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scene

Vlogs > Boys

| Tuesday, September 30, 2014

vlogs-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara
A few weeks ago I read a quote that was truly life changing — “Girls don’t like boys. Girls like cake and modern day adaptations of classic literature in the form of vlogs.”

Because, yes, boys are cute, but I have yet to find one that causes me to scream internally at my computer screen like my favorite web series do. Also, cake.

For the last calendar year, I’ve left my Netflix and Hulu accounts to collect proverbial Internet dust as I dedicated my superior “fangirl” skills on the current craze that is transforming famous novels and plays into YouTube “vlogseries.”

On April 9, 2012, the landscape of multimedia entertainment changed forever when “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” a modern day adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” dropped its first episode onto the vlogosphere.

Creators Hank Green (brother to John Green, author of “The Fault In Our Stars”) and Bernie Su honed in on the surprisingly large group of teens to young adults that shared a love for both classic literature and social media. The visionaries gave this clique what they never knew they were missing: Lizzie Bennet with a YouTube channel.

In an interview with “The Stylish,” Ashley Clements, who played title role Lizzie Bennet, commented on the seemingly overnight success of such an experimental entertainment format, saying “it harnesses this other power and has this interactive-ness built into it.”

Not only do we get 21st century Lizzie Bennet vlogging in her room, but we can follow her on Twitter and Tumblr and interact with her, her sisters and the swoon-worthy Darcy, thus creating an online presence for characters that were previously only alive in a 200-year-old story.

The age of fictional transmedia vlogseries has since commenced with dozens of adaptations subsequently popping up all over YouTube, honoring not just Austen, but Shakespeare and Shelley alike.

“Nothing Much To Do,” the cleverly titled New Zealand web series based on Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” brings even more innovation to the already inventive entertainment platform with its use of multiple YouTube channels to portray an array of character points of view. Probably the most believable series among others in its genre, “Nothing Much To Do” excels in adapting Shakespeare’s famed soliloquys into short vlog episodes while constantly modernizing the outdated, albeit hilarious, source material.

“Frankenstein M.D.,” created by much of the same team that pioneered “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries,” crosses even more boundaries, familiarizing the complex characters and situations of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece “Frankenstein” into a modern setting. The obsessive Dr. Victor Frankenstein has become Victoria, a MD-PhD student who is trying to navigate among the male-dominated STEM field of study she is so passionate about. The groundbreaking genre continues to grow with this adaptation, the creative team partnering with PBS Digital Studios to bring an educational aspect to the web series through Victoria’s scientific, and somewhat dangerous, experiments.

Vlogseries allow for a space where projects and groups that would otherwise go unnoticed or even unmade can be brought to fruition. With a camera, a few people, adaptable basis material and a room, pretty much anyone has the ability to create another “Lizzie Bennet” sensation.

But if producing a vlogseries isn’t in the cards for you, watching some should be. Whether you love classic literature and want to obsess over a new way to experience it, or you hate it and discover that watching Lizzie Bennet tell you about her life is far more interesting than reading about it for that English seminar, vlogseries are definitely a movement worth tuning in on.

About Alexandra Lowery

I am sophomore in the Mendoza College of Business and the department of Film, Television and Theatre. I enjoy long, drawn out feminist rants, playing guitar and worshipping Beyoncé.

Contact Alexandra