Recently, Hello Giggles wrote an article highlighting some of the best web series on Youtube: the literary retellings (if you click above, the link will take you there). I admire the article, but in my humble opinion they missed a few. In that spirit I decided to write my own little blurb about some of the best retellings on the interwebs. They’re listed in the order they popped into my head…
1. Jules and Monty. I just finished watching this and the end…oh the end. This is the retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet done by Tufts University students. It’s all student cast (with the exception of Friar Lawrence) and intersperses some of the original dialogue throughout. I found it a little odd, but after the first two episodes it became normal and I became entranced with Jules and Monty’s epic tale. It led me to believe that the story could have a happy ending…Check out the trailer and then go devour the series.
2. Emma Approved. My current favorite web series in on hiatus for the month of May (which means it’s coming back soon because June is almost here!!), but I am totally devoted. This is Pemberley Digital’s retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma. The casting is perfect and I love a lot of the more modernized concepts. If you’re a fan of Austen watch it. If you aren’t, watch it. I think that a lot of people who don’t like Austen will like the retellings. The plot points are essentially the same. The characterization as well, but the language and the way they are communicated are different and reach different audiences. And Austenites, like me. This series is interactive, so if you start watching and like it, make sure you follow all the characters on Twitter and like Knightley Disapproved on Facebook. Here’s the first episode. Watch it; I triple dog dare you.
3. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. This was my first love. Lizzie popped out at me and made me listen, despite my doubts. I couldn’t handle retellings, but I was converted by Lizzie, Jane and Lydia Bennet. And Charlotte too. And most especially by Darcy, because when he showed up in episode 60 I literally SWOONED. This is Pride and Prejudice reborn. I think Austen would be proud. I know I am. There are lots of additions to Lizzie’s story. Lydia does her own vlog when she’s away from Lizzie and there are lots of Twitter happenings as well. They also recently published Lizzie’s diary as a book, which I fully intend on purchasing. Don’t start unless you’re prepared to fall in love. Here, let me help you:
4. The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. This is relatively new and fantastic. It’s Peter Pan, but in Neverland, Ohio with a more adult cast. Peter is a 20-something man boy who leads Michael (the pothead little brother) and avoids John (the “responsible” one). He and Wendy are BFFs and are both starting to realize that maybe it’s something more. It’s not devoid of Tinkerbell or magic either, which I love. This will probably become my favorite very quickly as it stars my favorite actor from any Pemberley Digital project to date. Kyle Walters plays Peter and was Edward Denham in Sanditon this past summer. You can start enjoying this refreshing series right now. Here’s the trailer.
5. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. I am totally invested in this Jane Eyre adaptation. In this version Jane has a nursing degree, but isn’t convinced that her life path is set, so she impetuously agrees to be a nanny and tutor for a brilliant child. You meet Rochester, Adele, Grace Poole and others through her vlog, which she starts because she needs to talk things out. There are a few boring episodes, I will warn you now, but for the most part, it’s brilliant. I love it. Simon (aka St. John) is my favorite. He’s my favorite in the book too.
6. I Didn’t Write This. This isn’t your typical series. These are individual episodes visualizing scenes from books and poems, like Fangirl, Looking for Alaska, and others. They are all written and directed by Yulin Kuang, who is the coolest person. Many of them star my favorite actress, Mary Kate Wiles. I think that this a lovely, original concept and I always look forward to new episodes. This is ideal for people who don’t want to commit to a full book/series. Just get your toes wet and enjoy a beautiful five minute adaptation.
7. A Tell Tale Vlog. This is a series all about Edgar Allen Poe, who is someone everyone wants to know more about. It’s silly and haunting and glorious. It’s got Lenore and ghosts and ravens. There’s also a cupcake and bowties. And I think that’s all I want to say about it. Here.
8. School of Thrones. This is a parody of Game of Thrones. What if it all happened in high school? Prom is coming.
9. Classic Alice. Alice is a college student who is urged by her friend Andrew to live with flair. So she decides to emulate literary characters and do what they do in her own life. Starting with Crime and Punishment may not have been the best idea, but it’s very entertaining. I will warn you that Classic Alice is currently on hiatus. They’re scrounging up funds for a second season, but I loved the few episodes they produced for the first book and I think I’ll like the second one too.
Green Gables Fables. This is a newer show and very…green? It’s an adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, in case you hadn’t guessed. The writing and the acting are amateur, but I keep watching because the actress who plays Anne is so…Anne. I think it will get better as it goes on and I’m excited to see how the project develops.
Kissing in the Rain. The only reason this is an honorable mention is because it isn’t strictly a literary adaptation. It’s a story about multiple literary adaptations though. There is Anne of Green Gables, I Capture the Castle, Persuasion, Edgar Allen Poe and Annabeth, and The Great Gatsby. It was a fan collaborative project and is still happening. It’s basically awesome. Go check it out.