Last year, around this same time, I wrote a blog post about a new webseries called “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”. This web series quickly became one of my favorite things to watch on YouTube, it made me laugh, cry, scream at my screen, flail and basically feel all of the feelings.
After “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” ended, there was a hole that formed in my heart (dramatic, I know). One that I wanted to filled by something equally as amazing and well written. Then, Hank and Bernie announced their next web series adventure, “Emma Approved”. A modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s, Emma.
The only versions of Emma that I had ever seen at that point were: the 1996 adaptation with Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor and Toni Collett; and Clueless. The 1996 version wasn’t terrible, but it also wasn’t one that stuck in my mind (with the exception of Gwyneth’s bad english accent, THAT I remembered). I had a remembrance of the main characters, but it was nothing like the hold the various Pride and Prejudices had on my heart Clueless, however, I remembered pretty well, but not to the point that I could remember which character on Clueless was supposed to be which character in Emma (except for Emma and Knightley, that was obvious). So I went into the series with an open mind and decent expectations.
It took me a while to get into the series. Unlike LBD, I wasn’t drawn in on the first episode. I actually found Emma a little annoying and conceited. For the first month, I wasn’t sure I was even going to keep watching. So to remind myself of the story, I rewatched that 1996 adaptation, and I remembered that annoying and conceited Emma, is just the beginning. We have to see a change and this is how we do it.
By the Harriet month, I was looking forward to the episodes every Monday and Thursday. Bernie has an amazing ability to cast the right people in the right parts and watch the magic happen.
Joanna Sotomura ` Emma Woodhouse : In a word: Brilliant. Emma has been played by some pretty amazing actors, all who brought their own to the part. Joanna is no different She plays the modern Emma to perfection, balancing the confidence of Emma perfectly with the genuine caring nature that Emma has. Though Emma is confident in her abilities, she’s knows that bumps happen and its the way that you pick up the pieces after things have broken that matters.
Dayenne Hutton —
Dayeanne Hutton ` Harriet Smith: I don’t think there could be a more adorable Harriet. Dayeanne makes the awkward and quirky Harriet believable in the modern age. You just want to reach through the screen and give her a huge hug and an ice cream cone. In addition to all that, she has a great voice.
Brent Bailey ` Alex Knightley – You may have seen this guy on a couple Nokia commercials recently. Finding out that Brent auditioned for Wickham in LBD was a trip. Because if he had gotten the part, I can’t imagine who would have played Knightley. They could not have picked a better Knightley. Not only is he adorable (and sometimes even aDORKable), his expressions are some of the most heart-crushing ones I’ve seen. When he looks disappointed you feel it through the screen and want to do anything you can to make it up to him
Brent and Joanna have a great back and forth, brother-sister chemistry that all adaptations of Emma start out with. She teases him, he mocks her, she tries to make his life better, he rolls his eyes. This chemistry is so strong that it’s a bit difficult to see where it’ll make that climatic switch, and I’m excited to see that episode.
In addition to the main cast, the supporting and recurring cast is just as amazing, From James Elton, and Annie Taylor to the recently introduced Maddy Bates (seriously, I don’t think they could have found a better Maddy Bates than Nikea Gamby-Turner. She. Is. Perfect).
If you enjoy modern adaptations of classic novels, this is definitely one you should try. I recommend you give it about 20 episodes (as of writing this blog post there are only 34).
In addition to all the videos you can follow Emma’s blog, and follow each of them on Twitter. If there is one thing that this production team does right it’s letting it’s fans communicate through all the interactive media available. They even won an award for it.