Everyone likes an adaptation, and sometimes the best adaptations are underground. Here are seven picks from YouTube, perfect for marathoning, all based on classic novels and set in the modern era. No matter whether you’re a fan of Jane Austin, William Shakespeare, or Charlotte Bronte, there’s something for every classic book lover. Watch away!
If you like Much Ado About Nothing, get ready for Nothing Much to Do, an adaptation from New Zealand in vlog format, this time set at Messina High. All the accusations, the threats, and a few serenades on ukulele, this modern adaptation has all the humor and hatred you love, while also featuring a plastic flamingo. A must watch.
Fans of Jane Eyre will appreciate the tragedy and measured pace of Autobiography of Jane Eyre. Filmed as a video diary, this series follows nursing student Jane as she leaves school, becomes a governess, and falls for the master of the house. Covering all the original beats of the story with inventiveness and heart, it has all the Gothic appeal of the original. Plus Adele is cute.
A classic, and for good reason. Thorough plotting, well paced character development, and silly costumes make this series compulsively watchable. Elizabeth is very much herself, lovable, judgmental, caring—Jane is sweet and decisive, Kitty is an actual cat, and Lydia is gleeful and wild. Set in California, Lizzie is a grad student with no interest in marriage—much to her mother’s chagrin.
Seriously, this web series is good. I’m not joking. You might say I’m Earnest, but honestly, who isn’t? Oscar Wilde’s classic is reimagined probably exactly as he would have wanted it—with everyone confused and overdressed. At just fifty episodes, it’s an excellent binge watch, and relatable, at least if you’ve ever wondered how to propose to someone you’ve given a false name.
In this adaptation, Emma runs a PR firm with her brother-in-law, George Knightly. Some great parties, some terrible decisions, and outrageous confidence make this a fun and lighthearted series, despite any low moments. Fans of Austin will be thrilled, and if you’re not yet obsessed, you will be.
If you can’t wait to return to Green Gables—or visit for the first time—Green Gables Fables is a delightful and heartwarming take on the classic story. Never discouraged, Anne’s passion and creativity make this series sing, and even at one-hundred-fifty episodes (the longest on this list), it seems too short.
This adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy may have slightly less murder, but it has just as much tragedy as the original. The clash between two warring fraternities reaches new heights. Even with a lower mortality rate, this is still a tear jerker, so be warned. It’s also the shortest series on this list, with only twenty-one episodes.
A father-son King project is now in development for television! The Stephen King renaissance continues with the adaptation of Sleeping Beauties.
Image via Entertainment Weekly
The original novel, a collaboration between Stephen King and his son, Owen King, asks ‘What would happen if women disappeared from the world?’
Image via Amazon
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep: they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent. And while they sleep they go to another place, a better place, where harmony prevails and conflict is rare.
One woman, the mysterious “Eve Black,” is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Eve a medical anomaly to be studied? Or is she a demon who must be slain? Abandoned, left to their increasingly primal urges, the men divide into warring factions, some wanting to kill Eve, some to save her. Others exploit the chaos to wreak their own vengeance on new enemies. All turn to violence in a suddenly all-male world.
Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is a wildly provocative, gloriously dramatic father-son collaboration that feels particularly urgent and relevant today.
This suspense filled, horror, mystery, is now in development to being adapted into a pilot episode for its own television series. AMC is the TV network behind the newly anticipated pilot episode.
The writer for the script will be none other than Owen King himself, bringing his and his father’s work to life, and this is not his first time adapting his father’s work for television.
Thankfully, unlike CBS and their “All Access” content that’s watchable only if you pay monthly, AMC comes with your cable, so long as you have the channel that is. Hopefully Owen and the rest of the AMC crew won’t rest until Sleeping Beauties is finished for our haunting entertainment.
It was just yesterday…err last month…that Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan discussed narrowly avoiding white-washing of his novel, after a Hollywood producer sought to change the race of the main character for an adaptation. While Kwan declined the change, preserving the cultural representation he clearly sought, the issue has arisen yet again.
After the cast of the upcoming adaptation was announced, fans took issue with the inclusion of actor Henry Golding whose half-British half-Malaysian heritage was seen as too diverse (and not quite Asian enough) for the role.
Image Via Henry Golding
One of his critics happened to be Hollywood actress Jamie Chung (Once Upon A Time) who called his casting “bullshit”.
In an interview with CBS Chung complained about her inability to book a role in Crazy Rich Asians because director Jon Chu wanted someone ethnically Chinese. When she learned that Henry Golding is half-white, Chung called out the “loopholes” in which actresses like her “get screwed”.
