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P&P 200: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Series Review

Continuing the 200th anniversary celebration of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice novel, with my thoughts, opinions, and review of


Here's my very long LBD series review below...


(source: LizzieBennet)

Watch up to 86 Episodes of LBD
(thus far...as of Thursday February 7th, 2013)
 
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Synopsis
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a modernized adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice. The story is told primarily through Lizzie Bennet‘s Video Diaries, while being supported by her and other characters social media streams.
I thought The Lizzie Bennet Diaries vlog (video log/diary blog)/YouTube series was a great addition to the many adaptations and interpretations of Jane Austen's 200-years-old, masterpiece classic Pride and Prejudice novel. The idea of making this beloved Austen classic, which has been adapted numerous times and turn it into a modern video blog, an online vlog series format, which I think has never been done before was quite clever, fresh, and interesting. The cast and crew did a great job in adapting this into the modern times considering the medium and their experimental approach (as in they were filming and showing episodes bi-weekly as they go along...and had kept going up to 86 episodes...thus far...since it's debut last April 2010). Great casting on Ashley Clements as the main lead and the title character Lizzie Bennet. The supporting cast (who kept growing as the series progressed and continued on) were great too especially the actresses Laura Spencer (Jane Bennet), Mary Kate Wiles (Lydia Bennet), and Julia Cho (Charlotte Lu), who reminded me of the comedian actress Margaret Cho (I wonder if they're related)...and the rest of the additional cast including Christopher Sean (Bing Lee), Daniel Gordh (William Darcy), Maxwell Glick (Rick Collins) Jessica Jade Andres (Caroline Lee), and Allison Paige (Gigi Darcy) to name some. I loved that casting of this newer, adaptation is diverse and fits very well into today's modern society especially since this version is set in America (though still uses the name of locations from the novel). A lot of storylines had to be changed to fit into the modern context and format such as the marriage proposal in the novel for Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins, which turned into a business proposal for this version. Mr. Collins' first name was changed from William to Rick (I'm guessing to distant himself from a certain William Darcy).

There were a lot of names and characters' altered in this version (that if you haven't read the novel, it was ok, but if you have, you'll be either confused or disappointed) as well. For instance, Mr. Bingley's name has turned into Bing Lee (I thought that was a typo at first, lol...but it turns out that it was intentional and he looks half-Asian, so it made sense in their casting POV), Caroline Bingley became Caroline Lee (since she's Bing's sister), Charlotte Lucas became an Asian Charlotte Lu (a slight change from her original last name), and the Bennet sisters, while it still has the same names, were reduced from 5 to just 3 in this version to fit into the modern society of families having average of 2-3 kids (as pointed out in Episode 2) instead of 5. While I understand that decision and don't mind the change, I was disappointed that LBD omitted Mary and Kitty as part of the Bennet sisters. Instead Mary became a cousin to the Bennet sisters and Kitty, unfortunately, has been reduced to a cat appropriately named "Kitty" for Lydia, lol. Poor Kitty. Other interesting changes were: Rick Collins (William Collins in the novel) has a fiancee (in the novel he has none), who lives somewhere in Manitoba, Canada?, Bing Lee is a med student, Darcy's a rich, hipster, who wears a scarf and bowties, Wickham's a swimmer, Jane's a fashionista (with a LookBook fashion account), Gigi Darcy's a tennis player (instead of an accomplished piano player), and Lizzie and Charlotte are undergrads who are majoring in Communications (which is why Lizzie was doing this video blog in the first place). And oh, the Bennet sisters are redheaded too, while Charlotte, Caroline, and Bing Lee are Asians, Fitz Williams (who was the Colonel Fitzwilliam cousin in the novel and various adaptions became Darcy's closest friend) is an African-American. Not too mention, Lady Catherine (who has yet to appear in the series) is Catherine, who has a dog named Aniekins (instead of her daughter Anne from the novel)...like Kitty, who turned into a cat...poor sickly Anne has been reduced as the dog of her own mother Lady C, lol. And Mrs. Gardiner (Lizzie's aunt in the novel) has been turned into a Professor Gardiner. Once I got acquainted with who's who on LBD, I didn't mind the changed anymore. This is, after all, a modern take adaptation and not like the previous 4 main P&P (1940, 1980, 1995, and 2005) adaptations.

