Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been in love with stories and the different mediums used to tell them. Be it by listening to the enthusiastic voice of a storyteller in class, letting my imagination go wild while reading a book I just happened to stumble upon in the library, or watching how the addition of music, scenes, and editing is used to show a new perspective when it comes to conveying a story through a big movie screen. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, I would say 2013 to be more precise, that I stumbled upon something new to add to this list of story telling mediums. Web-series.
Web-series are basically sets of scripted and/or non-scripted videos that are uploaded and released on the internet in episode form.
Also, there are many that incorporate transmedia storytelling while the videos are being presented week by week. Transmedia storytelling is nothing more than the technique of using various media platforms in telling a story. So for example, there are web series in which the main character may say s/he has a blog. When you look for it online, it actually exists and is updated every time the main character says s/he has written something. If something happened in the series, like for example an argument online, the character may have their own Twitter account you can follow and understand more about the situation. In the latest series I watched, the main character would tell the audience about a place she went to, and you could find pictures of those places on her Instagram page. Transmedia storytelling really helps immerse the audience in the worlds created in the series, and get to know the characters much better. It brings the story to life in a very interesting and entertaining way.
My newbie-self came to know about them back in 2013 while searching the internet for something that would satisfy my urge to read/see anything Pride and Prejudice related. Yes, I go through these moments of wanting anything Jane Austen related, especially quality content related to my favorite OTP, Lizzie and Darcy. So that day, when I stumbled upon The Lizzie Bennet Diaries episode playlist on YouTube, I proceeded to binge watch the entire 100 episode web series. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.
From there on out, I became an avid web-series watcher, but more specifically so, a lover and enthusiast of literary based web-series. Which is why today I’ve decided to share my list of favorites in hopes that you all come to know and enjoy these series as much as I have.
No matter if you read the story beforehand or are experiencing it for the first time, the series I’m recommending are for everyone.
1. Lizzie Bennet Diaries, developed by Hank Green and Bernie Su (Pemberley Digital)
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. The web series follows the life of 24-year-old grad student, Lizzie Bennet, as she films vlogs in her room about her personal life and family situations.
2. Classic Alice, created by Kate Hackett
Classic Alice is about a college student named Alice, who decides to drastically change her life after receiving a bad grade on an essay. Her idea of change consists of asking her friend Andrew to film a documentary of her living life strictly according to classic literature.
3. Lovely Little Losers, developed by The Candle Wasters: Claris Jacobs, Elsie Bollinger, Minnie Grace, and Sally Bollinger.
Lovely Little Losers is a web series inspired by William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost. It presents the story of four friends, Ben, Fred, Balthazar and Peter (Pedro), and the many situations they experience while living together. This web series is actually the sequel to Nothing Much To Do, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Anyone looking to know more about some of the characters should definitely take the time to watch the Nothing Much To Do web series first before moving on to Lovely Little Losers.
4. Green Gables Fables, created by Alicia Whitson, Mandy Harmon, and Marie Trotter
Green Gables Fables is a modern adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. It follows the story of Anne Shirley as she documents her first year living with her new foster family, the Cuthberts.
5. Frankenstein, MD, developed and created by Lon Harris, Brett Register, and Bernie Su
Frankenstein, MD is a multi-platform series based on Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. This web series is hosted by soon-to-be-doctor Victoria Frankenstein, who documents her work in the lab she currently is employed to at the prestigious Engle State University. One day, after Victoria has suffered a most heartbreaking loss, she becomes immersed in an idea that will bring upon situations and consequences beyond anything she thought possible. Victoria, her colleague Dr. Ludwig Delacey, and everyone she’s ever loved will have to deal with the consequences of an impossible idea brought to life.
6. The Misselthwaite Archives, created and produced by Pencil Ink Productions
The Misselthwaite Archives is a modern adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. This is a story of teenager Mary Lennox who has had to move into her uncle’s large and lonesome estate along Misselthwaite Creek in Oregon shortly after losing her parents. Through videos, images, and vignettes, Mary documents the hate she has for her new living situation and, later on, her new interest in finding the forest glade where her late aunt passed away several years ago.
7. The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, created by Kyle Walters and Shawn deLoache
The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is a modern transmedia adaptation of Peter and Wendy by J.M Barrie. This series presents many points of views in vlog format of the main characters lives. There’s Wendy Darling, who is in charge of the “Dear Darling” advice column for her family’s newspaper, the Kensington Chronicle. She uses vlogs to answer questions to those who have chosen to write her for advice. Not to mention Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, who live and do vlogs together. This web series presents the situations Wendy, her brothers John and Michael, Peter, Tinkerbell, and Lily face when dealing with the consequences of having to grow up.
8. The Cate Morland Chronicles, created by Apple Juice Productions
The Cate Morland Chronicles is a modern retelling of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Cate Morland is a young and enthusiastic journalism graduate with a love for fan culture, especially when it comes to her most favorite series of all time, The Mysteries of Udolpho. Through Cate’s Corner, a YouTube series created by Cate herself, she documents her experience of venturing into the role of a writer for the LA entertainment magazine, Persona Magazine. How will Cate handle being thrown into this pop culture environment she’s completely new to? How will she react to meeting the actor who played the lead role in her utmost favorite series? Did I mention she had a crush on his character back when the series was airing? Interesting.
9. Emma Approved, developed by Bernie Su. (Pemberley Digital)
Emma Approved is a modernized adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen. Emma Woodhouse is the head matchmaker at the lifestyle division of Highbury Partners Lifestyle Group. Since she is so successful at what she does, Emma has decided to document her greatness in the form of vlogs. You know, just in case she needs something to present when she wins a “Lifetime Achievement Award in Lifestyle Excellence” in the near future. Everything that occurs to Emma, be it in her professional and/or personal life, will be put on the forefront through these vlogs. There are a lot of things one must learn to be able to obtain “lifestyle excellence,” and many things that Emma will have to learn along the way.
As a bonus, number 10 is a new web series I recently started!
While looking at my list of favorites, I realized I didn’t have a 10th web series to recommend. So I did some searching and stumbled upon a post on IG about Apple Juice Production’s new web series titled Stoneybrook Revisited: A Baby-Sitters Club Fan Film.
Stoneybrook Revisited is a web series by fans for fans about the adult lives of the members of The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy, Dawn, Stacey, Mary Anne and Claudia. The Baby-Sitters Club was actually a very popular series of novels written by Ann M. Martin that were published between 1986 and 2000. So far the web series has published 7 videos which include a trailer, teaser/intro and a video for each of the main characters of the series. I’ve already watched them, and have decided to give the series a chance. I’m really liking the old school feel to the series and how each of the characters have been introduced.
Watching a web series from the beginning and having to deal with the anticipation of what will happen next is an entirely different experience than watching one that is already over. That is why I thought it’d be a good idea to tell you all about this new web series so we can enjoy it together!
I hope this list is enough to inspire everyone to give literary web series a chance. Let me know if your list of favorites is different than mine and which you’d like to recommend. I’d be happy to add them to my list.
Kirstie Morales is a 26-year-old Puerto Rican aspiring full-time blogger who considers herself an enthusiast of hobbies and the love of reading. When she’s not excited over a new graphic novel available at her local library and bookstore or having an overwhelming need to read Pride and Prejudice, she’s enjoying listening to K-pop and watching dramas. She loves writing on her blog, reading a diverse range of genres, from classics to Japanese manga, and believes that everyone around the world should have access to a library. Most of all, that every ethnicity in the world should have a chance to tell their own story.