Reviews: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

A nice go at it

Lets start off by saying that a youtube faux v-log webseries retelling of Pride And Prejudice is an amazing thing to have gone for. The world is better for the fact that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries can exist.

It's nice and charming, there were some really clever ideas (the dressing up), some really nice changes to the story and the work that went in to the facebook pages, tumblrs, surrounding videos was excellent.

The acting is spotty though, with everyone dipping in and out of caricatures and whilst many did great in their parts, no-one ever felt so comfortable that this didn't feel like pretend. And that ultimately undermines the whole series. I liked Darcy playing up the stiff almost slightly autistic side of the character, it was a nice change from the usual pure heartthrob and gave some deeper weight to his actions, but it also felt very false, in costume, lines and delivery. His sister was probably the person most comfortable with their role and along with Darcy's friend it brought a lot of joy to the sections of the show with them in.

Some of the modernisations, particularly the focus on web-video felt particularly unreal and it was a strange decision to make Darcy's company sci-fi in their tech capability.

The first section is overshadowed by it's material. It was a clever adaptation but it's impossible not to compare it to the material and it loses out. But there's also a lot of heart.

The end is harder, for me it quickly evolved into a situation where if I suspended my disbelief and got immersed in the story, then I became increasingly uncomfortable that they were airing it to the internet. If I don't then I lose my connection to the story. The camera became an intrusive presence that dogged all the events and even the script went to greater lengths trying to find justification for why Lizzie would show things so personal.

But there was a section in the middle, at Pemberly where we see Lizzie hanging out with people a lot more than they did in the books. It's its own thing and it is perfect, entirely comfortable with itself and feels exactly what a series as amazingly ambitious as this should be like