A Grittier Anne (with an “e”)

MV5BOWEzNWZkZWMtMDc2Ni00NTQxLWI5YzMtMDFjODFkNDAwNTkzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjIyNjMzODc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_Look out for flying pigtails. Anne of Green Gables is returning, this time in a Netflix adaptation called Anne With an E (previously titled just Anne). Set to begin airing on May 12, it gets an in-depth cover feature by the New York Times Magazine.

The article credits Anne’s enduring appeal to the sense of comfort her story offers young readers, as if they have “found a kindred spirit,” exactly as Montgomery intended.

It is intriguing, even unsettling, therefore that the new version, created by Breaking Bad‘s Moira Walley-Beckett ,introduces a grittier Anne, one dealing with the trauma of an abusive childhood, which may cause “Viewers familiar with the books and previous adaptations [to feel] that the emphasis is on the wrong syllable, while also finding something provoking and substantive in the new pronunciation.”

If what readers remember is a cheerful novel, or a romantic story, or even period frilly dresses and teacups, then buckle up. The NYT writes this new version is “much darker. Extrapolating from asides in the text, Walley-Beckett has fleshed out minor characters; given major ones back stories; drawn out themes of gender parity, prejudice, isolation and bullying.”

Walley-Beckett hopes the show will be meaningful to those who have long loved the story and those at the perfect age to meet it for the first time but she tells the NYT, “My bottom line is: Go deep and make the show worthy of watching … There are other versions of ‘Anne’ out there for 5-year-olds.”

Nevertheless, claims Walley-Beckett her version “is a highly lovable and yummy pleasure to sit down with at night.”

Netflix has released a few clips. The following shows some of the darkness beneath the surface.

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