Our Goals & Why We Fight
Anne Nation has been fighting hard for renewal since November 2019. We are still here fighting for the show because it is just that good.
Why We Love ANNE WITH AN E
Many of us were already familiar with the story of Anne of Green Gables, having read the books or having seen other adaptations. But just as many of us discovered this quintessentially Canadian story through Moira Walley-Beckett’s ambitious reimagining. At its heart, Anne of Green Gables is a coming of age story about a charming and optimistic young woman, who, despite facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, manages to charm her way into the lives of everyone she meets.
ANNE WITH AN E takes that premise and delivers an adaptation that touches on many different topics and issues.
This thoughtful approach to storytelling has resulted in a truly international fanbase, consisting of dedicated fans of all ages. We are students, teachers, lawyers, creatives, artists, medical and tech professionals. (We promise we are not bots!)
A Curious Cancelation Timeline
Some context of the networks’ relationship is necessary to better understand the odd timing of ANNE WITH AN E's cancelation.
Netflix and CBC produced ANNE WITH AN E as a co-production. Previously the networks worked together to create Alias Grace, a critically acclaimed adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s historical novel (also worth a viewing!). Separately, Netflix licenses several CBC productions internationally, such as Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience (worth a viewing), and Heartland (no comment).
ANNE WITH AN E season two filming wrapped in March 2018. CBC usually airs primetime dramas in the spring or fall season, in order to avoid low viewership during the summer months. Netflix announced a July 2018 date for all episodes globally except Canada, meaning that the majority of the show’s audience had already seen season two prior to its Canadian premiere in September 2018.
In July 2018, Moira notified fans that Netflix was carefully reviewing viewership figures for ANNE WITH AN E, and would make a decision on whether to renew or cancel the show in the coming weeks. Moira stated that the show’s fate was a “Netflix decision.” Netflix and CBC announced the renewal in August 2018, with CBC noting its confidence “that Canadians will continue to fall in love with this beautiful and heartwarming series for seasons to come.”
Season three finished filming in July 2019 and began airing on CBC in September 2019. On September 19, 2019, Netflix announced that season three would arrive on Netflix on January 3, 2020.
Season three finished its ten-episode run on CBC on November 24, 2019. The next morning, on November 25, 2019, Netflix announced on its Instagram account that the “final season” of ANNE WITH AN E would be released on January 3, 2020.
The “final season” messaging was Netflix’s first statement about the show’s future since it announced the show’s renewal for a third season in August 2018. As noted, Netflix had already announced the show’s January 3, 2020 release date.
This announcement came as a shock to the cast, crew, and fans. In fact, as recently as the previous night, cast members stated that they didn’t yet know if the show would be renewed for a fourth season, but that it wasn’t canceled. Moira and Amybeth McNulty later stated that they were not aware that season three would be the last while filming.
What Do We Know?
Given the timing, we suspect that the cancelation was a Netflix decision that stemmed from its break up with CBC.
Netflix is notoriously data-driven, and CBC notified fans in November 2019 that it doesn’t make renewal decisions until the spring, so the cancelation of ANNE WITH AN E prior to its season three figures on Netflix (which were very good) was surprising, to say the least.
We do know that in October 2019, following several months of debate as to what is considered Canadian content or “Cancon,” and comments from CBC head Catherine Tait likening Netflix’s presence in Canada to “cultural imperialism,” Netflix and CBC ended their co-production agreement. At the time, Moira assured fans that the future of ANNE WITH AN E was not impacted by that breakup.
Ironically, ANNE WITH AN E (and Anne of Green Gables), is as quintessentially Canadian as it gets, and is therefore not subject to the criticism that Netflix’s investment in Cancon resulted in Canadian actors and crews filming essentially American stories.
The Story Is Not Finished
Moira Walley-Beckett envisioned and pitched ANNE WITH AN E as a five-season series. Each season has been bolder and more ambitious than the previous one, each season has resulted in audience growth, and each season has been better than the last!
In their joint statement, Netflix and CBC announced that they hoped that the final season would bring a “satisfying conclusion” to Anne’s journey. While many storylines came to a head in the season three finale, notably, Anne and Gilbert’s relationship, the finale leaves many threads unresolved and ultimately doesn’t work as a series finale (despite being a wonderful season finale). This is unsurprising given that the cast and crew didn’t think it would be the series finale while filming.
The season one and two finales arguably work better as series finales; they resolve most of the major storylines and create a full arc. Season three, however, felt more like a coda or a reset, with Anne and friends stepping out of adolescence into young adulthood.
The series left many plot lines unresolved, including a conclusion to Ka’kwet’s story, who we last saw imprisoned in a residential school in episode nine. Other plotlines such as the girls’ development in college, Bash, Hazel, and Elijah’s new life on the farm together, Diana’s new-found confidence and Jerry’s boarding with the Cuthberts at Green Gables remain unresolved. Notably, the show introduced Lily, a deaf character, in the season three finale with the intent to explore her story in season four.
Our Goals & Bottom Line
We are fighting for ANNE WITH AN E because there is so much more story to tell! Netflix and CBC cut off Moira’s vision at the halfway point. Anne’s journey isn’t over because she found romantic love or kissed a boy.
Obviously, we would love it if Netflix and CBC would renew the show for Moira’s planned final two seasons. Apart from that, we want some form of closure for the show and the characters we’ve become so invested in. The demand supports at least one additional season for ANNE WITH AN E to wrap up its stories.
Alternatively, if Netflix and CBC are unwilling or unable to produce additional seasons, they should release the rights to the show so that another network can continue it. Netflix previously released its rights to One Day at a Time, which recently began airing a new season on PopTV.
Finally, our fandom just wants to be heard. ANNE WITH AN E is a beautiful show that gives thought and care to many perspectives. It deals with complicated and sensitive topics in a nuanced way. It is joyfully optimistic entertainment that people from all walks of life can appreciate.
Unsurprisingly, the critics agree!
Netflix and CBC, or perhaps another interested party, it isn’t too late!
Please, renew ANNE WITH AN E.