As aforementioned, the casting of this this vlog series was great. The cast seemed friendly and likable off-screen too. I thought LBD's retelling of Austen's timeless and classic Pride and Prejudice story into a modern time setting (though there were a few episodes that I don't think translated well into today's time period, for example, the Episode 32: Turn About The Room, which they didn't really walk and take "turn about the room" [like in the novel and other adaptations]...and it's not interesting to hear without Darcy's appearance there...instead we get to hear another one of Lizzie's Darcy re-enactments...just isn't believable without him there. Also, it would've been interesting if they showed a scene of them doing it outside the pool where they were sunbathing and decided to do a Turn about the pool or something, lol...but then, Bride & Prejudice has already the sunbathing part...) was done very well especially in translating the story and making it fit into our modern times. Great job on the cast and crew for making this series fun and entertaining to watch, enough for me to keep watching twice weekly (on Mondays and Thursdays) since I discovered this vlog series almost a year ago.

Here are my thoughts on random episodes I loved and enjoyed watching as well as things I liked/loved and disliked (though just my constructive criticism, nothing against the cast and crew...who did a fantastic job, and just my personal opinions on certain things I didn't like or rather was not into from this vlog series...can't love everything, right?)...

My Favorite Episodes
  • Episode 1 - My name is Lizzie Bennet - Loved this one-liner: "Jackpot, right? Whaaaaatttt?!!!" (Lydia) and Lizzie was like, "No." Hahaha!
  • Episode 2 - My Sisters: Problematic to Practically Perfect - Some of the comments I've read in YouTube were funny, saying they "killed poor Mary and Kitty," lol.  
  • Episode 10 - Cats and Chinchillas - The ending of this episode was hilarious!
  • Episode 28 - Meeting Bingley - The episode where gorgeous looking Bing Lee was first introduced (I was thinking, wow, if he was this handsome looking man, I wonder what Darcy will look like? Will they be able to top Mr. Lee's gorgeousness? He was way much better looking than I expected, lol) ...
  • Episode 29  - Ethics of Seeing Bingley -  interesting episode...
  • Episode 15 - Lizzie B is in denial - One of the earlier episodes without Lizzie that I really loved and enjoyed watching. Love Jane's Darcy re-enactment here. It was so hilarious especially when Charlotte (as Caroline) said, "Oh, look your little crush is coming this way. Are you fake texting? and Jane (as Darcy) said, "It's super important." LOL!
  • Episode 56 - A New Buddy - We meet Fitz Williams (aka Colonel Fitzwilliam)...and he's black and a cute guy...but someone mentioned that he's gay? hmm...interesting!
  • Episode 58 - Care Packages - Love how Fitz said, "it begins with a 'D' and ends with 'ARCY.'" That part made me laugh...giving Lizzie a hint of him as a "loving dude!" foreshadowing, of Darcy's true character, don't you think? ...
Any episodes with Darcy on it...
  • Episode 59 - Staff Spirit - Ok, Darcy's not much here, but there was a tease of his partial appearance here that was a surprise, which I did not see coming! Though I kept hoping he would show up much earlier in that open door behind Lizzie...surprisingly he did! I was like, OMG! Finally Darcy appeared! It's about damn time! It only took 59 episodes (and his face was not even shown...damn, cliff-hanger...didn't know vlogs do those things, haha!) Also, Rick Collins and Charlotte Lu in a pair of Ketchup and mustard costumes made me LOL! 
  • Episode 60 - Are you Kidding Me! - Yay, finally we get to see Darcy's first intro and full face appearance! He looks adorable and cute! (Though not handsome and Darcysexylicious enough like Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy to tempt me! lol). Definitely worth the long wait! The first proposal scene too...or rather Darcy's confessing to "Lizzie Bennet, I'm in love with you." There was an interesting line or part of this scene that reminds me of the 2005 movie's proposal scene. Of course, Lizzie rejected him. LOL! at Lizzie telling Darcy, "You were unaware? Then, why don't you watch my videos!" in which Darcy replied, confused..."what videos?" And Lizzie's face in horror was funny, lol...
  • Episode 61 - Yeah I Know - Love Charlotte saying "O-M-G!" repeatedly about Darcy's sudden confession of being in love with Lizzie...and he wears a bowtie here! By the way, he looks and reminds me of actor Liev Schreiber, does he not?
  • Episode 80 - Hyper-Mediation in New Media - Lizzie & Darcy's costume theater re-enactments of each other was cute, funny, and awkward...  
  • Episode 83 - Corporate Interview - Loved how Darcy awkwardly said to Lizzie, "Excuse me Lizzie, Gigi told me you wanted me...for an interview." Darcy was hilarious in this episode and does his best "Gigi" and "Fitz" impersonations, lol. Who knew this Darcy had a sense of humor?!
  • Episode 84 - Ugh - Funny how Lizzie started off excited and happy with her "new toy," but ended up unhappy after getting Charlotte's message about her younger sister Lydia...Poor Darcy tried to ask her out! "Ugh," indeed for that Lydia bad news interruption...
or with Gigi Darcy (and William Darcy in the mix)...
  • Episode 77 - Tour Leader - Loved the intro to Gigi Darcy (aka Georgiana Darcy). Didn't know she was Darcy's little sister posing as a tour guide here (what happened to their housekeeper Mrs. Reynolds? lol)...Allison Paige, the actress who plays her, is very pretty! She looks like Darcy's sister too! Great casting!
  • Episode 78 - The Lizzie Trap - the awkward Darcy & Lizzie moments here reminded me so much of the 2005 movie (made me want to re-watched the movie and see that awkward Pemberley scene, lol) especially their talking in unison! Makes me wonder if the writers were giving the 2005 movie a nod. Hmmm...Also, loved how Gigi pushed them together here...like she was a fangirl/viewer (who shipped Darcy & Lizzie = Dizzie?)...reading every viewers and Darcy/Lizzie shippers mind, lol...I like this Gigi Darcy already!
