I loved Anne of Green Gables. When I found a series other reviewers recommended so highly I jumped at the chance to introduce my children to another of LM Montgomery's worlds. Perhaps I did not read enough of the reviews. As I re-read the reviews I find one that hints at what I wish had been more clear to me before my investment into watching this series. There are some huge themes parents should be aware are in this TV series (1st season).
1) Emily sees ghosts. They call it 'second sight' in the book, but just about every episode has her interacting with ghosts that want her to solve a mystery, to right an injustice or enable them to rest. As a Christian I find this disturbing, and have approached it with my children as 'pretend' or 'like fairies.' The occult is not something kid-friendly, or 'cute'.
2) Real life issues. Emily deals with: death of mother, death of father (death is symbolized by a black horseman crashing through the wall of her house), rejection by her only relations, verbal abuse. She encounters others dealing with premaritial pregnancy, their own illigitimacy, drunkenness, adultery, idolatry, broken engagement due to unfaithfulness, hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness, loose-women, a murderer is hanged in one scene, an American Indian boy is beaten, she is beaten. There are several cases of severe child neglect, emotional trauma, child abandonment, she and her friends try to discover "where babies come from" and get pretty close to finding out.... (to name a few).
One reviewer said the series is 'not for children.' With a sigh I say it has brought some issues about life to my innocent children's minds that they didn't need to know about. Not yet.
But I watch it with my children. And I have been able to explain some things about life to them, as a case-study of sin and deception. It has some light-hearted scenes. But for the most part I would say it is a dark series, where Anne is light and joy.
In Anne of Green Gables, Anne says, "Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
This series is quite the opposite. The message of Emily is, "Isn't life full of sadness and grief? I need to help put these ghosts to rest because humans are just so full of unkindness and broken dreams."
So, if you are willing to put in the time to introduce your children to all the confusing things about life, go for it. If you can help them structure their understanding of the world around these new ideas, watch it.
I am enjoying it myself, from a creative point of view it is an interesting series. But parents beware, there be ghosts ahead!