The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – a modern take on Pride and Prejudice

If you are a fan of Ms Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, or you like modern takes on old classics, then The Lizzie Bennet Diaries might be perfect for you. While it is not a TV show I still wanted to give it a shout out.

I recently discovered this creative and entertaining web series. How did I find it you may ask? I was exploring Kickstarter and came across a project titled ‘The Lizzie Bennet Diaries DVD…and More!’. I was intrigued. Being a huge fan of Ms Austin and P&P I decided to search for it on YouTube and take a look. The episodes are each around 5 minutes long and are done with little more than a couple of location changes and minimal props. Its main success comes down to the talented, endearing cast and the witty writing.

It is therefore no surprise that Ashley Clements caught my attention straight away as the independent and outspoken heroine, Lizzie Bennet (Elizabeth Bennet in the book). She is a wonderful modern Lizzie and has the right combination of forth-righteousness, self depreciation and enthusiasm. Julia Cho as Charlotte Lu (Charlotte Lucas in the book) is a dry and witty grounding force, balancing Lizzie’s tendency to overdramatise.  I thought it was a brilliant move to make Charlotte (Elizabeth’s best friend in the book) her camera person and editor. The friendship between the two of them comes across as heartfelt and meaningful. Two last mentions must go to Laura Spencer and Mary Kate Wiles who play Lizzie’s sisters Jane and Lydia Bennett. Laura plays Jane with sincere sweetness which never comes across as contrived. Lydia’s transformation and depth is a credit to Mary Kate. And the guys? Well, they more than hold their own…and I will let you discover that for yourself.

While the plot is obviously not a surprise it was interesting to watch how the timeless story has been adapted through the medium of a video blog and how the challenges and issues have been tailored to modern scenarios.  At times it was a little intense for me but then again I devoured 100 episodes in less than a week.

Luckily for me the Kickstarter project is looking at creating another web series based on one of Ms Austin’s unfinished novels Welcome to Sanditon which will star Gigi Darcy (Georgiana Darcy in the book). I will definitely keep my eyes open for this one. The appeal of such web series for me is that the episodes are short and can therefore be consumed easily within my day. More than that, though, in this modern era of social media I feel as though I am fully involved; not only by watching but also keeping up to date on additional on-goings (in my case through Twitter). I can connect with the creators and actors as well as with other fans.

In the meantime – and case in point – there is much to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries that I have yet to explore, such as Lydia’s video blog and Lizzie’s Q&A sessions. Now that this post is complete I will be able to enjoy the juicy extras at a more relaxed pace….

If your interest has been sparked why not check out the first episode…

Are there any web series that have caught your imagination? How are your expectations of them different to the TV shows you watch?

Stay tuned for my next posts ‘The Walking Dead, please ignore the zombies to your right…’ and ‘The Good Wife, why after 4 seasons I am loving it more than ever…’

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