Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Why You Should Watch Literary Inspired Web Series

A few years ago, I discovered something called Literary Inspired Web Series.The birth of the genre started with a web series adaptation of Pride and Prejudice by Hank Green called the Lizzie Bennett Diaries (LBD). It brings the classic into the modern day by having the main characters be video bloggers on YouTube. It wasn't a new idea to do web series like this, but I'm pretty sure it was the first time it was attempted as an adaptation of a classic book.

Anyway, the LBD sparked a whole host of young, for the most part female, filmmakers and creators to think, hey, we could do something like this, and the Literary-Inspired Web series (LIWs as people like to say) genre was born.

I think this genre of content is really cool, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's given a platform to a lot of young female creators to create content and receive recognition. The creators of Nothing Much To Do have now made three series and are working on two more, and have received $100,000 in funding from NZ On Air twice, for two different series. And that's just one group of web series creators!

Also, ever since LBD casted Charlotte and Bingley from Pride and Prejudice as Asian, it has set up a precedent for diversity in other literary web series. In most LIWs the characters are usually more diverse than the original, either in race, gender or sexual orientation.

My favourite thing about LIWs however is that it introduced me to classics that I'd never read before, and helped me fall in love with them. I read Pride and Prejudice once, but I didn't really get into it. After watching LBD, and other modernized adaptations, I could really appreciate the themes and brilliance of the original classics a lot more. I've watched a bunch of Austen adaptations, and all of them made me appreciate just how amazing and feminist Jane Austen is.

So if I've made you at all interested, here are some of my favourite web series adaptations of literary classics:

1. The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, the series that started it all!

2. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, adaptation of Jane Eyre by a group of female creators from Canada! You can't help but fall in love with Jane in this series.

3. Nothing Much To Do is an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing by a group of young female creators from New Zealand. The acting is seamless, and the writing and adaptations are great. I also love their sequel to this series, Lovely Little Losers.

4. The Misselthwaite Archives is an adaptation of The Secret Garden, which is absolutely beautiful.

5. Twelfth Grade or Whatever is an adaptation of Twelfth Night by some very young creators, and it is hilarious and super sweet. It's much smaller scale than most of the other series, but it still has great writing, acting, and story adaptations.

6. From Mansfield With Love is an adaptation of Mansfield Park. I think the best part about it is the main character.

7.  And not really a direct adaptation but a fun literary web series anyway, Edgar Allan Poe's Murder Mystery Dinner Party (or, Poe Party), which is about a bunch of authors coming to dinner at Edgar Allan Poe's house, and then MURDER happens. It's absolutely hilarious, and I'm sure if you've studied literature a lot, you'll get a lot more of the references and jokes than I did.

Happy watching!

(Also, for someone who says all this much better than me, check out this video!)

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