Series title: Green Gables Fables - Season 1
Created by: Lucy McPhee, Alicia Whitson, Marie Trotter
Starring: Mandy Harmon
Elevator pitch: It’s Anne of Green Gables. It’s sweaters, braids, sleepovers, mistakes, apologies, forest montages, drama, and love: everything that makes Anne of Green Gables beloved.
Features: humor, strong female characters, female friendship, great ensemble, excellent adaptation, teens actually being teens, good costumes/hair, closed-captioned
There are few things I love more in this world than Anne of Green Gables, and this webseries successfully brings the heart and soul of AoGG to a modern audience. All of Anne’s iconic moments have been brought to life via low-quality camera style (after all, where would Anne get a fancy camera?). Anne is thoughtful, verbose, and engaging. Despite the aging up - she’s in high school rather starting as a pre-teen - she still maintains the naiveté in the beginning that marks Anne’s childhood. The editing and placement of cuts lends itself well to Anne’s rambling. It just feels like Anne. This is further emphasized because rarely in the beginning season one does the audience hear from any other narrator besides Anne, until Miss Stacy assigns all the students to create video blogs and we can start hearing about their lives.
The soft-spoken Internet-friend-turned-real-life-friend Diana Barry provides a great contrast to Anne’s enthusiasm. In fact, the whole ensemble sticks closely to the source material. Matthew is quiet and supportive, and he has a strong bond with Anne that is visible despite the few episodes he appears in. Jane is patient, deep thinking, and a board game aficionado. Ruby is Anne’s got-to fashion emergency call and an ANGEL… Josie, of course, is immediately dislikeable as a seemingly basic social media-obsessed girl. Curious about Gilbert Blythe? The audience only hears about the infamous “Carrots!” incident and the development of their rivalry from Anne, and you don’t even meet him until episode twenty-seven. But just like in the book, he doesn’t let his feelings for Anne stop him from standing up for himself when she tries to push him out of her way.
An unexpected delight in this webseries is the friendship between Ruby and Gilbert. After they break up from a brief relationship attempt, they both start to listen to and help each other finish out high school and through the loneliness of post-high school. Besides my love of Gilbert and Anne, Ruby truly shines in this adaptation as a seventeen-year-old who is having a hard time trying to grow up like everyone wants her to. She wants to be loved, and be in love like her family keeps telling her, but she can’t seem to bring her idealism to realism. (Ruby continues to be one of the best characters in the second season, but I will talk about that in my season two recommendation.)
The camera and sound may be low-quality, but this honestly feels like Anne of Green Gables. It has forest walks and fairy lights and monologues about Octobers. It’s beautiful. You don’t have to be an Anne fan to love it, but if you already are you will see the love the creators have the source material in every little bit of production.