Saturday, 26 January 2013

A truth universally acknowledged

For my first 'week 3' post, I wanted to start the year off with a recommendation for a site I've been hooked on for some months now. I doubt that there are many people reading this blog who are unfamiliar with Jane Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice', and anyone who knows me will know it's an all-time favourite novel of mine. There are at least two times in each year when I will make a point of sitting down and watching the full five-something hours of the 1995 BBC adaptation of the classic story, and I've read and listened to the book too many times to count.

So, it will come as no surprise that any new adaptation of the tale of the Bennet sisters' various forays into romantic liaisons is inevitably met with joy and excitement. However, if the new adaptation is not simply just a different cast with better effects or a bigger budget, but rather a total overhaul of the medium through which the tale is told, and that medium is now a combination of YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr...?! You haven't just got me joyful, you've got me ecstatic.

This is exactly what Hank Green and Bernie Su have done with 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries'. Lizzie is now a post-graduate media student, presenting her life as a video diary as part of her college assignments. She has two sisters; her older sister Jane, a fashion buyer; and her younger sister Lydia, still at college (university, UK friends). Mary Bennet appears in the spin-off videos by Lydia, as a Bennet cousin, and Kitty Bennet is now Lydia's cat.

Charlotte (Lu) is still Lizzie's best friend, also a media student, and pragmatically ambitious in her career rather than her marital aspirations. She helps Lizzie with editing the videos, and sometimes ventures on to the other side of the camera, too. You do not meet Mr. or Mrs. Bennet, but this is overcome by the role-plays Lizzie and her sisters do via quirky scripts and accessorised costume drama. These allow for filling in character or story gaps when it wouldn't make sense to have certain characters on screen in Lizzie's personal v-logs.

L-R, T-B: Lizzie; Jane; Fitz; Charlotte; Lydia, Bing;
Wickham; Caroline; Mr. Collins; Darcy
Mr. Darcy, Bing Lee (Mr. Bingley), Caroline, Georgiana, Mr. Collins, (Colonel) Fitzwilliam, and Wickham are all characters seen on screen regularly too, although later on in the story compared to the original. Again, this fits the media through which the narrative unfolds: it would not be realistic to have these (initially) relative strangers participate in a video recording. Pemberley is no longer a grandiose mansion in Derbyshire, but a thriving digital media company owned by, you guessed it, the Darcy family. The problems faced by the Bennets are still financial, but focus more on student loans and depreciating property values.

I don't want to spoil too many of the excellent and thoughtful twists in the tale that both modernise and deepen the story and characters, so I shall leave my recommendation there and simply link to the videos, and all the other social media accounts that help to make up the story, below. The fact that you can watch new videos every week, follow the characters on Twitter, and see their Facebook updates makes you feel like you are part of the story, watching it develop, waiting to see what happens next. That the directors and actors have managed to create this feeling, this involvement, is hugely to their credit, given that most people already know how the tale ends. While nothing will ever push my beloved BBC miniseries off its pedestal, this incredibly creative version breathes new life into one of my most cherished love stories, and I'm hopelessly, happily addicted to it.

If you need answers about how the LBD work, there is an FAQ which covers a lot of the practical queries, and the characters also do Q&A videos in the midst of the more scripted episodes, which also help to flesh everything out. We're currently up to the point where Lizzie and Georgiana are becoming friends, and Lizzie is starting to see the good in Darcy. Lydia's already "run off" with Wickham and she's telling Jane that they are together over this weekend. So, all hell is about to break loose!

Below is the first video from the webseries. What are you waiting for?! An internet geek in possession of a modem must be in want of a new obsession...

The Main Site
Whole story in order across all platforms
Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Facebook

Lizzie's YouTube
Lizzie's Tumblr
Lizzie's Twitter
Lizzie's Facebook

Lydia's YouTube
Lydia's Tumblr
Lydia's Twitter
Lydia's Facebook

Jane's Tumblr
Jane's Twitter
Jane's Facebook
Jane's Pinterest

Mary's Twitter
Kitty's Twitter

Charlotte's Tumblr
Charlotte's Twitter
Charlotte's Facebook

Maria's YouTube
Maria's Twitter

Darcy's Twitter
Bing Lee's Twitter
Fitz's Twitter
Caroline's Twitter
Georgiana's (Gigi's) Twitter
Wickham's Twitter
Wickham's OkCupid Page 
Mr. Collins' Twitter

All related Twitter posts (list)

Collins & Collins
Pemberley Digital Main Site
Pemberley Digital Facebook Page

Lizzie Bennet things on Reddit
All related social media accounts (courtesy of Reddit)

All photos/images from the 'Socially Awkward Darcy' Facebook page


  1. Today is the 200th birthday of Pride and Prejudice, my fave all time book, I will certainly check this out thanks.

    1. I realised it was quite the timely post! :D And such a great episode today. Perfect anniversary "gift"! Hope you enjoy it.


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