In early 1995, the Ottawa Citizen was predicting that Road to Avonlea would end at the end of the sixth season. The reason, in part, was due to one glaring fact: Sarah Polley was leaving the show as a regular cast member (Polley would reappear as a special guest star in the sixth seasons' episode 'Comings and Goings').
This was not the first time there were rumblings to end the series. As previously reported, Kevin Sullivan and Trudy Grant seriously considered ending the series with the conclusion of Season 3.
Despite tremendous ratings, the publication believed it was time to close the doors and end the popular series gracefully.
Last year, Road To Avonlea averaged about 1.5 million viewers for every second of every night it was on, making it easily the highest-rated Canadian drama of the year and consistently in the Top 10 overall.
And yet you can't help but have a sense of the inevitable, even as the CBC series begins its sixth season Sunday at 7 p.m. with two episodes. Road To Avonlea is winding to a dead end. It's cobblestones are numbered.
This sixth season would seem an opportune time for producer Kevin Sullivan to bid farewell to the series. First, it is the last season in which its original star will make an appearance. Sara Polley, Avonlea's angel-haired Sarah Stanley, will star in one final episode this season. She was in only four episodes last year, which ended with her leaving Avonlea...
...Polley, 15, has never taken acting seriously as a full-time career. Rather, she is taken with literature and, especially, politics. Her outspoken views during the Mulroney era sometimes landed her in trouble with the program's publicity department.1
It was also believed that Sullivan was ready to branch out and leave the Montgomery work behind. Sullivan was fresh off the success of Butterbox Babies, a TV movie about a depression era maternity home in Novia Scotia.
However, Sullivan has never entirely abandoned his association with LM Montgomery.
For years, Road to Avonlea fans have clammored for a sequel or reunion to the series Road to Avonlea, following 1998's Happy Christmas Miss King. Despite fan support and multiple Avonlea conventions, Sullivan did not commit to another reunion.
A reference buried in an Ottawa Citizen article however, suggests that Sullivan was considering an Avonlea follow-up as early as the sixth season!
This mysterious sequel was called "The Blythes of Ingleside!"
Sullivan has a fact-based movie-of-the-week in development with ABC, and a mini-series in development with CBS. And he's already considering a sequel to Road To Avonlea, a series called The Blythes of Ingleside. In other words, he has other fish to fry.1
This title is surprising, considering that Anne doesn't appear in Road to Avonlea and Gilbert Blythe only makes one appearance in the third season final "Old Friends, Old Wounds."
Perhaps the article was eluding to a "spin-off" of the Anne series, rather than a "sequel" to Road to Avonlea.
It's likely the series would be centered around Anne and Gilbert's family and the King family, if they were included, would be supporting characters (Although it's hard to see Hetty King resigning herself to a supporting character for long!). If this series followed the Montgomery books, the time frame would occur when Anne is much older and a mother of six children.
Unfortunately, the series was never mentioned again and there has been no Avonlea reunion since December 1998.
1Road to Avonlea may take final exit; TONY ATHERTON. The Ottawa Citizen. Ottawa, Ont.: Jan 14, 1995. pg. D.6