Childhood lives! The Anne of Green Gables reboot, Anne with an E, is officially on Netflix and I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about anything in my entire life.
For those (very, very few) of you who don’t know the premise, Anne Shirley (Amybeth McNulty) is a romantic and imaginative orphan taken in by the Cuthberts, an elderly brother and sister who run a struggling farm. Despite the fact that they originally wanted a boy, the two eventually decide to keep Anne – and that’s Anne with an E, by the way. Anne finds a kindred spirit in a local girl, Diana Barry (Dalila Bela) and the two make use of Anne’s insatiable and dramatic imagination as they romp through the forest and fields of Prince Edward Island. There’s also a local golden boy, Gilbert Blythe (Lucas Jade Zumann) who tries to befriend Anne with very little success.
Words seriously cannot express how excited I am that this reboot is officially released. As a child of the ’80s, I grew up watching the mini-series starring Megan Follows so many times I broke my VHS copy. And I wasn’t alone. For any headstrong girl who liked to read and make up stories, Anne was a childhood inspiration. I remember reading Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books over and over, highlighting passages that spoke to me, writing in the margins and waiting (oh, so patiently) for the day that Anne would finally wake up and see Gilbert standing right there in front of her.
After the success of Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery went on to write five other Anne books, as well as several more set in Avonlea (a fictional town based on Cavendish in Prince Edward Island). But the first will always be my favorite, as I romped through my own “Haunted Woods” and longed for a kindred spirit like Diana. Needless to say, I have high hopes for this reboot, which I’m waiting to devour on a weekend that I have absolutely NO plans! I expect lots of sweeping scenes of the farmhouse, lots of Anne-style speeches, and at least one near-drowning in the river as the unfortunate lily maid of Camelot.
Here are the five things that I definitely, absolutely need to see in Anne With an E:
Look, Gilbert is awesome, and his eventual romance with Anne is the stuff of legends. But one of the cornerstones of the series will always be Anne’s lifelong friendship with Diana, her bosom friend and kindred spirit. Diana might not be as ambitious or imaginative as Anne (which she readily admits), but that never stops them from going on adventure after adventure, including getting drunk by accident, pledging eternal friendship, and eventually naming their children after each other. Growing up, I rarely saw wonderful examples of female friendships in literature, and Anne and Diana were my inspiration. I can’t wait to see how their friendship sparkles on screen.
Chemistry With Gilbert
Did I mention that Gilbert is awesome? Because he is. Smart and swoony, all the girls want to date the dark-haired heartthrob. Every girl except for Anne, of course. From the first moment when he calls her carrots (and she breaks her slate over his head), she wants nothing to do with him. But he eventually shows her his worth, and the two become friends who connect on an intellectual level, including constantly battling for the top spots at their schools. It takes Anne a long time to realize that he’s more than just the boy who called attention to her biggest insecurity (her flaming red hair), but once she finally lets him in it’s wonderful. Anne and Gilbert were my original OTP (one true pair) and I’ve been in love with them ever since. Anne is only focused on the first book for now, so I’m not expecting a lot of an Anne & Gilbert romance this season. But I also want to see some awesome groundwork laid so there’s plenty of time for that romance later on.
A Solid Family Unit
I love both Gilbert and Diana, but the true heart of Anne of Green Gables lies with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the 2 foster parents to the orphaned Anne Shirley. When Anne first shows up on the farm, Marilla (Geraldine James in Anne) initially wants to send Anne away, despite the fact that her shy and quiet brother Matthew (R.H. Thomson) has already started to bond with the girl. Matthew eventually convinces Marilla to keep Anne around, and the rest is history. The three become such a strong family unit, with Marilla instilling discipline and hard work into Anne and Matthew spoiling her rotten behind Marilla’s back. These two can make me cry like no one else in the series, and I’m both dreading and crazy excited for the waterworks that I hope are coming with Anne.
Those Iconic Scenes
From Gilbert calling Anne “carrots,” to Anne sinking as the lily maid, certain Anne of Green Gables scenes are forever burned into my brain. And those aren’t the only two. Matthew buying Anne her new dress with puffed sleeves, Diana drinking the red currant wine, Anne accidentally dying her hair green. I could go on and on. I’m sure the show can’t include every single moment from the books and I’m not expecting that… But also I kind of hope it includes every single moment from the books.
Prince Edward Island in all its Glory
After reading these books as a kid, I was 100 percent ready to pack my bags and move to Canada. Prince Edward Island just sounded so lovely; those sweeping shorelines, the fields with their stubborn cows, the Haunted Woods and their canopy of trees. Not to mention the green-gabled house itself. Even as an adult, I’m about ready to pack up and move to Anne’s lushly-descriptive world. I hope the show does the iconic landscape justice, giving us scene after scene of Canada’s turn-of-the-century beauty.
Did you watch the new Anne of Green Gables reboot, Anne with an E? Let us know in the comments what you thought!