In today’s day and age, a show tackling racism, homophobia, sexism, sexual harassment, censorship and a range of other big issues, is something the world seems to need right now. This made it shocking when Netflix and CBC decided to cancel the coming of age and emotionally moving show, ‘Anne with an E.’
‘Anne with an E’ is a 2017 Netflix and Canadian award winning series, based off Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 novel ‘Anne of Green Gables.’ On Fri, Jan. 3, season three of ‘Anne with an E’ was released on Netflix, bringing excitement yet sadness considering the show would not continue due to disagreements between the two networks.
Fans immediately took to Twitter, tweeting “#RenewAnneWithAnE” and bringing it to trend. Billboards were also hung in downtown Toronto, condemning the cancellation of the Canadian originated series.
Irish actress Amybeth McNulty portrays, Anne-Shirley Cuthbert, a young orphan girl with a fiery personality, taken in by an elderly brother and sister in Avonlea, an old fashioned farming town on Prince Edward Island in Canada.
Taking place in the late 1890’s, Anne witnesses the unfairness of life, and struggles to make friends, being shunned by other families because of her appearance and simply because she is an orphan. The show did not hold back on exposing the legitimacy of racial discrimination, lack of LGBT and women’s rights, discouragement of fine arts education and the gruseoum treatment towards the Indigenous people of Canada.
Also, the show had an underlying theme of feminism and female empowerment, showing that a woman does not need a man to be successful in life. A prime example is Ms. Stacy, a widowed woman who is the first female teacher in Avonlea, who faced constant judgment for being a powerful woman in her position, without a husband.
‘Anne with an E’ stays true to the culture and history of the setting it is portrayed in, an authentic element that other shows seem to lack. The show gives insight on the local culture of Indigenous people, even having scripted lines in the native language of tribes on Prince Edward Island.
Also, the show spotlights the French Acadians who travelled to the region during the same time period, and highlighted the belief that wealth does not equate to happiness. One can have all the money in the world, but sometimes the most important things come from a loving and supportive family.
How can a show with so many prominent messages and such emotional appeal, be cancelled after only three seasons? A show that is not afraid to shine light on the cold hard injustices of the world should not be given up on so easily.
A successful show that is able to resonate with so many different cultures, minorities and ages should certainly be given another chance on a different network such as Hulu or even Disney Plus. Yet, maybe it is not the network that is the issue. Maybe it is the fact that today’s society is unable to admit to the inequalities faced in the nineteenth century, considering most of them are still being fought today.
Currently, Canadaians and Americans still refuse to educate current generations on the fact that past ancestors forced Indigenous people into assimilation: kidnapping native children and forcing them into schools where they were stripped of their culture.
Or maybe a more modern example would make sense: the fact that women still live in fear of speaking out about sexaul harassment, due to society’s subconscious actions of always throwing the blame at the female.
Such a powerful message is lost in today’s television, it seems that the most popular series today are thoughtless sitcoms, or Sci-Fi thrillers based on events that will never happen; however, maybe that is the trick to a successful show, giving people something else to worry about so they can ignore the actual problems going on in the world today.
Maybe the disagreement between the networks was not the biggest cause of this show ending, perhaps Ms. Stacey said it best, “this is the result of small minds.”
One of the best parts of ‘Anne with an E’ was to see the growth of certain characters over the three seasons. Even the stubborn and narrow-minded characters grew into loving, selfless people open to new ideas and accepted the modern ways of the world.
If even the most traditional and callous characters were willing to realize the prejudice and bigotry they contributed to, why is it so hard for today’s society to do the same? The world needed ‘Anne with an E,’ but maybe it is ahead of its time, or the world is still not willing to wake up to the issues people face today.
Despite its finish, the show made sure to carry their important messages out to the last episode. Towards the end of season three, elderly men tried to silence the voice of children, censoring their right to free speech in schools and discouraging them from speaking out about relevant problems.
Regardless of the push back, the characters would come together in the end and speak up for what they believed in. Society will not continue to advance if the problems of the world continue to be silenced, and no one decides to step up and fight them.
As Anne Shirley-Cuthbert said, “Everyone has the right to express their opinion freely, whether it is unpopular or not.”