Image Via Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Considering the fact that Golding is half-Malaysian, and has been cast for the role of a character born in Singapore, fans are perplexed by the reaction. Golding is no exception.
For me, it was almost like being kind of stabbed in the back. I was like, ‘Aren’t we meant to be in this boat together? Aren’t we meant to strive together for something bigger than these boundaries that we’re putting on ourselves instead of bullying each other?’
There are many arguments, for and against. Am I Asian enough? I was born here, I have lived 17 years of my life here, so for me, I feel more Asian than anything. I was proud to be able to represent Asia. There are some sour people out there, but we should be getting together and fighting for something bigger, rather than Asians against Asians.
He called to attention the unfair nature of this criticism considering the production crew were ultimately responsible for signing him on and wouldn’t have cast him if they thought it inappropriate. “Everybody has their own opinion, but John [Penotti], Warner Bros., and producer Nina Jacobson chose the actor they thought could portray Nick Young best,” he said.
Golding was born in Singapore, and has lived there for a considerable amount of time, do the negative reaction from fans seems undeserving. Being of a mixed-race background doesn’t dilute the cultural background and/or identification of an individual, nor does it make him any less qualified to represent a character of the same race on film.
Fans and critics alike can catch Golding’s performance in Crazy Rich Asians when it hits theaters in August 2018.
With Thanksgiving this week, the holiday season is officially here! For me, Thanksgiving is the less stressful of the Schuhmacher holidays, though both are exhausting. Here are five ways you can escape the family insanity, especially if you’re anything like me, and are six months into having moved halfway across the country and haven’t seen your family since you moved away from home. Can’t wait!!
1. Be a student and either be stressed or look stressed.
I’m not going to lie, this trick is the most effective if you’re a college student. My sophomore year of college, I got out of a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving brunch with my very extended family by merely bringing along a copy of whatever Norton Anthology we happened to be reading that semester.
I didn’t open it, no of course not, I just stared at it and occasionally sighed and was excused from the table immediately following my last bite of smoked salmon eggs Benedict because “oh Honey, you just look so stressed out!”
I was pushed out the door to “go study” with a roadie full of Whiskey Sour and went home to take a very long, very needed nap.
2. Be a dad and you can pretty much get away with anything.
I don’t know how my dad does it, but every year, without fail, he gets out of our annual Christmas Eve post-Church family coffee and chocolate mousse political discourse. I find him laying completely horizontal with an outdoorsy hardback, typically fly fishing but also sometimes Colorado’s top rated trails. Barely out of the watchful eye line of my mother, who would also rather be doing pretty much anything else than listening to Uncle Buzzy talk about tax cuts and health insurance, my father is sunk so low into whatever couch that we’re mildly concerned that his knees might give out on his way back up.
3. Be the “cool cousin” and take a kid off the exhausted hands of your aunts and uncles.
I am the third-eldest of twenty-six first cousins, so I have twenty-three excuses to get out of the holiday happiness. In a family with so many offspring, one of the easiest ways to get out of the chaos is by asking whichever aunt most recently had a child if you could “take the cutie off her hands for a minute, read them a book, you know, whatever”
Once you’ve read them the book and they’re either distracted or asleep, then you get to go off and do the whatever. My whatever often included raiding my grandfather’s bookshelf, it’s why I have such an affinity for Clive Cussler.
4. If you’re in charge of cooking, that’s a built in excuse!
Seriously, stick your nose deep in that cookbook and only come up for air once everyone’s calmed the F down.
5. Literally just read the book and ignore everyone that tries to talk to you.
Ever wished your favorite characters could be part of your family? I’ve put together what I feel is a pretty accurate literary family tree. I have handpicked your cousin who makes you feel bad about yourself, your weird aunt, and your angsty brother among others. Take a look!
A winged woman, half-human, half-swan, she traveled for years as part of a circus to places like Granada, St. Petersburg, and Siberia. Her adventures were documented in the novel by the journalist Jack Walser. She’s such a funny, interesting character and claims to have hatched from an egg. This does make your origins unclear. There’s a chance that, as her child, you, too, hatched from an egg. You may also have wings. Sorry, but that’s life.
Mo, by all counts, is a pretty swell guy. He’s a binder of books, a book doctor if you will. That must be where you get your love of books. He has a slight issue where, when he reads aloud, he reads characters out of the books, which has got him in loads of trouble in the past. However, now that it’s all over, he has his powers under control, and is no longer at the mercy of the fictional villains he accidentally read into the world. Don’t worry. No villains here. Everything is chill.
