We showed a YouTube video to the inlaws on our TV the other day. We watched the Evening Of Awesome on the TV as well. It’s really hard lately to draw the line between TV and INTERNET as devices like AppleTV and Roku make blending the two so easy.
BUT! For the sake of this post, let’s keep them separate.
I started watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries one day out of sheer boredom. I’ll admit…never made it through Pride & Prejudice…the book OR any of the movie adaptations. So, a web series/modern-day adaptation didn’t appeal to me at launch. BUT…I have loved every other thing the Vlogbrothers do online, so one boring day I gave it a shot.
AND. I. JUST. COULDN’T. STOP.
I caught up to the “real” world in no time at all. Ashley Clements is a compelling actor and I loved the personality she gave Lizzie. I loved her sisters and I loved Bing Lee. I just couldn’t wait for each episode to push the story along so I finished all of the videos in a few days. (I think, at the time, there were about 50.)
As I started having to wait between episodes, I began exploring the LBD universe. Lydia had her own channel that was TOTES COOL of course. Charlotte had a Twitter. Everywhere I clicked there was more of the universe I could explore and before I knew it I had THREE YouTube subscriptions and a Twitter List filled with character accounts, actor accounts, and writer accounts associated with the show.
I even familiarized myself with the actual book Pride & Prejudice, even if the modernization of it proved many of the storylines ineffective.
That’s the cool thing about this adaption. You can know the story, but you don’t know how they’ll translate it to this environment. So…there is still mystery and surprise.
But – the series really started taking it to the next level last weekend. The characters Lizzie, Darcy (Mr. Darcy from the book), and his sister Gigi (who is trying her BEST to get her brother and Lizzie together) went exploring in San Francisco. In the story they did. Viewers understood that was going to be happening. But what actually DID happen? Is that the character Gigi started tweeting about it. Photos AND ALL.
(The management of all of those accounts on Twitter and Tumblr and YouTube FASCINATE ME, BTW.)
HOW COOL IS THAT? I was refreshing that feed on my phone ALL DAY LONG. She was posting pictures and making great meta comments like:
(If you don’t get that one, you don’t spend as much time on Tumblr as I do. Here’s the definition of “shipping”.)
It was GREAT. We – as fans – were able to watch this story unfold IN REAL TIME. And we could “SQUUUUEEEEEE!” about it and it was just SO FUN.
And the actors? Are BRILLIANT. Lydia (Lizzie’s sister) has started her downward spiral which is unfolding in this adaptation in ways very different from the book. And watching that actress (Mary Kate Wiles) who rocked the Text Speak with such voraciousness – take it to a dark and almost twisted level? Has been beautiful and devastatingly sad. The difference between her first video and her most recent should win her all of the awards.
And just as I started to really worry about how this story could possibly keep unfolding in the illusion of a YouTube Vlog, the team behind the series launched a Twitter account for Darcy’s Company and that faux enterprise launched another YouTube Channel to promote this fancy new video app.
Basically? The writers opened up an entire new world of video setups for their audience. AND IT IS DAMN GENIUS.
The term being thrown around is “Transmedia” which I think is PERFECT. They are taking us around different YouTube channels, through Twitter, over yFrog for photos, microblogs, videos…giving the fans an all-around interactive experience. The showrunner, Bernie Su, did an AMA at Reddit that’s full of tons of great information, if you want to read more about how he approaches the transmedia aspect of the show.
All of the media babble aside? I’m not sure if I’ve ever had anywhere close to this much fun with a TV show before. If you want to join in (I don’t think it’s supposed to run much longer, maybe a few months?) then you should start here. But, be prepared to be sucked into the world beyond any scope of your imagination.
I really hope this is what is in store for those of us avid TV fans. The potential is endless.
Edited to Add: SHIT JUST GOT REAL Y’ALL!
(Here’s a rundown from the showrunner of the chaos that unfolded in the LBD world yesterday.)