Discovery of the Week: “Emma Approved”

A little over a year ago I discovered this charming little web series titled, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.”

In case you didn’t pick up on the reference in the title, the series is a modern take on Jane Austen’s beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice. Presented as a grad school new media project, Lizzie (Elizabeth) Bennet shares her life, and that of her sisters, with the internet. It is well executed and cleverly updated for this day and age.

It was co-created by Bernie Su, and Hank Green, who gained fame with his project “Brotherhood 2.0,” where he and his brother communicated almost solely through vlogs for a year. I haven’t yet seen the series of videos but I loved “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” so I’m interested to see where Green got his start.

With Lizzie’s success came a Kickstarter campaign, an Emmy, and the creation of a few spin offs, including one of Austen’s short stories, Sanditon.

Most recently (my newest discovery) “Emma Approved,” which is a modern version of Austen’s Emma, has turned up on the internet. And I LOVE it! I’m a huge fan of Austen’s work and I’ve always eagerly sought out new adaptations. So when I heard the creators of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” were taking on Emma, I was thrilled. In the series Emma is a kind of life counselor and match maker. She works with Mr. Knightley, who is also a family friend, and Harriet Smith, who is her eager, although slightly awkward assistant.

I think they got the essence of Emma perfect and I like the interpretations of the other characters. I really like their Mr. Knightley and I love the actress they got to play Emma. I’m still catching up on episodes as I only realized a week ago that they had started uploading videos but so far it’s good.

The success of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and this new series make me wonder if they’ll tackled any other Austen works. My personal favorite is Persuasion and I would be very interested to see how they would update that story.

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