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Series / Lost in Austen

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A four-part British miniseries for ITV, released in 2008.

Amanda Price (Jemima Rooper), a Jane Austen fan from present-day Hammersmith, discovers a portal in her bathroom wall that leads into the world of Pride and Prejudice. After accidentally trapping herself into the novel's world, while at the same time locking Elizabeth Bennet (Gemma Arterton) in present day London, Hilarity Ensues as Amanda tries to serve as a stand-in to make sure that the story still progresses as it should, even if her presence causes the story to go off the rails.

The series also stars Elliot Cowan as Darcy, Tom Mison as Bingley, Hugh Bonneville and Alex Kingston as the Bennet parents, Tom Riley as Wickham, Morven Christie as Jane, Perdita Weeks as Lydia and Lindsay Duncan as Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: George Wickham is nowhere near the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing he was in the original novel, veering much closer to Loveable Rogue.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Miss Caroline Bingley who tried to catch Mr Darcy is lesbian. True, she did gush about Georgianna Darcy in the novel, but it was mostly done to show Mr Darcy how good a sister to her she would be.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Used In-Universe. The series loves to put different spins on the characters from the novel, to the complete shock and horror of Amanda.
    • Mr Collins as a sex-crazed, albeit very repressed and creepy pervert (whereas he is just pompous and boring in the book).
    • Caroline Bingley is a closet lesbian.
    • Mr Bingley suffers from depression.
    • Mr Wickham is a good guy... or at least a Jerk with a Heart of Gold and a Loveable Rogue. Viewers are actually likely to like Wickham in this version.
    • Mrs Bennet is clever and scheming enough to look out for her daughters' welfare in a highly effective fashion.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Amanda often wished she could be a self-insert in Pride and Prejudice. She ends up getting her wish come true as she swap places with Elizabeth Bennett.
  • Berserk Button: Mrs. Bennet is usually highly-strung and sometimes a bit silly, but otherwise harmless. However, if you ever cast any aspersion on her efforts to find suitable husbands for her daughters, then will you see the angry and unsilly side of her - as Lady Catherine found out to her cost.
  • Brick Joke: When Amanda mentions to Bingley that she's a lesbian, it plays as simply another awkward statement made by someone out of her depth. Two-thirds of the way through the film, it sets up a very funny sequence with Caroline.
  • Changed My Jumper:
    • Amanda arrives in Regency-era England wearing tight pants and a low cut top (cleavage wasn't out of fashion but certainly not something that a lady would show off so early in the day). This raises a couple of eyebrows in the Bennet household, but she's able to explain it away as an outfit for otter hunting. This still doesn't excuse the fact that a woman is wearing breeches, but if the Bennets don't care, then why should we?
    • The reversal is shown later on in the movie when Amanda and Darcy show up wearing full Regency dress in 21st century London and no one cares. This is a little more believable, though, as performance artists, extras, costume-party-goers, and people who just feel like dressing that way are not an uncommon sight in a major city.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship: The first DVD release of the series had to cut the part where Amanda sings "Downtown" for the Bingleys and Darcy because the rights hadn't been acquired. The joke that Bingley makes about "going downtown" immediately after made no sense without the song. Later releases reinstated the song.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Well, boyfriend, since Amanda never actually gave Micheal an answer to his clumsy beer bottle clip proposal, but her choosing Darcy over him without a second thought easily places him in this category.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Mr Bingley falls in love with Amanda, but she rebuffs him, thinking that he's meant to be with Jane. As a result, he goes into a downward spiral and finally elopes with Lydia, nearly killing Mr Bennet in a duel.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Mr Collins tries to marry his brothers off to the younger Bennets. He fails.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Mr Collins' middle name is Zeal-of-the-Lord.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: A modern London girl stuck in fictional Regency England and making a pig's ear of keeping the plot together. On the other side, Elizabeth adjusts very well to life in the present-day Like a Duck Takes to Water.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Amanda's presence fundamentally changes the story line despite all of her attempts to keep the novel on track: Jane marries Mr Collins, Mr Bingley runs away with Lydia during a depressive episode, George Wickham is a genuinely Loveable Rogue, and Mr Darcy falls in love with Amanda.
  • Genre Savvy: Amanda Price has practically memorized the novel she is stuck in and so she knows about all the characters and how everything should happen, even managing the correct manner of speech for the period... some of the time. However, this backfires as her insistence that everything should happen exactly as it does in the book simply creates more problems. Though this doesn't stop her from being absolutely shocked that Darcy is kind of a jerk at the beginning of the story.
  • I Choose to Stay: In the end, Amanda decides to stay in Regency England with Darcy, whilst Elizabeth prefers to stay in modern-day London.
  • I Have This Friend: Mr Collins unfortunately interprets Amanda's attempt to introduce Charlotte Lucas to him this way.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Wickham in this version. And Darcy of course, with he and Amanda having a fair amount of Belligerent Sexual Tension.
