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How to Lose Time On Weekends (or, Literary Vlogs and Me)

July 1, 2015

I’ve gotten sucked back into a guilty pleasure lately. It keeps distracting me from things I’m supposed to be doing. But it’s so fun, and lit-geeky, and interesting! I can’t help myself!

So there’s this thing people are doing on Youtube called webseries, which are basically a low-budget amateur TV shows filmed in 4-10 minute episodes. I can’t speak to the whole of the genre, because I haven’t gone exploring outside of the niche of it I’m in, but I know there are realistic dramas and TV show spinoffs, among other things.

Then there’s my guilty pleasure niche, the literary webseries, which is equal parts inspired by famous works of fiction and the vlog, which is this whole other Youtube Thing. (Basically, it’s people talking to a camera about their life for 4 or so minutes every week. The word is a contraction of video blog.) A literary webseries, then, is a retelling and modernization of famous novels where the main character(s) talk to the camera once or twice a week.

I admit, part of why I’m enjoying these shows is seeing how the writers get the camera into the characters’ hands in the first place—film student, letters home, generally nerdy person, what have you. Of course, I mostly like these webseries for the retelling aspect, because remixes are my jam.

In case you hadn’t guessed, I am really, really, really nerdy.

Anyway, since I recently got linked to a master list of these series and discovered a couple new ones I’m now following, I thought I’d share the love a bit. I’m only going to be linking to my favourites, but most of the shows on the list are pretty well done—just not for me.

Let’s start with the show that started it the craze: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I’m pretty sure it kicked off the trend, but it was definitely my introduction. It stars Lizzie Bennet, grad student; her two sisters; the med student down the road; and his jerky friend William Darcy.

The same creative team has done Emma Approved, also based on a Jane Austen novel. Emma is a life coach who gives advice to everyone but has trouble taking it herself.

Let’s stick with Austen for a bit. The list I mentioned led to me to From Mansfield with Love, the story of an awkward hotel maid and her … friendship? with a son of the hotel manager. I’m not far in, and I haven’t read the book, but it’s next on my Austen list, for sure. (Please don’t spoil me?)

I’ve also discovered Northbound, based on Northanger Abbey which you might remember I read earlier this year. It’s only just started, but I must say, Catherine Morland, prospective freshman new to New York City, is completely adorable.

There’s also The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. Peter’s a man-child. Wendy is a driven journalist. I like what they do with the camera in this one: half the time, it’s “Tinkerbell”.

The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, about a young woman who signs on as a live-in nanny in a large house near Vancouver. I had lots of fun playing “spot the location” on this one.

Green Gables Fables, which has made me fall in love with Anne Shirley all over again:

The March Family Letters, which is very good and that’s about all I can say about it. My familiarity with Little Women is years old.

And finally Jules and Monty, which I’ve only seen the first episode of so far. It seems to be about Romeo “Monty” Montague and Juliet “Jules” Capulet, members of a rival frat and sorority. Looking forward to watching more!

You see why I have a problem, right? At least most of these I’m either up to date on or finished, and the episodes are generally not too long. I’m trying to limit myself to one or two episodes a day, and also alternating between, “I could do one of these for my characters as promotion” and “I really should not adapt some of my favourite books to this format”. Considering I have to finish a novel and see it to publication before I can safely do either of those things, I think I’m okay.

I hope.

But it would be a fun format to play with.

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