Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pilot Review: Anne with an E

Anne with an E (Netflix)
Premiered May 12

There are certain shows that I’m pretty sure I know how I’ll end up feeling about them going in. This is one such series, set at a point in the literary past where action and excitement are unlikely to be found, and far more plodding stories about coming of age and growing into oneself are sure to take up a good deal of the attention. I have no real memory of “Anne of Green Gables,” if I even read it at some point when I was a child or in school, but I know that it’s not the first book I would choose to adapt if I were making a film. I’m partial to something like “Anna Karenina” over “Pride and Prejudice,” though this show doesn’t feature Keira Knightley, just makes me think of the kind of movies she used to make. I am happy to report that, despite the somewhat unending nature of this show’s first episode, it does feature a strong performance from Amybeth McNulty as the impossibly chatty Anne, who is determined to let everyone know how to pronounce her name and to show them that she’s just as good as any boy they could have hoped for. If this show belonged to a genre that I enjoyed, I’m sure I’d be very happy watching it, but given that it doesn’t, I’m more than satisfied with this as a helpful sampling of an extremely Canadian ode to one of the most beloved books that’s ripe for an adaptation like this.

How will it work as a series? Anne sure is a magnetic protagonist, and I’m sure there will be no shortage of things for her to talk about and experience over the course of the show’s even episodes. The source material and creative liberties should be more than sufficient.
How long will it last? This show already wrapped its run on Canadian network CBC, and now it’s coming to a streaming service where I think it will have no trouble finding an audience to slowly make their way through this show. The reviews seem to be pretty strong, and I imagine this is going to be something Netflix wants to continue.

Pilot grade: B-

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