  • Episode 82 - Checks and Balances - Gigi Darcy tells Lizzie more about her in this episode.
Least Favorite Episodes
  • The Netherfield episodes arc (I thought this was slow for my viewing...)
  • Every episode with Rick Collins on it (sorry, I prefer Tom Hollander's brilliantly acted and funny/awkward/wierd Mr. Collins, lol)...
  • Every episode with Caroline Lee on it (well, except her first episode appearance: Episode 30 - Ticking Clock 'cause she surprised me of how very pretty and likable she was here, but Lizzie was annoying here, lol)...
  • Every episode with Wickham (or him with Lydia) on it...just didn't find him interesting in this version (even when he kept trying to show off his shirtless and abs-tastic body, that didn't impressed me much...I was more bothered that he looked like he was wearing "guy-liner"? lol...)
Things I like (and even LOVE a lot later)...
  • The fresh and modern take/interpretation of P&P approach of this vlog series was done brilliantly...kudos to the cast and crew!
  • A cute Bingley and handsome Darcy (is it just me or the men in LBD are criminally attractive? lol...)
  • Ashley Clements as Lizzie Bennet - I do like Ashley and her performance as the main lead, Lizzie Bennet especially in later episodes (not that she wasn't good on the earlier ones, but I loved and enjoyed watching her more in the Rosings and Pemberley episode arcs and she does a great job re-enacting/impersonating Darcy and most especially her Lydia talk...makes me laugh every time, lol. 
  • Daniel Gordh as William Darcy - Though he didn't fully appear in the LBD series until episode 60, I thought he did a pretty good job playing his version of Mr. Darcy. The more I see him in this series, the more I like and enjoy watching his Darcy portrayal. His episodes with Lizzie were obviously my favorite ones (see my favorite episodes list above)...he and Ashley's Lizzie just looked great together and make a really good pairing. I must say, I look forward to seeing more of him in every episode he appears in with her. Having said that, I'd love to see more of his Darcy in upcoming LBD episodes before this series ends!
  • The pairings of Ashley Clements and Daniel Gordh as Lizzie & Darcy and Christopher Sean and Laura Spencer as Bing & Jane...great casting on these pairings! I love and ship their Dizzie and Jing...and will go down with these ships...whether they sink or stay afloat and pair up already, lol.
  • Laura Spencer as Jane Bennet - I thought her Jane Bennet was very likable, friendly, and just an-all-around good girl...love her portrayal of the modern Jane (she still captured the Jane character traits from the novel). I thought she did a great job playing her. I love her Darcy impersonations, lol. 
  • Christopher Sean as Bing Lee - while the change of his character name amused me, I thought he's a very handsome looking modern Bingley (didn't expect to see him as this very good looking Bingley...I almost wanted  him to play Darcy instead, haha!)...very easy on the eyes. Exotic looking, half-Asian hottie, what's not to like, right? I get distracted just staring at his beautiful face, lol... I just love him as Bing Lee. Kudos to whoever cast him on this series. He and Spencer's Jane looked great together too!
  • Julia Cho as Charlotte Lu - I didn't expect to see an Asian modern-looking Charlotte Lucas, but she does a great job on playing her version of Charlotte. I like her her different take of Charlotte Lucas in this series.
  • A very pretty Caroline Lee (it was hard to hate her, but she did became unlikable in later episodes enough to make me want to slap her face, lol)
  • Good looking, red-headed Bennet sisters (Jane, Lizzie, and Lydia)...and they all look like real-life sisters too! Impressive casting!
  • Gigi Darcy - I like her and the actress (she's very pretty and looks like Gordh/Darcy's sister) who played her and her modern take of Georgiana Darcy. Though I expected to see a younger Gigi and as an accomplished classical pianist, but I didn't mind the changes of her a lil' bit older Georgiana Darcy and her as a college student and tennis player in this version.
  • Mary Bennet (as a cousin in which she appeared more in Lydia Bennet's video diary) - while she was portrayed nicely in her brief appearance on Lizzie's video diary, it would've been nice if she played the Bennet's actual sister instead of a cousin, but that was how she ended up in this version.
  • Kitty Bennet (a kitty/cat...and she even has a twitter account with more followers than some of the characters and actors in the cast including the Darcy actor...say what?! I thought turning Kitty into a cat was amusing, funny and brilliant idea, lol...but at the same time, I missed Kitty...she should've been a human being...poor Kitty Bennet...if they could have a Mary, why couldn't they have a Kitty as person too...Mary and Kitty could've been sisters in this version?)
  • LBD in social media (ie. Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Lookbook, etc.) with accounts interacting with fans in real time...very clever, brilliant, and refreshing idea!
  • Collins & Collins website - a nice site showing Rick Collins' fictional company he runs with Charlotte Lu (in which her younger sister Maria Lu interns)
  • Pemberley Digital website - very nice "fake" site showing Darcy's fictional company
  • Pemberley Digital - Darcy's Company's youtube channel with Gigi introducing the company's fictional Domino apps...though poor Gigi had a lil' meltdown in Episode 2.
Things I didn't like...
  • Lizzie's constant whining and complaining about her mother in earlier episodes
  • Lizzie's re-enactment of her mother (and occasionally of her father)...if they could add more actors in the cast...why not add Mr. & Mrs. Bennet?! The episode after Collins proposed to her would've been interesting...but then again, it wasn't a marriage proposal, it was a business proposal...
