Why I won't be watching the new Anne of Green Gables

Why I won't be watching the new Anne of Green Gables

The girls and I counted down the days until last Friday, when the new Anne of Green Gables premiered on Netflix. We settled in for episode 1 that very night. We got through episode 2 the next day. But I told them yesterday that we won't be watching it anymore. Here's why.

All those rumors you heard about this reboot being "gritty"? They are true, and they're not referring to color palette or showing the dirt and hard work of life in that time period (as I had thought). They're referring to honest-to-goodness changes in the story's plot. As in, they inserted grit into the story where the original had none. And it's awful.

The whole time we were watching, I found myself wanting to watch the One True Version (the Megan Follows 1980s Wonderworks one). I was quoting it in my head and remembering how certain scenes (ok, all of them) were done so perfectly. And then there was the version in front of me on the screen, dark and gritty and taking the story to such weird places. Matthew getting hit by a carriage and falling unconscious in the street? Anne being preyed upon by a kidnapper? Anne and Matthew arguing publicly in a train station? What, exactly, am I watching?

Look, I know that the One True Version also made changes to the plot. But I also think that in essence, even with the changes, it was tremendously faithful to the original. So it's not that I think this new version should have been exactly like the book; it's that it should have been true to it. Instead, we have a petulant Anne who, let's be honest, maybe kinda sorta would put strychnine in the well. We have a Matthew who - gasp - talks. And we have flashbacks to straight-up child abuse. There is a time and a place to have conversations about hard issues with my kids, but Anne of Green Gables is not the ideal material I had in mind to prompt them.

If you want to find out more of the specific objectionable (in my opinion) content in the new AoGG, you can read this article (it marks the spoilers clearly in case you do decide to watch). But I'm not going to waste my time. Instead, I will happily re-watch the old one. Again.

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