Anne with an E, a Netflix original, premiered in 2017 and was cancelled two years later. This unfair cancellation outraged and continues to outrage millions of fans, simply because of how much good Anne with an E gives to the world.
This charming show is nothing short of an underrated gem; not many are aware of this Anne of Green Gables adaptation. Hopefully, this list of ten reasons why Anne with an E is the best show will make you want to watch it. I promise, eventually you’ll see yourself falling in love with it.
- The characters are lovable
The series, like the Anne of Green Gables novels by L.M. Montgomery, takes place on Prince Edward Island, Canada. When Anne-Shirley Cuthbert, the protagonist, finds herself in Avonlea, she is a breath of fresh air to its close-minded community.
She is courageous, brave and forward-thinking – something the people of Avonlea aren’t used to. She is also wildly romantic and imaginative, which makes following her story all the more pleasant. Despite her positive qualities, Anne is also short-tempered, impulsive and a tad dramatic, but her three-dimensional aspects make her a very relatable and realistic character.
Although I mentioned that the Avonlea community is a little narrow-minded, some of them eventually learn to open themselves up to things like giving women the right to have a voice and become quite progressive thinkers. There is only one character I can think of that I don’t like (looking at you, Billy), but he is a character that is meant to be hated. Other than that, all the characters are wonderful and lovely in their own ways.
- Triumph over trauma
Anne has been through unspeakable trauma in her life. She has lived in an orphanage for most of her childhood, where she was bullied and mocked for her imagination. The show offers multiple flashbacks of Anne’s time at the orphanage, showing us snippets of the terror she’s been through.
It makes us get to know Anne better, but it also shows how strong she is; how, despite everything she’s survived, she still sticks true to herself and embraces her passions. It’s inspiring to see how Anne took her past hardships and moulded them into bravery and compassion.
- It tackles questions of sexuality, sexism, racism and bullying
One of the things Anne with an E is best known for is its representation.
Besides witnessing Anne’s past horrors of bullying, in season two we meet the closeted artist, Cole Mackenzie. He is bullied and ridiculed not only by some of the other boys in his class but also by his teacher, Mr. Phillips. Cole eventually quits school because of the constant bullying he receives for displaying feminine qualities, which were considered to be taboo for the time period (the late 1890s). However, Anne and Diana, as well as their other friends, support Cole no matter what and have his back. Cole also meets the charming Aunt Josephine, who takes him under her wing and teaches him to embrace his sexuality.
Also in season two, we are introduced to Sebastian “Bash” Lacroix and Mary. Both are people of colour who live at a time when anyone of colour was considered to be unworthy and undeserving of love and respect. Bash, who is from Trinidad, often gets mistaken for a slave and therefore struggles to fit into a place like Avonlea.
However, Gilbert Blythe, whom he considers to be his brother, takes him in and introduces him to all the wonderful people and places Avonlea has to offer. Bash meets Mary in The Bog (a place where people of colour are marginalised and form their own community), whom he eventually marries and starts a family with. Despite their hardships, Bash and Mary receive endless love and support from the people of Avonlea, which makes it a heartwarming watch.
Additionally, although the theme of feminism is strong throughout the whole series, it becomes of the central themes in season three, where the plot delves into topics such as sexual abuse and women standing up for themselves. In the late 1890s, women speaking their truth and having a voice was simply impossible; it was unheard of. So when Anne publishes an article in their local newspaper expressing radical but beautiful thoughts such as “women matter on their own, not in relation to a man,” it is seen as troublesome. Anne, along with Ms. Stacy, are both inspiring in that they never stay silent and encourage everyone to break free from society’s bigotry.
- Focuses on indigenous issues and Canada’s dark history
As mentioned, there is a lot of racial diversity in Anne with an E. This is not only seen through the characters of Bash and Mary but also through the Mi’kmaq tribe – specifically through Ka’kwet – that are introduced in season three. Ka’kwet and her family suffer from one of the show’s most heartbreaking arcs, which is based on historical facts: Canada’s residential schools. These “schools” were conversion camps that forced native people to erase everything to do with their native heritage and instead adopt Christian beliefs. Their names would be changed by Christian priests and they would also punish children that didn’t speak English.
I personally didn’t know anything about the residential schools until I watched the show, so I’m glad that a show like Anne with an E highlights this important but dark side of Canada’s history. It educates its audience on the tragedies that unfolded, and, through Anne, shows us how important it is to love people of all cultural backgrounds.
- It makes for a good discussion
Because of these heavy topics which are all very relevant to our day and age as well, Anne with an E is a show that makes for a fabulous discussion. There’s so much to talk about in regards to this show, especially since only a few know how much diversity and representation it has!
- It will make you feel… a lot
Although the series focuses on big topics, those are not the only times it makes you feel something. Anne with an E is not a show that only makes you feel sadness and anger. It’s a lighthearted show at its core. It makes you feel love and gratitude; it makes you feel light and brave; it makes you feel everything. Even the sweetest of moments will draw tears from your eyes, simply because of the immense love and power that the show displays. It’s one of the things it does best.
I’m not joking, one of the things that made me emotional once while watching Anne with an E is its cinematography. It’s dripping with beauty. I would go as far as calling it poetic cinema, and even that feels like the understatement of the century. Bobby Shore really knew what he was doing shooting this show. Just look at some of these shots!
The cliffs, hills and shores at Prince Edward Island are breathtaking. When I watch those scenes I feel so at peace and calm; there is something about a quiet, tranquil scenery.
Also, Anne is a big lover of nature. The way she looks at nature and describes it is beyond beautiful! She dubs a lake she sees on her way to Green Gables ‘The Lake of Shining Waters’, and, similarly, she nicknames a wonderful path surrounded by trees with white blossoms ‘The White Way of Delight’. Her descriptions open one’s eyes to the hidden wonders of nature, making one appreciate their surroundings even more.
- The children are actually played by child actors
I know this is a very small reason, but considering how many TV shows and films nowadays hire 30+-year-olds to play teenagers, the fact that Anne with an E cast children or young teens is quite something. It’s so rare, and I found it to be such a refreshing detail. It has a nice, realistic tone to it, and, because of how incredible these actors are, it definitely also adds to the feeling factor.
- It has a wonderful, big community
The Anne with an E fandom goes under the name of ‘Kindred Spirits,’ which is how Anne refers to her and Diana’s friendship. Even referring to it as a “fandom” feels wrong to me because it is really more of a family. It is a large community of like-minded people who share their love of creativity and imagination. There are artists and writers, all supportive, loving, caring and dedicated.
And when I say dedicated, I mean dedicated. Since Anne with an E has been cancelled, fans have marketed their show using posters and started petitions to renew the show for season four. One petition, in particular, has reached over 1.6 million signatures – and it keeps growing.
Featured Image Credit: TVShowPilot