Anne with an E – explaining its cancellation

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Digital Spy

Fans of Canadian series Anne with an E, which is based on childhood classic Anne of Green Gables, were crushed when the show was cancelled last year.

It was announced on November 25 that season three, which has now wrapped up, was to be its last.

"We've been thrilled to bring the quintessentially Canadian story of Anne With an E to viewers around the world," said CBC and Netflix in a joint statement.

"We're thankful to producers Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier and to the talented cast and crew for their incredible work in sharing Anne's story with a new generation.

"We hope fans of the show love this final season as much as we do, and that it brings a satisfying conclusion to Anne's journey."

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Walley-Beckett, the show's creator, was understandably gutted and shared her disappointment on social media.

"I wish it could be different but it cannot," she wrote on Instagram. "We have reached the end of the red Green Gables road after three wonderful seasons."

Chatting to Entertainment Weekly, she did say that she'd "love to write an AWAE finale feature film", and it's not out of the question for other networks to pick up cancelled shows, as Netflix did with Designated Survivor and Lucifer, and Pop TV did with One Day at a Time.

But towards the end of 2019, it became clear that wasn't going to happen.

In another Instagram post, which featured artwork from fans calling for the show to be renewed, Walley-Beckett said that she "fought" to bring the series back, adding: "We tried to change their minds. We tried to find a new home. We tried for a finale movie...We tried our best."

View this post on Instagram

I love you so much for trying so hard and fighting a fierce fight with your big hearts and beautiful souls. You are a force of nature. Look at this amazing artwork inspired by love for ANNE WITH AN E!! I mean, I am amazed and so grateful. I have been moved to tears so many times in the last few weeks... so many, many tears. This is my child. I birthed her, I helped her grow, I cherish and adore her. AnnE means everything to me 🧡 Please know that we fought, too. We tried to change their minds. We tried to find a new home. We tried for a finale movie... We tried our best. “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.” LM Montgomery said that. Either way, we tried 🧡 Art and Commerce is never an easy marriage. I often find it inexplicable. This is one of those times. But it’s impossible to argue with words like Economics, Algorithms, Demographics, etc., etc. But those words and others like them are the reason why the Networks don’t want to continue. And we didn’t find a taker anywhere else 🧡 I know you’re upset and disappointed, sad and angry — I completely understand — because our beloved AnnE has been snatched away. If there was something more to do I would do it 🧡 So now you know what I know. I guess this is a tragical romance after all. But then again love is love is love is love is love. And love is not lost when it is nurtured. We will always love our Anne with an E. We will always love Green Gables with our whole hearts and everything it stands for. They can’t take that away from us 🧡 I love you so much. Thank you for fighting and loving my AnnE as much as I do 🧡 Artwork by @emeriart and @luztapiaart #annewithane #awae #family #kindredspirits #foreverandaday 🦉🧡

A post shared by Moira Walley-Beckett (@moirawalleybeckett) on Dec 6, 2019 at 4:07pm PST

You don't have to look far to see that the Anne faithful are still deeply unhappy about the cancellation.

Whenever the Netflix UK or US social accounts post anything, you'll often find a #RenewAWAE or 'ANNOUNCE ANNE WITH AN E S4' in their mentions.

There's undoubtedly still an appetite from lots of people, which begs the questions: why won't there be a fourth chapter?

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

In that same Instagram post, Walley-Becket shed some light on what had unfolded behind the scenes.

"Art and Commerce is never an easy marriage," she wrote.

"I often find it inexplicable. This is one of those times. But it's impossible to argue with words like Economics, Algorithms, Demographics, etc, etc. But those words and others like them are the reason why the Networks don't want to continue."

Neither Netflix nor CBC went into detail about why Anne with an E had been banished to the TV graveyard, but the relationship between the two had become somewhat uneasy.

On a panel in January last year, Catherine Tait, the Canadian broadcaster's president and CEO, equated Netflix's presence in Canada with "imperialism".

"I was thinking about the British Empire, and how if you were there and you were the Viceroy of India, you would feel that you were doing only good for the people of India," she said.

"If you were in French Africa, you would think, 'I'm educating them, I'm bringing their resources to the world and I am helping them.'

"Fast forward to what happens after imperialism and the damage that can do to local communities. So all I would say is, let us be mindful of how it is we as Canadians respond to global companies coming into our country."

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

Stéphane Cardin, Netflix's director of public policy for Canada, responded by highlighting the benefits of Netflix's role in the country's TV and movie industry.

"We're not here [in Canada] to chase a low dollar. We're here because of the quality of the creators, the infrastructure and the crews," he said.

"We think we too can provide an opportunity for Canadians to make stories in English and French that can get to the world like they never could before. We're complementary. We're not here to diminish or do it any harm."

In October that same year, it was clear that Tait still had issues and concerns, hinting that the relationship between the two was still rocky.

"We're not going to do deals that hurt the long-term viability of our domestic industry," she said on the Content Canada podcast (via Financial Post).

"A number of countries have done deals, as we did, with Netflix...and over time we start to see that we're feeding the growth of Netflix, or we're feeding the growth of Amazon, rather than feeding our own domestic business and industry."

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

She went on to emphasise the importance of safeguarding "Canadian creators' health and well-being in this market", before doubling down on her previous comments: "The idea that we are dealing with an empire that could in some ways compromise our own true cultural sovereignty? I do not stand down on those remarks.

"I think what you're going to start to see… is that we believe that anybody profiting from the Canadian system should contribute to the system."

It should be noted that Canadian broadcasters must contribute five percent of their gross revenue to the Canada Media Fund. But that rule is not enforced for the likes of Netflix and Amazon, who may wish to, but certainly don't have to, according to the Financial Post.

Digital Spy reached out to Netflix for comment, but didn't hear anything.

Photo credit: CBC/Netflix
Photo credit: CBC/Netflix

Popular CBC shows Schitt's Creek, Kim's Convenience Store and Workin' Moms all live on the platform, with their most recent seasons on there.

But Schitt's Creek has wrapped up for good, and while KCS and WM have both been renewed for future episodes, it's currently unclear whether we'll see them on Netflix in future.

The streaming giant takes care to keep the curtains firmly drawn on the inner workings on its business, but Tait's choice words thrust Netflix into a uncomfortable spotlight.

If future seasons of those CBC shows aren't made available to its subscribers, that will go some way to shedding light on Anne with an E's cancellation.

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