‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ Jane Austen’s celebrated novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ recently celebrated its 200th anniversary. Whether you are a long time fan of the book, love any of the film and television adaptions, or know nothing about it other than that there’s a guy called Darcy, something you should definitely check out is The Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modernised adaption of the well loved book, which tells the story through video blogs and social media. Begun last year by popular YouTuber, and younger half of the Vlogbrothers, Hank Green, the series has now reached 88 episodes, with new ones posted every Monday and Thursday. Each episode is usually about two – five minutes long.
While staying quite true to the book, the series takes several steps to bring the story into the modern world. Lizzie Bennet (played by Ashley Clements) is a 24 year old Mass Communications graduate student, who decides to start video blogging her life with the help of her best friend Charlotte Lu. We are soon introduced to her two sisters – the older, kind and thoughtful Jane, and Lizzie’s boy crazy, party loving younger sister, Lydia. Things get interesting when wealthy medical student Bing Lee arrives in town with his best friend William Darcy, whom Lizzie takes an instant disliking to. Lizzie often recounts events in her vlog via ‘costume theatre’, getting her sisters and Charlotte to dress up as other characters and re-enact their encounters.
The web series breathes new life into a book that has been adapted many times already. Through Lydia’s spin-off vlog, for example, we are able to see a new side to the character. Mary Kate Wiles, who plays Lydia Bennet, gives the character new depth as she struggles with the fact that her sisters only see her as an out of control party girl. Several other characters also have their own spin-off video blogs, and the characters all have their own twitter handles, where they interact with each other as the story unfolds.
The series is well acted, funny, and smart. It also doesn’t hurt that every member of the cast is ridiculously attractive. You’ll soon find yourself completely invested in watching Lizzie warm to Darcy (You wont get a glimpse of him until Episode 59, but trust me, it’s worth the wait) and the lives of her sisters. Whether you already love P&P, or you’ve never experienced the lessons it can teach us about not holding people to our first impressions of them, head on over to YouTube and begin your Lizzie Bennet Diaries experience.