Hitting Screens, Week Of May 8, 2017

Two very different adaptations begin airing this week, both on streaming services.

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As we summarized last week, advance publicity indicates the new version will be grittier than readers remember.

As the show’s creator, Moira Walley-Beckett tells the CBC News, “I feel that this Anne is entirely different … We’re off-book … This is a very grounded, real version of the story. Life in Prince Edward Island in the late 1800s was a hard, gritty, scrappy life. It was messy, it was covered in red mud … It’s not doilies and teacups, it’s life.”

The relatively unknown Irish-Canadian actress, Amybeth McNulty, plays the title role. R.H. Thomson (Chloe) and Geraldine James (Sherlock Holmes) play Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.

The few advance reviews are raves. The Globe and Mail say it is “striking and fresh … It imagines rather than remembers or reveres previous versions, no matter how beloved they were. This Anne should be approached and appreciated in the same spirit – it’s a sublimely reinvigorated Anne of Green Gables.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer, writes “With an ‘e’ for exceptional, Walley-Beckett got it right.”

There is no tie-in, but the book is in print in multiple editions from various publishers.

MV5BMjJlZWYyNTUtMTE1OC00ZTVlLTg4YzgtNzk2MmIzNWFkODk1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjYxMDUzODc@._V1_Based on a cult novel by Chris Kraus, published by the indie press Semiotext(e) (reprinted by MIT press in 2006), I Love Dick starts airing on Amazon on May 12.

Jill Soloway, who created the Emmy-winning Transparent for Amazon, returns as co-creator and director. The series stars Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn.

The press release details the plot: “Chris (Kathryn Hahn) is a frustrated New York filmmaker who finds herself marooned in Marfa, Texas, where her academic husband, Sylvère (Griffin Dunne), has a writing residency. Amid the dusty silence, art snobs, and tumbleweeds, she meets renowned scholar Dick (Kevin Bacon). An infuriating and beguiling exchange with this enigmatic, macho character unleashes in her a dramatic awakening.”

It debuted at Sundance and reviews thus far are generally strong. The Guardian says it is “innovative, well-acted and visually sumptuous.” Variety says it is “a treasure trove of charged moments, an intriguing dance of provocation, creation, and self-reflection. It digs to the roots of desire with unflinching curiosity. It is a daunting show to step into, with its scathing critiques and blunt personalities. But there is something cleansing and freeing about its unvarnished intimacy.” Reflective thought pieces are also piling up, from Slate, New York magazine and The New Republic.

There are some naysayers. The Hollywood Reporter calls it “Messy and not very likable,” summing it up with, “You might want to commit to something/someone else.”

There is no-tie in. For those who want to know more about the ground-breaking book, The Guardian wrote about it when it was published in the UK, saying it is “the book about relationships everyone should read.” The New Yorker wrote about it in 2015, calling it a “white-hot text.”

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