  • Not showing Darcy until Episode 60 (...or rather his partial Darcyness in episode 59...such a long wait...I almost gave up watching after after the first 10 episodes, but my love for the Darcy character persevered and the hope of seeing William Darcy and what he looks like in this version...kept me watching, lol...)
  • Not showing Darcy made it hard to believe Lizzie's constant hatried/negative opinions of Darcy (59+ episodes and still no Darcy...! I don't know how I managed to wait for his appearance that long, lol...)
  • Too many jump cuts in earlier episodes (but I got used to it and didn't mind it so much in later episodes)
  • there were a few audio sound problems in earlier episodes (for instance, in earlier episodes where Jane was in, I could barely hear her, but I could hear Lizzie, Lydia, and Charlotte just fine...but they were just starting and experimenting...so it's understandable and they managed to fixed that).
  • Most episodes were too short (but loved the longer ones in later episodes especially with Darcy on it)
  • Lizzie Bennet (Not Ashley Clements, of course, but her LBD character...sorry to be lengthy here about LB...) - I thought she was likable in the very first episode...then, on several episodes after the first 2-3 episodes, she became unlikable, unbearable, rude, at times annoying, and too mean to Darcy (behind his back...poor Darcy). She needs to lighten up as she lacks wit and intelligence for an undergraduate (ie. "analytic", "auto correct"), her dislike of Darcy's not believable esp. without him to defend himself (with over 59+ episodes and still no Darcy!), and most of all...she was always or rather seemed angry whenever he was mentioned. (Thank goodness Darcy finally appeared and she slowly, but eventually soften and became likable again...lol. Now, in later episodes...I love Lizzie again!). I must say, Lizzie's character traits from the novel was not present in a lot of the earlier episodes. She seemed more angry and judgmental here than her previous counterparts (be it TV or film adaptations). Yes, she's being portrayed as a modern Lizzie and I get it, but she's also supposed to be still likable, with liveliness, wit, and intelligence (that I don't quite see in this LBD's Lizzie) even if she was being opinionated and prejudiced. Every episode after the first in the earlier episodes before Darcy appeared in this series, she seemed to appear more and more angry, frustrated, and even rude and prejudiced against Darcy. She was missing the aforementioned personality traits (ei. liveliness, wit, and intelligence as well as her charming appeal and "dearly love to laugh" likable side) that EB possessed in the novel. It was like watching a similar named character that Austen wrote, but didn't have the character's traits that fans loved about Elizabeth Bennet. And yes, Lizzie Bennet lives in a modern times and she's being written and acted in modern standard, but I don't see nor identify with this Lizzie (at least in several earlier episodes) as Austen had created. I thought it was very odd to have a main protagonist not living up to its character's personality traits that her EB book counterpart has been described for 200+ years. There's something wrong here when I enjoyed watching the supporting characters more than the main one, lol. Nothing against Ashley Clements, the actress who plays her, though...as I like her...she's a good actress and does a great job playing Lizzie Bennet in various episodes I loved and enjoyed watching her (and when she actually shows her LB's playful and love to laugh side), but I think the writers were mostly to blame here for her character's lack of EB personality traits in earlier episodes. Thankfully, she (the Lizzie Bennet character) started to redeemed herself in latter episodes as she's more fun and enjoyable to watch once Darcy appeared in her later episodes.
  • The series runs in a slow pace (since it started almost a year ago...it kept going and going, but slowly and surely) with short episodes only twice a week. 
  • It's quite slow on progression and plot (sometimes it feels like this series drags on and takes forever to get to the point...the more they show 3-5 minutes videos in a slow pace, the more it takes forever for this series to get to the ending...)
  • Unfortunately, this was in Vlog format and not on TV...would've love to have seen this as a TV series (guess there's a Darcy Town for that on Lifetime soon...but that's another adaptation to talk about...)
  • Caroline Lee was too nice (she did turned out to be the not-so-good/beotch Caroline Bingley in later episodes)
  • Lydia was too likable in this version (and she has her own spin-off vlog series: Lydia Bennet Diaries, but I haven't really watched her episodes except for a few with Mary and Jane, not the Wickham episodes...too many LBD related spin-offs and sites to keep up with...I just stick to the main LBD youtube channel for the most part) and funny too in earlier episodes, but sometimes I think she was portrayed too loud, too hyper, and over-the-top...that I just find her unbearable to watch...
  • They overstayed the Netherfield arc (and no Darcy)...so that arc kinda bore me...
  • Rick Collins - He (not the actor, but his portrayal of the character) reminds me too much of the creepy and annoying 1995 Mr. Collins...
  • George Wickham - my first thought was...was he wearing a "guy liner"? LOL! Just not the Wickham I imagined and pictured him to be...he's more like a feminine looking guy than a manly-man swimmer. He seemed to show off his abs-tastic here, though it's more annoying than impressive (Bingley and Darcy are more my type of guys here..easy on the eyes too)...
  • Lady Catherine (in the novel)'s sickly daughter Ann turned into a dog, Aniekins (say what? Sounds like a nod to Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars, lol...poor Anne...)
Read more of my thoughts on the first 6 LBD episodes here!

