…That Pride and Prejudice is one of those novels which, once read, will forever have some sort of impression upon the reader. Also, it’s one of those novels that have lasted long enough that if anyone complains of spoilers, you are allowed to smack them over the back of the head. It’s a rule. It’s 200 years old – give or take a few days – people, the spoiler rule does not count anymore. Anyway, we’re not here to talk about Miss Austen’s brilliant little novel about social interaction, and first impressions, and filled with clever, witty characters who make doing nothing seem far more interesting than doing something and where was I going with this again? Oh right. Today we are going to talk about one of the newest adaptations of Miss Austen’s work, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are not only an adaptation but also a modernisation and before you wander off in disgust, take my word for it; it works really ridiculously well. We follow the exploits of Lizzie Bennet, a normal young woman who is studying for her Master’s degree in communications and trying to be her own person at the same time. Problem is, her mother wants to get Lizzie and her two sisters married off, and Lizzie is … less than appreciative of this. So she tells the internet in the format of her video blogs.
Yes, I said video blogs. Yes, it works. Yes, you really should go check it out but I’d much prefer if you wanted until you read the rest of this review first so you can have a rough idea of what to expect. …Okay, I’d rather you read the rest of the review because then it won’t feel like I wasted my time writing it all up for you people, but that’s just me and hey, I possibly am not applying my best judgement at the moment. (Your local friendly neighbourhood Z is sick, people. And yet she writes for you. See her commitment!) [Yes, yes, we’ll get you a medal. -Ed.]
The series is adapted by Bernie Su, and produced in part by Hank Green. Yes, one of the Nerdfighters Brothers is in on this, hear the cheer. For media students, prepare to cheer even more as the series serves as a very good example of post-modern media, and shows how engagement with the viewers has become more of a necessity as well as an entertaining way of engaging with the media of which you are enjoying for the viewer themselves.
The video blogs follow the story of Pride and Prejudice fairly well, with the required spin-offs to get other people’s points of view of the story –TheLydiaBennet‘s channel is always a particularly good watch, especially right now with the constant appearances of one George Wickham. This reviewer finds him to be somewhat creepy in his actions, but is also aware that it is probably the entire point so points to self for picking up on it?
Like with many web series starting to gain their own momentum, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is filled with a very talented cast, all of whom embody their roles perfectly. Lead Ashley Clements is a very engaging Lizzie Bennet, managing to portray a well rounded character within the few short minutes the format of a video blog allows really. That said, she is extremely engaging – and I’m using that word a lot tonight I’ve noticed – and you will occasionally forget this is a story being told. Sometimes, it genuinely does feel like this is just a girl making video blogs about her life. It just so happens her life is being particularly interesting at the moment. Her sisters are equally compelling – the practically perfect Jane, and the ‘adorbz’ that is Lydia. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of this amazing cast and I find myself running out of words to basically say how brilliant
they all are. Ah, for the want of a babel-fish. Or a TARDIS. Actually, a TARDIS would be better.
Basically, my point is this. I am an Austen fan. When I heard about this adaptation I was prepared to hate it because, on paper, it sounds like one of the most terrible ideas I’ve ever heard. However, given a cast and crew that not only understand their source material but comprehend it enough to adapt the story for contemporary times in a way that feels so unique and organic in and of itself, well, it’s a rare thing in anything, let alone web media. It’s being said that the internet is replacing television. I … don’t think that’s entirely true, but I’m fairly certain The Lizzie Bennet Diaries couldn’t have been done anywhere else but online. [Especially given how it’s all spilled out onto Twitter! -Ed.] They’re pretty damn fantastic, and you should go check them out.
I’m giving it 5 out of 5 – and someone will say I’m being too harsh.
Z McAspurren (Seriously though, Darcy is adorbz, Wickham is skeevy)