Lovers of the carrot-haired, spunky, imaginative young girl from Prince Edward Island will be excited for Netflix's new release this month, "Anne with an E."
Those expecting more of the light-hearted "Anne of Green Gables" portrayed in the 1980s Canadian mini-series will likely be disappointed. While the series starring Megan Follows adheres to L.M. Montgomery's much-loved book pretty religiously, the new Netflix series adds in some variations.
The first hint that creator Moira Walley-Beckett will have a different take on Anne Shirley's story comes in the first scene. Viewers meet Anne (Amybeth McNulty) while she's on a train to her new home with siblings Marilla (Geraldine James) and Matthew Cuthbert (R.H. Thomson). She has a small panic attack at the sound of a baby crying, bringing back traumatizing memories of being abused verbally and physically while taking care of many young children at her previous home.
And thus Walley-Beckett establishes that her version of Montgomery's story will not gloss over the horrors of Anne's past. In her hands, Anne's tragedies carry an emotional weight that feels tragic - and often painfully real. When Marilla tells Anne that they must send her back to the orphanage because they wanted a boy, Anne's ensuing tears aren't treated as dramatic and slightly comical, but instead as the natural reaction of a girl who has never been loved in her entire life being heartbroken once again. This contrast makes Anne's cheerful optimism and lively imagination even more incredible.
Aside from flashbacks to Anne's abusive past, there are some very large deviations from the book's plot in just the first few episodes of this series that add a good deal of drama and suspense. These scenes are well-done and bring a new perspective to Anne's character and her relationship with Matthew and Marilla but might upset some diehard book lovers.
Viewers will be able to decide for themselves by watching this eight-episode series, which premieres Friday, May 12.
There are five other new and returning shows coming this month to both streaming sites and network stations.
The Emmy-nominated series will return to Netflix with a third season on Friday, May 19. According to ew.com, the second season ended with Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) receiving a call from the Reverend (Jon Hamm), who had kidnapped her as a child, "telling her he needed a divorce because he wanted to remarry." In the upcoming season, viewers will see how Kimmy handles this news, as well as enjoying Titus' new career prospects and Lillian's (Carol Kane) relationship ups and downs. Guest stars will include writer Tina Fey, David Cross and Amy Sedaris.
Premiering on ABC on Wednesday, May 17, this new series is told from the perspective of a young millennial woman's dog Martin. He thinks she just has fun driving around all day while he has to stay home to deal with the dangers of the vacuum and the evil cat (not to be racist). He's jealous of her playtime with her boyfriend and calls obedience school couple's therapy. Meanwhile, his owner Nan (Allison Tolman) struggles to succeed in her career.
Director David Lynch's 1990s cult series returns May 21 to Showtime in an 18-part limited series. According to dealine.com, the murdered Laura Palmer told Agent Dale Cooper in a dream "I'll see you again in 25 years" in the original series. Now, making good on that promise, fans will once more get to delve into the mysterious - some would say twisted - mind of David Lynch.
NBC's popular talent contest returns May 31 for a 12th season with its first female host, Tyra Banks, replacing Nick Cannon. Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell are returning. Executive producer Jason Raff told Billboard, "We are thrilled to have Tyra join the show this season, and her chemistry with the judges is undeniable."
Returning judges Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi are joined by chef and judge Aarón Sánchez on the popular Fox show's eighth season on May 31. Forty home cooks compete for the white apron, which includes a cookbook deal and a $250,000 grand prize, according to fox.com. The new contestants come from a wide array of backgrounds, including a wedding singer, a pastor, a high school teacher, and the usual amount of models and dancers.