Brother: Harry Potter (The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling)
Angsty and annoying. | Via Tenor
Yeah, he’s pretty angsty and sarcastic and often totally impossible to be around but he’s got some pretty cool stuff that you can steal. While he’s out playing Quidditch, throwing tantrums and saving the world, you can sneak into his room and pilfer the Invisibility Cloak, the Elder Wand, the Marauder’s Map, loads of money; you name it, he has it. And he trails around whining about not having any parents when your Mum and Dad are sitting right there? Spoiled brat. You’re well within your rights to steal his stuff.
You’re getting two little sisters because sisters are the best and I couldn’t decide. You’ve got other-world-discovering Lucy, who you are to believe when she tells you about Narnia (don’t be an Edmund) and Scout Finch who knows loads about justice and being precocious. I feel they’d make a good team and balance each other out nicely. They play excellent pranks on Harry and get him really riled up. It’s hugely entertaining for everybody.
Scout: perpetuator of justice | Via Tenor
Weird Uncle: Hunter S. Thompson (Real life person but so bizarre and entrenched in the literary world that he may as well be fictional)
Hunter: never boring | Via PopKey
Always swearing, drinking and doing coke. Never invited over for holidays but comes anyway, high as a kite. Writes stories on napkins at the dinner table. Periodically shoots expensive ornaments off the mantelpiece. Sometimes brings his pet peacock. Plays weird pranks. Your little sisters are scared of him because he’s an even better prankster than they are and they don’t like that.
Has made various family members cry on more than one occasion but always gives you loads of money when you tell him it’s your birthday and doesn’t remember that you told him it was your birthday and he gave you a hundred dollars last month too. Bonus: wears cool shirts.
Okay, so this also implies you have a number of other aunts, as Jo is famously one of the five March sisters, but we’re focusing on Joe as she is the most interesting. She’s a rebellious writer who fights to get her stories published despite being dismissed by many magazines due to being female. She once sold her hair to get money for the family and she set up a school that doesn’t discriminate against anyone based on race or gender.
You love when she comes to visit because she always brings you cool books and tells you about her adventures, and her nice German husband is pretty chill too. Sometimes they waltz, which would be embarrassing if it were anyone else. But they pull it off.
Old Jiko is the feminist Buddhist nun great-grandmother of protagonist Nao in Ruth Ozeki’s Man Booker-shortlisted novel. Old Jiko wrote feminist essays, named her children after famous Japanese rebels, and then later became a Buddhist nun, living in a remote temple. She is wise and empathetic and you love visiting her. She wields great power within herself and teaches you to do so as well. She is also hilarious and somewhat mischievous and loves chocolate.
Grandpa Joe: Must be kept an eye on | Via Buzzfeed
Grandpa Joe can only be coaxed out of bed with the promise of chocolate, but once he’s up, he’s all go; the life and soul of the party, a demon for the fizzy lifting drinks, so you have to keep an eye on him. He’s lots of fun, though. You’re probably his favorite grandchild, although he has a soft spot for Scout and Lucy, and always sneaks them chocolate.
Cousin who makes you feel bad about yourself: Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
Lizzie: Ugh, just leave me alone | Via Tenor
She’s blatantly your aunt and uncle Bennet’s favorite child, she’s married to a rich dude, they have a massive house, she’s serene and sensible and smart. She looks suspiciously like Keira Knightley. You hate when she and Fitzwilliam come to dinner because they arrive in a horse-drawn carriage and make everybody look bad.
Lizzy amuses your parents with her wit and then plays charming ditties on the piano forte, while her drop dead gorgeous husband broods on the sofa, refusing to engage with anyone. By rights you all should hate him, but really you’re tripping over yourselves to win his approval, but Elizabeth is the only one who has it. Because of course she does. Nightmare. Even Lucy and Scout can sense her perfection and hide under the dinner table, plotting how best to bring her down.
Dorian, your debauched, opium-loving, vaguely aristocratic cousin, rotting from the inside out. No one’s heard from him in months. You’re pretty sure he’s made some sort of deal with the devil. He smells weird, and you suspect he may commit crimes but you’re not too sure what they are. Your parents are happy you stayed in school and did the bare minimum, compared to him. Whenever you do see him, you smile to yourself and think smugly, ‘Well, at least I’m not Dorian.’