Webseries adaptations of beloved literary classics have been absolutely the sunshine of my life the past few months – like many people, The Lizzie Bennett Diaries is what initially pulled me in to the genre, then Kissing in the Rain made me happy, and it’s all history from there. Of the thousands of webseries on Youtube, my favorite are hands-down the literary adaptations, which have been seeing a huge boom in both creation and attention recently. They are five-minute interlocking episodes of romance, banter, combative chemistry, friendship, sisterhood, and a reworking of classic and loved characters into modern and immensely identifiable characters. Nothing not to love.
Now, note that while I whole-heartedly recommend the top four, the other four are fun but flawed. I’m waiting with great expectation for future ones to debut to knock these down or off the list.
I am not going to include The Lizzie Bennett Diaries because it goes without saying it’s my overall favorite (though NMTD is so close) and because I wrote it up here and am tired of talking about it.
1. Nothing Much to Do. God. I’m obsessed with this. Created by four New Zealand girls and performed by a large-ish cast of New Zealanders and one British boy, this is deliriously gripping and romantic for a webseries. It’s a loose modernized adaptation of Much Ado about Nothing in which Beatrice and Benedict are high school students who were good friends when they were much younger but drifted apart when Benedict acted like an idiot, and the two have hated each other ever since. When he comes back into town, the two immediately get off on a combative foot, to the dismay of all their mutual friends, who decide to convince each that the other is in love with them.
There’s a lot more characters than in most webseries. There’s also a delightful looseness and flexibility to the filming – there are several group scenes and scenes in differnet locations, including ones set at a party, at the high school, and outdoors after a football match, which is really fun and makes the world feel more real. Also, there’s almost no monologues at all – nearly every episode has at least two people dialoguing and interacting with each other onscreen.