Anne is back, running headlong into life

Story's end: Anne (Amybeth McNulty) and Marilla (Geraldine James) navigate the choppy waters of life. Image: NETFLIX/CBC
Story's end: Anne (Amybeth McNulty) and Marilla (Geraldine James) navigate the choppy waters of life. Image: NETFLIX/CBC

For the past two seasons the tale of the fiesty, red-haired orphan Anne Shirley-Cuthbert - late of Green Gables - has captivated viewers of all ages.

Alas, the escapades of the slate-smashing, trouble-prone teen of the classic Lucy Maud Montgomery book series will come to a close after this series (showing on Netflix) as CBS has cancelled it.

So, Anne with an E, the final series, will drop on January 3 and set the scene for a few summer debates (ie, which screen version of the characters, beloved since 1908, was your favourite).

It definitely wasn't a copy-cat of Anne Fellowes' Anne, which was softer, more bucolic. Amybeth McNulty's orphan had edges ... and a motormouth. Like most classics, however, there was room for a new interpretation and if Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet could battle zombies, anything was fair game. In this Anne, Moira Walley-Breckett (Breaking Bad) created a world which reflected the issues of millennials - issues which, in fact, resonate across ages.

This incarnation hasn't been without controversy. Introducing non-book plots and making Anne's life story darker angered purists (the bullying backstory from the orphanage and protagonists created for the #MeToo era rather than Edwardian Canada come to mind).

The first two seasons traced Anne's familiar journey to become part of Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert's family and after a rocky, exasperating start, the wider Prince Edward Island family. It's the story of a headstrong, career-minded girl who was "ahead by a century". A period drama, yes, but with timeless storylines - family, love, teen angst, sexuality, women wanting careers, issues of race, aging, education, class, beauty, relationships and worth.

Expect more of the same in season three. Anne turning 16, the search for her "true lineage", friendships, an indigenous storyline, school, marriage and, of course, Gilbert Blythe. An Anne navigating the maelstrom of a changing world. Who can't relate to that?

Juanita Greville

Anne with an E, Netflix, January 3