Anne: A Secret Which I Desired to Divine
January 3, 2020 8:31 PM - Season 3, Episode 1 - Subscribe

As Anne’s sixteenth birthday approaches, she finds herself longing to know more about her lineage, which strains her relationship with Matthew and Marilla.

OK, Metafilter. It looks like we skipped season two here on FanFare, but season three is up on Netflix, and I’m sure we have many opinions. So let’s opine like bosom friends talking under a big wild cherry tree all white with bloom.
posted by Maarika (10 comments total)
Season 2 left me wondering why this show is still pretending to include Anne Shirley at all. I mean, I don't mind a change of venue to some extent. Like, I could see an "Anne Shirley but in space" working, possibly. But there has to be a reason for it. Just doing Hamlet, except on roller skates and with guns is not the same as being creative.

I appreciate wanting to tell the stories of a wider diversity of Canadians, but using Anne as the gimmick to get us to watch doesn't work if it becomes totally unhinged from the stories we all know. Like the whole gold rush thing last year was just straight-up fanfic (as was the Megan Follows Anne goes to WWI). I enjoyed the Gilbert/Cole dynamic, but why not place that in Mongomery's stories instead of a completely new plot that's not an improvement on the original?

It looks like there's some more good diverse casting this season, and I'll start watching anyway, but I just think the whole thing is a weird diversion.
posted by rikschell at 7:36 AM on January 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Same, rikschell! I find myself thinking of Seasons 2 and 3 as following the fan fiction “time travel fix-it” trope: send a woke, modern Anne back in time, have her interact with various non-canon characters, watch societal and interpersonal chaos erupt. I would read some “Anne Shirley: Astronaut” fanfic!

I’m only halfway though episode one right now, and it’s definitely turning into hate watching for me, which is killing my inner 10-year-old girl... Though 10-year-old me definitely first read the “plucky heroine makes secret friend” plot in the American Girl book Kirsten Learns a Lesson.
posted by Maarika at 11:35 AM on January 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ooh, I'm here for Anne Shirley in space, as well!

I understand why people are irritated by the liberties this series is taking with both its literary source material as well as with historical realism. I also felt twinges of reader's indignation during previous seasons; I was never a superfan of the books but I did read them many times when I was young and liked them a lot.

But! I'm watching the series with my daughter who just turned 15 and, not having read any of the books (and thus untroubled by the differences), she adores this version. And she loves the idyllic fantasyland of a more diverse, humane, accepting Avonlea, and TBH I'm quite certain that she would love it a lot less if it adhered more closely to the origins. They're really reaching for a new audience I think, rather than trying to please the existing fans.
posted by muuratsaari at 3:41 PM on January 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

may or may not follow along with the threads bc i so so dearly love this show as a fan of the books and i know yall do not lol, also i have a bad memory for specific episodes, but i really thought this season was a lovely sendoff and i wish i had so much more of this show and more media like it :(!

so but i figure this thread is the place to put a big content warning for a very stark depiction of forced assimilation with associated christianity and violence that's unresolved at the end of the season and was very upsetting for my watching partner
posted by gaybobbie at 8:14 PM on January 5, 2020

So I think that one of the things that's bothered me really about this whole series is kind of more on display in Season 2, but also Season 3 as I am going - and I think it's a problem that's only going to increase as time goes on, and I think it's essentially the same problem that you so often see with, for example, Austen adaptations.

Because the time period and stakes are so incomprehensible to us, we often have a difficult time understanding the actual drama of, for example, things like "social ruin". We think, "Oh, you couldn't go to parties", and not "You may face a slow, terrible slide into poverty for the rest of your life."

And so they feel this need to 'liven it up' with these extreme danger situations, and don't keep the danger of the real situations because they don't 'feel dangerous'. Like - the reason for taking out the Elaine situation in the show was probably because the fear of drowning in a pond seems incomprehensible in AD2020. But women were wearing probably 20 pounds of clothing between dresses and petticoats. It's why they were so vulnerable to things like the environment (fire especially).

And I think - and I think this speaks to why I have a real problem loving the show - it winds up being casually misogynist through its incomprehension of the time. There's sort of this disdain of marriage that comes from our time where it's not an economic necessity - so the characters that the show is sympathetic to are altered to be very 'oh well I can do things my own way' - take Prissy Andrews, of all people, leaving a man at the altar, or Diana, of all people, having this bizarre 'money doesn't matter' rebellious streak - and the ones who aren't are portrayed as though they are just mysteriously incomprehensible and kind of silly and frivolous. And it really feels to betray the spirit of the author, who was someone who deeply loved the women she was essentially accurately reporting heart of the lives of.
posted by corb at 10:28 AM on January 7, 2020 [7 favorites]

Also: I've now watched to the end of the series and have a lot of thoughts about it, but also there doesn't seem to be a /ton/ of commentary on this episode. What do folks think about making either one for the last episode or a full season post?
posted by corb at 2:02 PM on January 8, 2020

i'd prefer a full season post!
posted by gaybobbie at 10:56 AM on January 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’d prefer a full-season post, too, I just couldn’t figure out how to set it up! Any of you more skilled at FanFare, please go for it.
posted by Maarika at 6:37 AM on January 10, 2020

I hacked together a full-season post, let the discussion commence
posted by Maarika at 1:20 PM on January 13, 2020

Corb, I love what you have to say about historical drama, and it's one of the things I think the new Little Women film got exactly right.
posted by rikschell at 4:29 PM on January 13, 2020

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