Friday, March 20, 2015

5 Webseries You Should Watch

I started getting rather ridiculously excited about this topic, especially considering I am so glad to be back to bookish musings after about fifteen months of missing-in-action-ness. Strangely enough, just as it was a literature course (or courses, since I took Eng 104, Eng 204, and Eng 205 all in the same year) that drove me away from reading and blogging about fiction, it was a literature course (or mythology course -- Eng 250) that brought me back. I recalled my love for analyzing and critiquing novels and, with a few drops of film and television spattered throughout, I have full plans for writing deeply personal feelings on the books I read and the shows I watch in the coming year. But let's get right to it, shall we? 

Note: These are in no particular order. It'd be too hard for me to put them in order of favoritism ;)

#1: Emma Approved

Pemberley Digital, renowned for the creation of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, returned with its third literature-to-web-series adaptation with yet another Austen novel: Emma. In this series, Emma Woodhouse is an enterprising love and lifestyle coach determined on documenting her life in order to receive an award in lifestyle excellence. At first, I admit, I was not taken with the many winks and irritating mannerisms Joanna Sotomura used in the role, but as the series progressed, I think the actress became more comfortable and Emma simultaneously became less annoying. Another plus to this series is that while it has all the ingenuity of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (it least in my opinion), it forsakes the sexual references and profanity, except in a very few cases.

#2: In Earnest

Unlike Emma Approved, In Earnest, created by Severe Chill Studios, is not a high-budget project. That doesn't diminish the genius of this series, however, which gifts Oscar Wilde's original hilarious cast with 3D aspects, transforming them from “two-dimensional, vapid, horrible” to highly personalized and played by a talented cast (Taryn Cole). John Laurie, who plays Algernon, amazed and hilarified me with his extroverted bad-boy characterization of Wilde's sardonic man -- and instantly won my heart as possibly the best Algernon I'd ever seen or heard in the role (though it's a given I've only seen three different men play that part, and one was my Eng 205 classmate). Andy Hickly, Jack Worthing's actor, and Abby Cliff and Emily Tharnish, who respectively play Cecily and Gwendolen, I approved of less, but the series is still well worth watching and adds different dimensions to the play.

#3: Green Gables Fables

Another low-budget series, Green Gables Fables is also one that took a while for me to warm up to (I'm noticing a trend -- the series I dislike at first I tend to love later on). I just wasn't sure about Mandy Harmon as Anne, even though, in all logic, she does play her to perfection. Having watched the first season though (and eagerly awaiting the second!) I can easily recommend this for many reasons -- sure, the cinematography isn't always great and sometimes I feel like the videos are “filler” material -- but the transmedia is without a doubt the best I've ever seen from a webseries, Anne's metamorphosis is subtle and realistic and genius, and Gilbert -- oh, Gilbert. You might not like him at first, but you will love him later.

#4: The Autobiography of Jane Eyre

The only one of the five featured here that I haven't finished or anticipate finishing. This one is absolutely my least favorite of these five, but it's still an excellent adaptation of the novel (which, conversely, is one of my favorite classics ever written) and mostly free, that I can remember, of profanity, sexual references, gay references, and innuendos. At least as far as I can remember. Please don't quote me on that or blame me if you start watching it and find there are a lot more than I led you to think. Mr. Rochester's pretty cool too, in case you were wondering, and it's often done in vlog-style, so we're not just sitting filming in a room (like in 100% of Emma Approved, most of In Earnest, and most of Green Gables Fables), but rather on a literal journey with these characters. And that's nice.

#5: Marianne and Elinor Take Barton

Here is the only one of these five that hasn't been finished yet, though I'm pretty sure the end is within the next five to ten episodes. It's a relatively short adaptation in comparison to what Pemberley Digital would have done with it, but I like that -- there's less waiting involved! ;) All of these actors are beautiful and brilliant -- I love “Colonel” Brandon (who's actually Brandon Palmer working for his Ph.D. in English) and Edward Ferrars so much and feel they were both cast perfectly. So were Marianne and Elinor of course! The only leading man I'm disappointed in is Will (Willoughby) -- he wasn't handsome enough to me to be such a character, who's supposed to be simultaneously charming and gorgeous and a heartthrob in general. This is one of the less clean web series I've taken to of late, but it's still nothing like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries or other Pemberley Digital remakes, and I'm not too concerned with what I've heard in it. Oh, and by the way . . . the entire cast is British, and listening to their awesome accents is about 60% of the fun :) Well, okay, half of it.


  1. Really liked Emma Approved, though I'm not overly attached to any of the other web series that are on right now. Not really a fan of In Earnest to be honest (though I adore the story) and I don't much care for the Little Women adaptation. I'll have to check into Anne of Green Gables yet. :) Oh, and I think I was watching a different Sense and Sensibility adaptation; I'll have to look into this one. Must say, LBD is still my favorite.

    Funny you wrote about this as I have something similar started too - it's always fun to read everyone's thoughts. :)

    1. Hmm; that's interesting that you say that. I have mixed feelings about In Earnest. At the start I was quite impressed by John Laurie's adaptation of Algernon (I wasn't, as I said, too taken with the other performances) -- then as the webseries went on I started to like him less, perhaps because they didn't include as much humor in the last 25ish installments.

      I think there is another Sense and Sensibility webseries out there -- I'll probably have to look that one up on my free time! This one, though, is excellent and looks like it won't run in the range of more than 35 episodes (they seem like they're lengthening it at the moment . . . I'm not really sure why they would choose to do that at this point), so it won't take long to catch up on.

      How cool! I'll look forward to reading yours :) I always love hearing from you!


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