It’s exam season, so procrastination is easy to come by right now. Bedrooms have never been so clean, all the washing up is done, and arts & crafts projects are creeping to the top of everyone’s to do lists. There are so many productive ways to procrastinate, but what if you’re looking for a less industrious way to waste time? Or what if you’re looking for a way to spend ten minute breaks in mindless entertainment without having to watch a TV series in ten minute chunks? Well, I have the answer: Web series. And as always, I have a list of recommendations. Because if I can’t procrastinate by sharing procrastination tips with you guys, then what is this blog for?*
Now, web series is a broad term, so I should probably focus this blog post a little more. Man, you can tell I’ve been writing essays. I’m going to talk about web series that are modern day adaptations of books or plays that are so old there are no longer any copyright claims on them. Because that’s much simpler than trying to obtain rights.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Click here for the first episode. And the entire playlist.
Ah, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. My introduction into the world of web series. Based on Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, it’s set in modern day America, with Elizabeth Bennet having a vlog. There are some changes to the cast, notably that Bennet sister Kitty is demoted to being a cat.
I’ve talked before about regency drama not really being my thing, but somehow when you introduce the internet I’m much more interested. Especially with a cast like this. It’s well acted, well put together and mostly well scripted. I’ve never really cared about the Wickham plot line, mostly because the younger Bennet sisters have never felt like real characters to me, but this adaption? I was so invested. Many conversations were had in caps lock over social media about it.
Most importantly, for your procrastination/break having purposes there are 100 episodes, each between 2 and 8 minutes long. And there’s spin offs with various characters getting their own vlogs, even if they do not have 100 episodes. Also, it’s complete. No waiting around for the next episode to be uploaded. So go on. Watch the Elizabeth and Darcy story play out in a whole new way.
First ep (and playlist of the rest) above.
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu is a vampire book that predates Dracula by 26 years. And, as the name suggests, the eponymous vampire is female. She’s also a lesbian. And these two facts hold true in the adaption. In fact, the majority of the cast are female, and the non-heterosexual relationships are confirmed in world. While I’ve not read the book so I can’t really comment on the success of the adaptation in that regard, I really enjoyed watching it.
Laura, the protagonist, is thoroughly engaging, as are the rest of the characters. Set in an American college where strange things are commonplace, Laura’s roommate goes missing and she embarks on a mission to rescue her. On the way, she gets a replacement roommate by the name of Carmilla, and soon things spiral out of control. One day you’re looking for your missing roommate, the next you’re battling a force of evil older than you can imagine. University, am I right?
Like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Carmilla is complete. At least, series one is. Which means you can pause between episodes, knowing that when you’ve finished the next paragraph of your essay, all cliffhanger questions will be resolved. And season 2 starts on the 2nd June. So you won’t even have long to wait to find out what the future holds for Laura.
Click above for the first ep and then the rest.
Created by the same people who did The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Emma Approved is based on, yup, you guessed it – Emma by Jane Austen. Hand on heart, I prefer Emma Approved to The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The creators learnt from their (admittedly not huge) mistakes with LBD and made Emma Approved great. Though it probably helps that I haven’t read Emma…
With a fantastic, racially diverse cast, Emma Approved is set in a life consultancy firm in America run by Emma. She match makes, she throws parties, she drums up clients for businesses – is there anything she can’t do? Well, as it turns out, yes. But you’ll have to watch to find out what.
Again, Emma Approved is fully complete, so all cliffhangers will be resolved and won’t distract you from that pesky revision. It even includes a cameo from a character from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, so if you watch both, keep an eye out for that. Honestly, I really enjoy Emma Approved, and have now watched it all the way through about 4 times. Though not all during exam season. After all, I do have to get some revision done.
March Family Letters
Above is your new favourite show.
This is my current favourite thing. A modern day adaptation of Little Women by Lousia May Alcott, it’s set in Canada, with the premise being that the March sisters’ mother has been deployed overseas and their vlog channel is so she can keep up to date with their lives.
With a non-heterosexual relationship, people of colour and asexual representation, the adaptation is bang up to date, and Jo March is gloriously feminist. All of the sisters are, from Meg who’s studying to be an engineer, to Beth whose talents lie in music, to Amy who is desperately trying to make her mark on the world. I’m really enjoying it and am impatiently awaiting Tuesdays and Fridays.
Yes, this one isn’t finished yet. But so far, it’s been amazing, following the plot of the original book faithfully while updating it to fit in the modern setting. I do really love this web series, especially as it switches between full cast videos, individual sister videos and the updates of the ongoing play ‘The Witch’s Curse’. It’s seriously great. You should definitely check it out.
Those four are my recommended series, because a) they’re great and b) I’ve watched them all. Other series I’ve heard decent things about but haven’t actually watched are Frankenstein, M.D. (with a female scientist as the lead character) and Nothing Much to Do (set in New Zealand if the others are too North America-centric for you), which are respectively based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. If you’ve got any recommendations on any other web series I should filling my break times with, please leave a comment. I have an exam and an essay to go and then a whole lot of free time to fill. And if you have exams and essays and stress, good luck! You’ll be fine. Remember to breathe.
*I would like to assure all family members reading, I am doing work and am merely exaggerating for stylistic effect.