WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Anne with an E (aka Anne) by Moira Walley-Beckett (Episodes 1-3)
Basic Plot: Anne Shirley has long been neglected and abused. Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert need a boy to help do the farm chores. In a twist of fate, the two accidentally adopt Anne, and decide to keep her, despite her strange ways and their needs.
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story at first follows the same plot, and the characters are the same, but great changes have been made to plot and personalities as the series goes on. Characters are more realistic in that everything is not always roses, but this is sometimes taken to the point that is too dark to be enjoyable. Anne of Green Gables is originally a children’s book about the fears and wonders of childhood, as well as confronting problems children could be going through. One can tell in this series that the creators are trying to do the same, but in a different manner. The address much darker and more adult issues than the book did.
Acting: 4/5 Well Done: Despite that I am a fan of the original movie, my endearment to it did not make the acting in this movie less entertaining than the other one. The actors and actresses all did a good job at portraying the characters in a way that was both familiar and new, something that is good for remakes of already popular classics.
Costumes and Scenery: 4/5 Well Done: The costumes are beautiful and accurate. The time period is elegant without being too fairy tale like. Realistic without being boring.
The scenes were similar. It was not over the top but believable, yet this believability did not make it any less than beautiful.
Moral: 1/5 Negative Morals: Most of the morals in the series are prevented from a completely different angle than the books and movies. The moral is more progressive, pushy, and loud. Rather than preach confidence and friendliness and perseverance, it teaches nonchalance and stubbornness. The attitude of the characters is different, and everything positive about the morals of the book is given a negative feel, especially Anne’s angry feminist speeches about why she is just as good as boy. Though that may be true, the attitude about it is quite cheeky.
Overall: 3½/5 Above Average: Though different than the movie, several things in this show make it beautiful in its own way. The plot is darker and more adult, but some of the same innocence of the original can be seen in it. The main problems with this series are not in quality but are in the moral content, attitude of the characters, and the overall moral itself.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 4/5 Explicit Verbal Sexual Content: Anne tells her friend that men have a “mouse in their front pocket,” and that this is what makes babies, though it is clear she does not completely understand what this means. Later, she tells her friends in detail that she heard her past foster mother “petting his [her husband’s] mouse,” sometimes by force. She then tells the students that their teacher and another student are doing this and “making a baby,” as well as “having intimate relations,” though they are not. Again, all of this is said without truly understand what this is. This becomes a major problem in the series, causing the Cuthberts awkward grief and shame in the town.
Anne is seen in her under things, which are shorts and a tank top, and is seen by a man and women like this. A woman says she is not surprised the feminist do not go out “dancing naked” and “burning” their “corsets.” A man is in love with one of his older students, and they once hold hands.
Violence: 1/5 Brief Light Violence: A woman slaps a child. A boy pulls a girl’s braids. A boy threatens Anne for spreading rumors, and nearly does something to her until he is stopped.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 Some Misuse: “Lord” is used several times.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 Bullying and Abuse: Anne is bullied by children verbally and physically, once having a mouse shoved in her face. She is called a “orphan” and a “dog” by past and present companions. A man tries to kidnap Anne by saying he has come to “take her home” and that he has “sweets in [his] carriage.” When he fails, he tells some boys the something similar.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Anne says a prayer for the first time, and some may think its humorous, awkwardness is a bit sacrilegious. Marilla calls Anne “a perfect heathen” for having never said her prayers growing up.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: Anne talks about fairies at least once.
Others: Anne has two angry, feminist outburst, saying that “a girl can do as much as a boy and more!” All of this is said in a nasty, angry manner. Some women ask Marilla to join PMSS, “The Progressive Woman’s Sewing Society.” Anne talks about how a man was a drunkard that forced himself on his wife.
Overall: 4/5 Adult Appropriate: I do not recommend this show to children or teenagers. I only got to episode three, the content disturbing me so much. The content itself may not have bothered me so much if it was not for the fact that the TV show is recommended on Netflix kids and rated PG. If it had been rated appropriately, the discovery may have been less appalling.
NOTE: I’m apologize if this review is not as accurate as some others. I did not finish the series or take the kinds of notes I should have, but I felt that it would be helpful to warn parents of what is being advertised on Netflix supposed Kid’s channel.