Since the days when I met an “agoraphobic lobster” and the grad student who hated his guts, I’ve been really into web series that retell or spin-off of literature. Today, I want to recommend a long list of them, as well as talk about a couple that I plan on checking out!
The first of note (that I’ve already referenced because, hey, my love runs deep):
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
It may start slow for you as you come to embrace the Pride & Prejudice characters in their new incarnations, but before you know it, you’ll be “in the middle before [you] knew that [you] had begun.” It becomes one of those pieces of media where you swoon over tiny touches, looks, and glances. MY HEART.
Another Pemberley Digital endeavor, Emma Approved took me a minute to come around on, I’ll be real. Not having read Jane Austen’s Emma, I’m told that a similar effect occurs with the source text– that Emma herself is a very polarizing character. You tend to love her or hate her. I’ll say that I grew to love her. Emma’s flaws are clear, but her goodness and well-meaning intent are as well. PLUS, I didn’t have to wait to love Alex Knightley. I loved him right away. Also, I now need to read the original Emma.
Yes, yes, this is the latest of Pemberley Digital’s offerings to the world– this one a team-up with PBS Digital Studios. First of all, let me tell you that I am woefully behind on this series, so pleeeeease no spoilers. From the first episode of Frankenstein, M.D., I knew that I was going to love it in a different way from Pemberley’s other stuff — from the first episode when we meet Victoria Frankenstein, you get the impression that she is a little too confident, a little too blase when it comes to authority, and I was eager to see what would come from that. Victoria is compelling even without a ‘ship, but based on some hints I’ve seen so far, I’m fairly certain a ‘ship will come.
Bonus factor: If you’re into science, you may learn some interesting medical stuff!
I Didn’t Write This
Not your typical idea of a web series, but this series of shorts by Yulin Kuang is beautifully filmed and ranges from enactments of poetry, to John Green excerpts, to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.
As an aside, you should also check out some of Kuang’s other work, most notably her short film “I Ship It” (heavily recommended especially for those who love wrock and YouTubers). Everything she films is gold.
A Tell Tale Vlog
From the very first instance that Sean Persaud appears on screen as a dry, socially-awkward Edgar Allen Poe filming a vlog, you’ll find yourself wanting to giggle. This is more of Yulin Kuang’s work, this time working with Shipwrecked Comedy.
Kissing in the Rain
Though Kissing in the Rain isn’t exactly a literary web series, you can definitely spot some literary allusions in the work. The series (which is a duology of sorts) centers around two actors who constantly find themselves in scenes together where they’re required to kiss… in the rain. I’ve only watched through to the first couple’s conclusion, but the swoons are real, my friends.
Also, you may have gathered that this is more of Yulin Kuang’s work with Shipwrecked comedy… starring Sean Persaud and Mary Kate Wiles. When I go fangirl, I go fangirl hard.
According to Wikipedia, “Carmilla is a Gothic novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu.” Web series Carmilla is about vampires and takes place in a college dorm room and features girls crushing on girls and spooky times. It is excellent and I have to thank Angel from Mermaid Vision Books for tweeting about it and making me curious enough to check it out– even if I know only what Wikipedia tells me about the source text.
Finally, here are some web series that I haven’t checked out yet, but plan to one of these days!
“When college student Alice receives a bad grade on an essay, she partners with her friend Andrew to film a documentary about living her life according to classic literature.”
The Autobiography of Jane Eyre
“An online modern adaptation of Charlotte Bonte’s Jane Eyre”
Got any other recommendations for me?