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Classic reads and their literary web series

September 24, 2014

Classic novels that are adapted into 21st century web stories are a great way to experience old favourites or to introduce someone to a story they have not yet read as well as lead their viewers to the original text, making comments or to writing fanfictions and creating fanart. Last year, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries went on to win numerous awards inspired a number of other creators to write and produce their own favourites. Some of these series are from production studios and others are high school and undergrad student productions showcasing how awesome and creative teens can be! Web series highlights that productions are possible on a spectrum of budgets and ultimately, it is great writing that is at the core of all good stories.

  1. Nothing Much To Do is a New Zealand adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Beatrice and Bennedick spar wittily in this high school love story told across a number of personal vlogs and character interactions in the comments section. As a New Zealand production, it is refreshing to hear antipodean accents. Fans are filling Tumblr and and fanfiction sites with Bea and Ben fics while eagerly waiting for youtube updates.

  1. The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy – J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan now takes place in Neverland, Ohio where Wendy is an online counsellor and her best friend Peter works for the Darling family paper and possibly the best ever Michael Darling. There is a hint of “Costume Theatre”, which fans adored in The Lizze Bennet Diaries, and it blends well with the theme of the boy who never grows up and the embracing of adultescence. Irreverent, irresponsible, irrepressible and lots of fun viewing.

  1. A Tell Tale Vlog – This short series of videos on Edgar Allan Poe are fun and dark at the same time. Poe has a ghost and she is not happy. This series has made me revisit much of Poe’s poetry and to read it with a renewed zeal.

  1. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre was compelling and dark and reflecting well on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. And it still had a modern wife locked in the attic! (This was handled so surprisingly well). Though some of the actors in minor roles in this series were a bit awkward on the screen, the leads of Jane and Rochester and young Adele were brilliantly played.

  1. Green Gables Fables – Anne With an E. This series adaptation of L M Montgomery’s much loved Anne of Green Gables is text heavy with most of the action happening in the Twitter world with (for the most part) weekly Youtube episodes and lots of Tumblr story writing. Gilbert on Twitter is heartfully sweet in the way he keeps tweeting to Anne and she keeps ignoring him. And Mandy Harmon’s Anne is deliciously Anne Shirley – just like Megan Follows. Green Gables Fables also stands out in that there is a rare adult character  on camera (over 50, silver-haired, shy Matthew) which gives this webseries a lovely sense of family.

  1. Kate the Cursed is a Canadian production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Kate Minola is a bit of a naysayer but she is also perceptive and outspoken. This series is fun and snarky. Now, toward the end of the series, we are seeing a more relaxed happier Kate and I think all the fans are keen for more scenes between her and James.

 

  1. Frankenstein MD – Victoria Frankenstein is a pre-med student who is pushing the boundaries of medical ethics. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is given new life with Victoria being a tad creepy in this series which is both dramatic and weirdly educational.

  1. Jules and Monty – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a story of broken communication leading to tragedy and in this modern version we see that even in our uber connected society communication breakdown is still possible. Jules and Monty are university students and their two warring fraternities cause friction for the young lovers. I love how the poignancy of this modern retelling and though the awkwardness of the half modern/half Shakespearean English language usage is a bit peculiar, it does not detract from the quality of the story.

 

Vassiliki Veros

 

 

 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2014 2:17 pm

    Reblogged this on Shallowreader's Blog and commented:
    I’m a tad obsessed with web series and I was able to indulge myself in writing about my favourites over at ReadWatchPlay. Do you have any favourites or any suggestions for viewing?

  2. May 20, 2015 4:02 am

    Thought you might enjoy the new webseries “Or So the Story Goes”- each season is a dark modern retelling of a different story from classic children’s literature. This season “Happy Thoughts” bring the characters from “Peter & Wendy” alive in a new dark and fascinating way! 🙂 New episode each Wednesday until the finale June 10th (3 episodes have been posted so far). First episode can be seen here- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy7Fq1GI7mI

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