Jack and Algernon, do whatever they can to change their names in order to be with them...There’s a lot of social commentary, but what especially catches my eye is the significance that Wilde places on playing a role – in this case the role of Ernest, among others.
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!
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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.
Based on Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
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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.
Based on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
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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.
Based on Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin
4. In Earnest
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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.
Based on The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
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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.
Based on Emma by Jane Austin
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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.
Based on Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
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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.
Based on Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Featured image via NegativeSpace