With all the Season Finales coming at me fast and furiously and my DVR piling up with episode after episode of Billions, Guerrilla, and Legion, I took a break to binge a new Netflix series that you should watch and as for the rest, it will come as soon as I can get to it!
Anne with an E – Netflix
I read all the Anne of Green Gables books as well as seeing the brilliant 1985 PBS series with Megan Fellows rather late in life. It is difficult for me to believe that any remake of this remarkable children’s story could top what is already out there so I went into Netflix’s new “Anne with an E” with some skepticism. The new Netflix version which dropped its first season this past Friday is a much darker rendition of the orphan girl who settles with a new family on Prince Edward Island.
Netflix’s “Anne” played almost perfectly by Amybeth McNulty hides many scars from her past as she navigates her new environment. This adds a richness to her character that was missing in the simpler versions of her story as she struggles with acceptance in a family, and a community that initially doesn’t accept her. McNulty successfully captures the upbeat personality of a child that has survived using her vivid imagination as well as books to take her out of the world that has treated her so cruelly.
There are changes to the original in this version of Anne including a love interest for Mathew, a much nicer best friend for Marilla, the premature death of Gilbert Blythe’s father and two thugs who are going to move in to Green Gables at the end of Season 1. However, we still have the broach incident, the dress with the puffed sleeves and the saving of Diana Barry’s young sister to keep us linked to the original. I enjoyed this version of “Anne with an E” despite the writers adding additional drama and darkness to make the story more reflective of what current TV audiences look for. This drop has only 7 episodes and given the positive critical reception, I expect there will be many more seasons. Lovers of this charismatic young red headed girl should check it out as well as those who have never experience this classic.
Riverdale – CW
Speaking of red hair, there is an abundance of it in Riverdale. I got through this spring’s new take on the Archie comic books and it was quite good. I’m not sure that I’ll return to it in the fall as a show about a bunch of beautiful teenage sleuths is not generally my thing but that is not to say the show isn’t well written and acted. Riverdale, like “Anne with an E” is a much darker version of the comic books we loved as kids. The town has become a home to gangs, murderers and drug traffickers and there are even a couple of gays in this more modern version. The season’s plot revolved around the murder of a star athlete Jason Blossom who was the boyfriend of Betty’s sister and son of the wealthiest person in Riverdale. His twin sister is, of course, captain of the cheerleading squad and out to find her brother’s murderer. Betty, Veronica (who is now a good person) and Jughead (a more complex nerd) try to solve the murder as well.
The finale has several big cliffhangers with the shooting of Archie’s father; Jugheads apparent assimilation into a criminal gang; his father’s continued incarceration for Jason’s murder although he is innocent and Veronica’s criminal father about to be released from jail. Note: he will be played next season by Mark Consuelos (Kelly Rippa’s husband) now that Pitch has been cancelled. Meanwhile Jason’s sister burns down their family estate and Betty’s sister is pregnant with Jason’s baby. Well, maybe I will turn back in to see what happens next season!
The Catch – ABC
This was not supposed to be a Series Finale but The Catch was cancelled the day before the final episode aired. Thus, it is left to our imaginations as to what will happen to Ben and Alice and whether they will ever be reunited. The 2-part season finale was probably the best show in the series and Shonda at her finest. It wrapped up the season-long arc that identified Rhys as the criminal mastermind “Mockingbird” rather than the easy going reformed thief that the audience believed him to be throughout the season.
The Catch struggled to find its niche in Shondaland and retooled this season to make it more of a Rom Com than a hardcore PI/Cop show and it worked for me. The acting was always great with Peter Krause, Mireille Enos, Sonya Walger and John Simon. This year we got more Gina Torres and the introduction of Philippa Coulthard as the long-lost daughter of Ben and Margo. I could watch these actors all day no matter how ridiculous the plot is and I did. So, the show fades into the sunset but I had some fun with it before it did. It won’t be one I’ll miss terribly but it wasn’t bad and I look forward to seeing Krause and Enos in something new.