Recently, Bee and I have been diving into some new web series. We were absolutely addicted to ‘Nothing Much To Do’, an adaptation of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, our favourite Shakespeare play, that we were excited to test the waters for new literary obsessions.
What was so beautiful about NMTD was that we could understand all of the references and nods to the original text because we’d read it before. It was such an enriching experience, and great to see all characters showcased, even Dogberry and the Watch and Balthazar, over a multitude of YouTube channels. It seemed like nothing was cut from the adaptation, and you got to experience everyone’s point of view.
I was worried to start new series because I thought I wouldn’t enjoy them as much if I wasn’t already familiar with the primary text. But it turns out, literary web series are a great way to inspire and encourage you to read the original material!
My favourite, most recent, discovery is ‘From Mansfield With Love’, an adaptation of ‘Mansfield Park’ by Jane Austen. This seemed like one of her most underappreciated novels, because I’ve only really heard of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Emma’ most frequently. I was excited to discover a love, which could be more original than loving ‘The Lizzie Bennett Diaries’, that as soon as I’d caught up on the current, beautiful 45 episodes, I dived straight into the novel.
A novel, which could have been a very slow read, just zipped by with immense amusement. I’ve decided to read along with the web series, because I want the events to be a surprise, but I was surprised that I took so well to ‘Mansfield Park’. FMWL just transformed the novel, keeping me interested and entertained as I anticipated the next section of the book based on the episodes. It was excellently translated on screen, making me appreciate the web series even more.
I guess my point is, if you love modern adaptations of literary classics as much as I do, you’ll love them even more if you look at the source material. One can be enjoyed without the other, but together, they create something truly magical, and much more approachable for a 21st Century audience.