Web Series: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
By Appa the Gypsy
The web series as a narrative format has really taken off in the last couple of years. Youtube has become a great platform for a low budget series looking to build a fanbase and get some exposure. First airing in April of 2012, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is one of my favourite web series. A modern take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (like we don’t have enough of those) the series is a video blog style program in which a modern day Lizzie Bennet shares her very own video diary with the internet, with the help of her best friend Charlotte. At first, the only other characters we meet are Charlotte, and Lizzie’s (only) two sisters, Jane and Lydia, but as the series progresses, we have the chance to meet characters who become pretty long-awaited, such as Bing Lee (Bingley) and his sister, and, of course, Darcy. Finally seeing the latter on-screen after heaps of episodes actually caused the show’s following to jump significantly, which isn’t really that surprising when you think about it.
The series is coming up on its 100th episode, and to celebrate, I figured it was time to tell you guys to GO WATCH THIS SERIES!!
I think they’ve done a fantastic job making this show. The series is high quality, and you barely notice that it is literally a girl talking to a camera for a few minutes, with people walking in on her filming sometimes, in every episode. The adaptation of the novel into the modern day has been interesting, and half the fun lies in wondering how the writers will make this event or this person fit into the modern day story. As soon as you find out about where Kitty and Anne DeBourgh fit into the story, you know they’re just going to keep nailing it.
Lizzie’s delivery of the vlogs is really interesting too. She makes use of costume theatre, often forcing Charlotte, her sisters, and, at one point, Darcy, to act scenes from her life out according to a script she’s written. This is so entertaining, particularly since the people participating rarely get the performance quite right.
Another aspect of the show that I’ve found really interesting is the way they’ve adapted Lydia’s character in particular. Usually Lydia comes across as a ditsy character who cares only about having fun and makes some stupid choices which later ruin her life. The Lydia in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is, for lack of a better term, darker. And she’s real. So many adaptations, and even the book itself, they skim over who Lydia is and why she is the way she is. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does not. The sisters are just as important as Lizzie is, and they have lives and grow just as much as she does over the course of the show, and that is wonderfully refreshing, and it adds depth to the story.
Possibly even more fascinating than the show (although maybe only from the perspective of someone interested in marketing) is how the series has made use of various different social media platforms. Not only can you follow the actors on Twitter, but you can also follow the characters. This means that you can see aspects of their lives happening through social media in between episodes, down to the smallest detail, such as the moment when Bing and Jane start following each other on Twitter. Adorable.
There are also spin off web series to go with Lizzie’s vlogs. You can watch Charlotte’s adventures when she leaves Lizzie behind through her younger sister Maria’s video blogs, and you can also look into the life of Gigi (Georgiana) Darcy in her vlog for her brother’s company.
Longest of the spin offs, although only just over 30 short episodes long, is Lydia’s diaries, titled TheLydiaBennet, and, if you’re only going to watch one of the spin offs, I’m advising you to watch hers. Not only because you’ll rarely see Mary (their cousin) or Wickham if you don’t, but you also won’t understand what causes Lydia to end up with Wickham or why she does a lot of what she does. It’s worth it. Her blogs add depth to the story by showing you that every character in this story has opinions and feelings and their own life, not just Lizzie, and that’s really important.
All in all, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has become an impressive phenomenon, and the makers have done an amazing job. Clever and refreshingly different, you’ll find yourself watching episode after episode after episode, mostly because you just really want to know what’s going to happen with Lizzie and Darcy. I mean, we can all guess that they’ll probably end up together, right? Or will they? They might decide to change things up just to shock us! Oh, gosh! I can’t stand it. Why won’t they make the episodes faster!!!
Yeah… Go watch it. Right now, if you like.