The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modern web adaptation of the famous Pride And Prejudice. It’s done in the style of a vlog and it’s all on YouTube. I heard about it online from someone who thought it was real. I didn’t know anything about Pride And Prejudice (or vlogging for that matter) so I believed it too for the first 20 videos I watched. Eventually I realized it was all thought out and scripted. In the LDB, Darcy managed a company called Pemberley Digital and now, the real life company that made the LBD uses the name. Yes, they pulled a Starkid. 😛
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was a huge hit. I had to catch up on the first 40 or so videos, but I got hooked and eagerly awaited the days when a new video would be uploaded. By the end, I was so in love with this series. I forced two friends to watch it and they adored it too. It was a fresh, unique and lovable way to present the popular story. It spawned a whole slew of classic book adaptations to Youtube, which is cool.
So why am I claiming a downfall to Pemberley Digital? Because it’s true. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries aren’t the only adaptation from this company. They’ve also done a few small spin offs of LBD like The Lydia Bennet (I watched a couple then got bored) and Welcome To Sanditon (okay, admittedly, I never watched this and therefore know very little about it), Emma Approved (an adaptation of another Jane Austen book called Emma), Frankenstein MD (a short adaptation of Frankenstein) and they’ve recently finished March Family Letters (an adaptation of Little Women).
Aside from the small spin offs, I’ve seen it all. And honestly, I’m not impressed. LBD was amazing. The acting was good and all the characters were cool. But since then, the acting has really fallen short. They seem forced and stiff, which makes the characters are becoming more and more annoying. It took me ages to like Emma Approved because Emma herself was annoying. I warmed up to her in the end especially when a more she was seen in a more vulnerable light, but as for her sidekick Harriet, I was never sold. She drove me insane. I did warm up a bit but still not enough. The same goes for Frankenstein MD. That was a walking cliché in itself, and the changing camera angles took away from its original vlog-like style completely, but I never really loved any of the characters. That being said, in the least spoiler-y way I can, I did feel the desired emotion in the end. And more recently with March Family Letters, I am just disappointed. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t read the book, but all the characters are just so forced and fake. Jo is just annoying, and why doesn’t Amy have lenses in her super hipster movie theater 3D glasses? While I can give props to the show for having LGBTQ characters and another with anxiety, I really had to force myself to watch the episodes.
That’s not to say that it’s total garbage, because it is not at all. People are loving it, and it is fairly entertaining all the same. I did end up loving Emma Approved after a while, and the stories do intrigue me enough for me to keep watching. A cool thing about Pemberley is that they effectively use social media. Yes, Youtube is the main mode, but all the characters have their own Twitters and Tumblrs and more, so really dedicated fans can follow their every move, as well as follow the cast of the shows. That’s pretty neat, if you ask me. There was also a book called The Secret Diary Of Lizzie Bennet, which was amazing.
I just wish Pemberley‘s Youtube episodes are as good as they used to be. Time and time again I am just disappointed and yearn for the awesomeness that we had in the early days. And I don’t think I’m the only one. I mean, look at these stats:
The large majority of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries videos are between the 400 and 600 thousand view marks, with a few going over a million. Emma Approved‘s videos mostly stay within the 100 and 200 thousand mark. Frankenstein MD started out over 100 thousand but then most of the videos are within 10 and 100 thousand. March Family Letters videos are between 10 and 20 thousand.
I mean, 10 thousand is a lot. I’d be over the moon if this blog got 10 thousand views on each post. But when the same people are getting 10 thousand when they used to get millions, it’s a sign. I hope the people running Pemberley are worried. I hope they’re looking at their view stats and looking at the response from fans and viewers and realizing that they need to change things. I’d suggest the acting. Like I said, it’s forced and weird. Why is most everyone so cheery and outgoing and comfortable in front of a video camera?
If you’ve never seen a Pemberley video, don’t let this post be a deterrent. I loved the Lizzie Bennet Diaries and suggest you watch all that right away, and Emma Approved eventually stole my heart too. And if you’re bored or have small chunks of time to kill (on a bus ride or something) then sure, give the others a shot. Goodness knows the views don’t hurt, and the stories aren’t all that bad.
Pemberley Digital started something amazing, and their way of storytelling is so innovative and new. I’ll still watch anything they put out because I do see the potential there. I just hope they can bounce back up.
Anyone have thoughts on the matter? Have you seen any of these series? Leave a comment with your thoughts! 🙂
(If there’s a limit to how many links can exist in a post, I think I hit it! You’re welcome!)