If Shakespeare were alive today, would he have a web series, too? It seems like everyone is doing one, but you have to admit, he’d be able to reach more viewers than the there are seats in the Globe. Recently a number of web series have used the format to revamp classic stories, tell new ones, and yell at Ophelia to stop what she’s doing before she gets her hair wet. Here are five literary web series worth a serious binge.
“School Of Thrones” adapts the sex, secrets, and power plays of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series for a modern-day high school. Family rivalries are represented by competing cliques at Westeros Valley High, where the Starks are hipsters and dragon-obsessed Dany Targaryen is the awkward new kid. So far the series lacks the intense violence of its HBO predecessor, but as its characters warn us: “Prom night is coming.”
2. “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there cannot be too many versions of Pride And Prejudice. “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” is a modern version of the beloved novel told via the video blogs of Elizabeth Bennet. Lizzie is a graduate student who lives at home with her sisters and marriage-obsessed mother, and Darcy is an aloof hipster (okay, what’s with all the hipsters?). The series is the creation of producer Bernie Su and Internet mainstay Hank Green, the younger half of the nerd culture video bloggers the Vlogbrothers.
3. “The Book Club”
From Fast & Furious director Justin Lin comes “The Book Club,” the story of four dudes trying to read more who end up in an action adventure. In each episode they find themselves in the midst of a battle inspired by the book they’re reading (for example, their discussion of Bruce Lee’s Letters of the Dragon is interrupted by a ninja invasion). It’s a hilarious series with kick-ass fight scenes and great acting from Danny Pudi, Parvesh Cheena, Thomas Fowler, and Chris Marrs.
4. “Sassy Gay Friend”
Second City alum Brian Gallivan’s “Sassy Gay Friend” gives ‘tude-y tough love to literary characters in despair. It’s a stereotype for self-improvement, as everyone from The Giving Tree to Lady Macbeth gets the Sassy Gay Friend treatment. “P.S.,” he tells Miss Havisham in her wedding gown, “It’s not vintage if you’ve been wearing it since it wasn’t.”
“Noah & Dru’s Novel” is a UCB Comedy series that follows two friends as they try to co-write a novel. As you might expect if you’ve ever tried to write a novel, they spend more time arguing and procrastinating than writing. Noah Forman and Dru Johnston star and Nate Dern directs this oddball comedy about the trials of artistic collaboration.
Credit: Flickr user Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Used with a Creative Commons license.