Sunday, 24 July 2016

Another Way To Enjoy Stories

A while back I was taking a break from films and TV, mostly because all my shows had ended and there was a lull. I took to the internet remembering I had seen adaptations of classic stories plastered all over the internet. Now, seeking something new to watch I delved into the world of web series. I know I'm late this party but I'm glad I turned up.
The first series I was hooked on was an adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. This series seems to have been the stepping stone to other success stories of adapting classic literature into modernised versions which centre around a main character keeping a video diary. Sometimes it works very well, especially in the case of The Lizzie Bennet diaries which is actually award winning had has spawned several spin offs of small characters and a Lydia Bennet diary than was released alongside Lizzie's. The characters even had Twitter accounts with photos and all. A very clever strategy.

Each series starts with 2-3 minutes episodes and sometimes extends to 8-10 minutes episodes which moves the strory along or stays within the boundaries of having an online diary where 'the viewers' cans end in questions for the characters.

As someone who loves twists on classic literature (when its done right) I couldn't resist. As I said I was completely hooked on the Lizzie Bennett Diaries. Transfered to an American setting (as mosto of these series are), Lizzie Bennet, a grad student, decides to set up a video diary online with her friend Charlotte Lu and from there we get to meet her sisters, Jane and Lydia. Many characters are talked about for many episodes before we get to see them as obviously, how do you include certain characters to a video diary. It's done well and I really enjoyed, I even revisit it from time to time. I'm not the only one who loved it, there are Tumblr blogs and Pinterest boards to prove how well loved it is.

Naturally, after TLD I devoured the award winning, Emma Approved, a modernised version of Jane Austen's Emma, which for me, is an easier story to adapt. Emma Woodhouse is a lifestyle coach and event planner and of course a matchmaker. She runs her business with her friend Alex Knightly. All the other characters make an appearence in some way or another and its cleverly worked in. But what makes this show so addictive to watch is the chemistry between Emma and Knightly, they are a brilliant pair. The premise, or the reason why they are all talking to the camera seems a bit too thin at first but after a few episodes it doesn't matter. Also Caroline Lee turns up for a TLD crossover.

After these two series, I went looking for more. I came across some interesting sounding series based on Mansfield Park, Much Ado About Nothing, Frankenstein Little Women but nothing grabbed me. But then, after watching the films on Youtube, I watched Green Gables Fables. I watched both series in a few days and while it wasn't the same quality as the Austen adaptations, I really enjoyed it. Modernising the tale of a red headed orphan who is adopted by a middle aged couple who actually wanted a boy to help round the farm, is not a stretch.

I had seen the trailer for The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy so many times but I waited until all of series 2 was up to watch it all over a few days. I loved how everything fitted together and it all weirdly made sense, including Tinkerbell is serves as camera for most of Peter's parts. Tink is not out of place as she is accepted everyone. The second series lost it's spark a bit even though a group of great actors were added to the cast list. The cameras being in place at Hook's office seems uncomfortable and stays that way. Saying this, there was cliffhanger at the end and I want to know what happens. With the good news a third series is happening, now its just waiting.

There are some lists out there with suggestions of what series are the best, like this one, which is where I picked up GGF but there are lots out there waiting to be discovered or crowd funded. 

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