Overall, despite my certain dislikes (just things that didn't do for me, in my opinion and viewing), I thought the LBD series (with 86+ episodes I've seen thus far...) as a whole, was great, fun, entertaining, and impressive (considering its a Youtube series) modern and online adaptation to watch and follow bi-weekly. I must admit, this series was quite addictive for the most part (especially the later episodes with William Darcy) or I would not have posted and talked more about this in length here, lol. I've enjoyed watching it twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays (since the episodes were short...including an occasional Q&A's that Lizzie does on Saturdays and a real-time social media accounts such as twitter (or read ), facebook, and tumblr for fans to interact with...though too many for me to follow to and keep track with...I only followed the [fictional] Lizzie Bennet character on twitter and tumblr...in addition to watching and commenting on its YouTube series channel as well as spin-off video diary series of: Lydia Bennet Diaries, Charlotte's little sister Maria Lu, Pemberley Digital with Gigi Darcy's Domino apps...not much of a watcher of the first two...I liked the Pemberley Digital though with Gigi Darcy as it features her brother Darcy and friend Fitz Williams. It would be nice if they'll do another spin-off of LBD...this time, it should be about Mr. Darcy's Diary (with Daniel Gordh's Darcy, of course, in his POV). Anyway, I do recommend you  check this wonderful LBD series out, if you haven't already! It's a great addition to the many P&P adaptations made over the years. If you love P&P (book and adaptations, like I do), you'll love and enjoy watching this too. I know I did (and I'm still watching it until the very end...).

My previous LBD related posts

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