webtv this week

This Week in WebTV: WebTV Goes Literary

I was going to write out a big long introduction to this new regular article series, explaining what WebTV is and why it’s important and how I’ve been watching for years and blah blah blah, but I’m thinking it isn’t really necessary. If you spend any time on the internet these days, and are any kind of geek/nerd/fangeek/etc, you already know about webseries and how they are redefining TV as we know it. So I’ll skip the boring stuff and jump right into some (hopefully) a lot more interesting stuff.

This week we’re edging ever closer to some big reveals in the literary vlog adaptation¬†The Autobiography of Jane Eyre. It’s been a week since we’ve gotten a new episode (unless you count the Q&A stuff but we won’t cause it isn’t really a part of the story) and I’m sure all of the viewers who have read the book or watched any of the movie versions are just dying waiting to see what happens next.
I’m excited to see how this modern version of the classic story handles¬† the big reveal coming up. So far the crew behind Autobiography of Jane Eyre have managed to do a pretty nifty job of recreating the important characters, themes, and moments from the original tale, but this big reveal might be a tough-y.
At this point we are 54 episodes into the series and¬†definitely past the halfway point of the book so it is getting into some big stuff coming up. I don’t know if they have it planned out to 100 episodes like the (fabulous) Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but it is looking like that might be their intentions. If you haven’t been watching The Autobiography of Jane Eyre this might be a great time to get started. All episodes (including the Q&As and some behind the scenes stuff) are available on YouTube so you can get on that right away. We’ll wait.
In other literary adaptation news, Emma Approved, based on Jane Austen’s novel Emma, is chugging along steadily. Created by the same geniuses that did (Primetime Emmy Award Winning Series – woohoo for WebTV!) The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, this series has a much more polished-looking approach than Jane Eyre. It makes sense, however, as that one is done as a vlog and this one is supposed to be for a documentary someday when Emma becomes famous.
I have to say that while I like this series, I don’t LOVE it like I did with Lizzie Bennet. I’ve never been as big a fan of Emma as Pride & Prejudice so this might stem from that. There isn’t anything wrong with the series itself, really. It looks awesome, the actors are great, and it follows the story remarkably well while still updating for the modern age. I just can’t seem to get into as well as I did with Lizzie. Oh well.
Emma Approved is also available to watch on YouTube. It is currently showing 22 available episodes but I’m thinking that is wrong cause I know I saw a later episode when I watched earlier this week. But anyway, if you haven’t been watching you should totally check it out. Especially if you were a fan of Lizzie Bennet. It is much better than Welcome to Sanditon, probably because it is based on a complete novel and not an unfinished one as that webseries was.

Speaking of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, if you haven’t taken the time to watch that yet, you really should fix that. It was one of the very first modern literary adaptations to use WebTV as a format, and the creators not only created a well done series, but made sure to include a lot of interactive stuff to expand on the experience. You could follow Lizzie and Lydia and Darcy on Twitter, or check out Jane’s fashion choices on Tumblr. It made the characters and story seem much more real and accessible to be able to interact with them in this way. Lizzie Bennet is 100 episodes long and also includes Q&A and some side series starring Lydia and Gigi. It’s all on YouTube or (eventually – still waiting for the release) DVD.
One of the best things about WebTV is the freedom it gives creators to make whatever they want, when they want to. There have been dozens of film and TV adaptations of classic novels (I own most of them) and so it isn’t really necessary to make more. If you’re going to you need to make them well and you need to make them unique, and the webseries mentioned here have certainly done that.

Related Stuff:

Magic Mike's Castle: Season 4-The Webseries
Introduction to the Webseries: A Collection of Reviews
Biscuithands Webseries, Act I
The Official Finlandball - From the Hit Webseries PolandBall - Countryball Plushies
Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet-2nd edition
Posted in Webseries and tagged , , .


  1. I’m really enjoying Emma Approved, actually. It’s not quite as good as LBD (which I just chalk up to the lack of Costume Theatre), but it’s a very clever interpretation of the novel and I like their Knightley a lot. I find it enormously better than The Autobiography of Jane Eyre, which adheres much too closely to the plot points of the original novel (which doesn’t always make sense in a modern adaptation) and not at all to the characterizations, which is where I think the Pemberly Digital productions really shine.

    • I think they have cast Emma Approved extremely well. I have no trouble believing everyone in the roles they are performing. And their Mr. Knightley is great. But it has never been my favorite Jane Austen story and I think that colors my opinion of it a bit. It is obviously difficult to modernize some elements of classic stories. And it is interesting to see how each adaptation tries to do it. I like Autobiography of Jane Eyre so much not because they necessarily modernize the story perfectly, but because of how realistic it feels to me. Everything is so much less polished than it is in LBD and Emma Approved. The actors seem more awkward in front of the camera, which to me makes the vlogs seem more real. I like that about the show.

      But one of the best things I think is that there are enough of these series on the web that they can each have a fan base and that we who watch can discuss what we like and dislike to them with other people who understand. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *