conversation in the world about gender parity and feminism and prejudice and those who come from away. People who are other. All of these conversations are within L.M. Montgomery’s writing. It’s the perfect time to talk about it again.” Continue reading. 

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Anne gets schooled on Sunday night

Eight one-hour episodes is a lot of time to break down Anne of Green Gables. Perhaps that’s why last Sunday’s instalment, “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me,” didn’t contain anything from the source material. Anne didn’t make it all the way back to the orphanage, earn a ride helping the milk delivery man or sign the Cuthbert’s bible.

It certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment. Yes, some of you let me know none of what happened was in the source material, but you also noted you’re enjoying Moira Walley-Beckett’s take on L.M. Montgomery’s classic. That’s pretty high praise, I think, and Walley-Beckett and CBC should be proud of that accomplishment.

But on to Sunday’s new episode, “But what is so headstrong as youth?” Here’s what the network had to say about it:

Anne is excited to begin school and make friends, but is unprepared for the bullying that occurs when she doesn’t fit in. Marilla too, is testing new waters as she accepts an invitation to join a “Progressive Mothers” group.
And here some notes from us after watching a screener.

Amybeth McNulty is a fantastic Anne
Playing such an iconic role is tough, but McNulty makes it look easy. As Walley-Beckett told me earlier this year, “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. She was it.” She most certainly is it, showing an incredible emotional range for such a young actress and able to go toe-to-toe with her veteran co-stars. I can’t help but smile every time she delivers a rat-a-tat-tat piece of dialogue, not waiting for an answer from Marilla or Matthew or anyone, really. Anne’s long walk to school is full of conversation … more of a soliloquy if we’re being honest.

Imagination vs. reality
We know Anne’s head is full of fantastic stories and characters, and she certainly has dreamy expectations of what school will be like. Unfortunately, she runs into bullying and meets her academic nemesis in Gilbert Blythe (Lucas Jade Zumann). School isn’t all bad for Anne; there is a very funny moment between she and Diana as they discuss babies and pet mice. I’m interested in hearing what fans think of Gilbert, so let me know after you watch the episode.

Marilla joins a club
Anne isn’t the only one trying to fit in. Now that Marilla has a daughter, it opens the door for her to become a member of the Progressive Mothers Sewing Circle. The group meets to discuss how their daughters should be educated, to do needlepoint and sip tea. Her attendance at her first meeting causes Marilla to wonder if she’s up to the task of raising a child. And not everyone is a fan of her being part of the Progressive Mothers Sewing Circle.

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

Images courtesy of CBC.

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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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