  • Large Ham: Alex Kingston (Mrs Bennet) is fully capable of subtle, nuanced acting. But Alex Kingston has no intention of doing any such thing in this series when she can chew scenery to her heart's content and still be completely true to the character.
  • Made Out to Be a Jerkass: Played with. Amanda distrusts Wickham, expecting him to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing as per the book. Except in this universe, he's a genuinely good person who took the hit to his reputation to protect Georgiana Darcy's.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Mr Bennet, whose name of all things is Claude.
  • "Near and Dear" Baby Naming: Jokingly invoked by Bingley when he reiterates his feelings for Jane.
    Bingley: We shall have 25 children and name them all Amanda. Even the boys!
  • No Equal-Opportunity Time Travel: Pointed out by Amanda's black roommate. Justified as during the Regency, people of colour was seen socially inferior to their white peers. Also, slavery was still legal in the British Empire.
  • Of Course I'm Not a Virgin: Amanda accidentally lets this slip to Darcy while declaring her love. He is shocked and broken-hearted by this revelation, as social mores dictate that it would be impossible for him to marry a woman who is not a "maid". He gets over it.
  • One Head Taller: The actress playing Amanda is a full foot shorter than the actor playing Darcy.
  • Paranormal Romance: Between a modern day woman and a fictional Regency man.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Darcy has a few moments, as one would expect from a wealthy man in Regency England. First he rescinds his offer of marriage after finding out his prospective wife is not a virgin Then in modern Hammersmith he loudly remarks on the "surfeit of negroes" on the crowded bus. Amanda tries to cover for him by claiming he has Tourette's.
  • Portal Book: There is one in Amanda’s bathroom. Which is how Elizabeth and Amanda swapped places.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: Collins waves a loaded hunting musket around at one point, having already accidentally hit a peacock.
  • Refugee from TV Land: Elizabeth Bennet finds a door to the modern world and accidentally swaps places with Amanda. The audience doesn't get to see her much, but when we finally do see her again it turns out that Elizabeth has adapted remarkably well to her new environment, has a job as a baby-sitter and a new haircut, and thoroughly enjoys all the amenities of modern London.
  • Reset Button: Lady Catherine annuls Jane's marriage to Mr Collins for "non-consummation" so that she can marry Mr Bingley as the novel dictates. Not that she would have any authority over that issue.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: Or rather ridiculous past deflation. Everyone gets entirely the wrong idea when Amanda says she lives on £27,000 per year. In the novel, Darcy has £10,000 a year and he's the wealthiest guy to catch in Jane Austen's 'verse while his sister has a dowry of £30,000, which would give her an income of around £1500 per year.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Mrs Bennet isn't smart enough to get Darcy's and Caroline's subtle snarks to her.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Charlotte Lucas ends up running away to Africa when Amanda unintentionally humiliates her in front of Mr Collins.
  • Shipper on Deck: Amanda, ever the bog fan of Pride and Prejudice, really wants Jane/Bingley romance to happen.
  • Shown Their Work: While some of the things that Amanda does probably wouldn't have gotten a pass in early 19th century England, it's still very clear that the writers did their best to make sure the Austen characters spoke and reacted to situations the way they should even after they go both literally and figuratively "off-book". There are some anachronisms, though — edible chocolate (as opposed to chocolate as a drink) didn't become common until the 1840s.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: George Wickham, in universe. At the beginning, he looks like a nice guy like in the book, but Amanda assumes he is a Jerkass from the getgo because what was later revealed in the narrative. However, he really is nice in this version. Everything he does, from lending her money when she hits rock bottom to protecting Georgiana, is genuinely nice.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Amanda at first assumes that she is trapped in a Regency version of The Truman Show.
    • Amanda makes Mr Darcy reenact the iconic wet-shirt-at-the-lake scene from the 1995 BBC miniseries.
      Amanda: I'm having a bit of a strange post-modern moment here.
    • Amanda quotes Jane Austen's Emma while scolding Bingley for his treatment of Jane and public drunkenness. "Badly done," indeed.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Mr Bingley takes a liking to spunky Amanda. She however is not interested and wants him to get together with Jane. She refuses his offer by lying to him that she's a lesbian.
  • Speculative Fiction LGBT: Amanda and Caroline — how else would you get lesbians in Austen?
  • The Future Is Shocking: Darcy thinks present day Hammersmith is a hellish place, so he can tell Amanda You Are Worth Hell.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The premise. Amanda gets trapped in the book land of her favourite novel.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Steering the punt from the Cambridge end" as a term for lesbian. Which also implies that Bingley went to Oxford.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Amanda claims to have read the book countless times and to have it almost memorized. And yet, she is surprised to find out that Darcy is a stuck-up jerk at the beginning.
  • You Are Not Alone: After Amanda has made everyone think she's a lesbian, Caroline discreetly lets her know that she is one as well, apparently purely for the sake of this trope, and to let her know that she might be interested in pursuing... something.
  • Your Universe or Mine?: In the end, Amanda chooses Darcy's universe and Elizabeth Bennet chooses Amanda's. They can't keep travelling between them.