5 Literary Inspired Web Series No Bookworm Should MissRachel D.
Hey Swoon Readers!
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for a good
adaption of classic literature (Bridget Jones’ Diary anyone?). That’s
why, when The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a popular YouTube adaption of Pride
and Prejudice, kick-started a whole movement of literary inspired web
series, I was 100% on board. My favorite characters vlogging into a camera?
Romance? Drama? Swordfights? (Well, only that one time.) Count me
What is extra awesome about literary inspired web series is that anyone can make them, regardless of access to money or equipment, and because the creators have total control, many of them are wonderfully diverse with characters of all different genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and abilities. A lot of them also employ transmedia, or telling the story across multiple platforms, including Twitter and Tumblr! So, here are my top five (not counting The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, y’all know that one is gold) literary inspired web series for your viewing pleasure:
Created, written, and directed by The Candle Wasters, a group of four young women (and a token dude) from New Zealand, Nothing Much to Do is a funny, feminist adaption of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Told across four different perspectives, featuring brilliant original songs and some killer Kiwi accents, NMTD is the perfect way to spend an entire weekend. Bonus: There’s a sequel, and the creators did a queer, dystopian retelling of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Call Me Katie was created when the three members of Discordia Productions realized that they all had the same LEAST favorite Shakespeare play: The Taming of the Shrew. So they set out to reimagine the story in a contemporary context and deal with issues like the politics of gender. In CMK (and its sequel, Nothing Like the Sun) there are spot-on depictions of asexuality, bisexuality, gender fluid characters, and a love/hate romance for the ages.
A web series for those of us who are convinced that vampires are still cool (*cough* me), Carmilla has the most obscure source material of all these shows: a Gothic novella from 1972. Laura, a freshman journalism student, is suspicious of her new roommate Carmilla, but the two of them are forced to work together when another student goes missing. The more the two hang out, the more there starts to be feels between them. One of the few genre fiction literary web series, Carmilla is well worth giving up your Sunday afternoon. Bonus: There’s going to be a movie!
Who better to adapt the classic Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables than some Canadians (and a few token Americans)? Mandy Harmon is the true triple threat, playing Anne (an imaginative foster kid longing for a permanent home) while often writing and directing the episodes—and the other creators didn’t meet each other for the entire first season! Oh, the miracle of the internet.
Another Canadian entry in the canon of literary web series, The March Family Letters is an adaption of... you guessed it, Little Women! Except in this version, Marmee is away serving a military tour, leaving her daughters—Jo (an aspiring filmmaker), Amy (a hipster artist), Beth (a shy, anxious musician) and Meg (an engineer with a huge crush on her best friend Joan) to their own devices. With a focus on sibling bonds and the difficult transition into adulthood, TMFL is both true to the source material and refreshingly new. And wait until you see Laurie. *swoon*
Are there any literary inspired web series I missed that you love?