The Lizzie Bennet Diaries Youtube web-series is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that has expanded the world of Austen so effectively that we have fallen head-over-heels with the newly developed characters.

You won’t find any hate against the Pride and Prejudice source material here, we adore Jane Austen’s novel (not to mention Mr Darcy). But what The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has managed to do is improve on those supporting characters who Austen just didn’t have the space to develop in her original novel. We believe this in-universe expansion is only a good thing.

Given the choice between added scenes involving zombie hunting, added sex scenes, and expanded character development – we’ll take the third option. It’s not about “fixing” Austen, it’s about bringing this 200 year old story to a modern audience. These reinventions have been so effective by the team behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries that there are four supporting characters who have been standouts in the web-series in a way that would have been impossible in Austen’s original novel.

Charlotte Lu

While the diverse casting is wonderful, the most interesting thing about Charlotte is not how her surname has changed, but the ways her character has. For the first time, we can actually see that Lizzie and Charlotte’s friendship was based on more than mere proximity. Portrayed by the wonderful Julia Cho, we see Charlotte standing up to Lizzie at various points in the series, making their friendship both more interesting and more believable.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries have also striven to show Charlotte as a character in her own right. She is a successful woman in her new job, which is the modern twist on the Collins proposal. And Charlotte is also forced to take responsibility for the way she convinces Collins to offer her the job, an aspect which is usually left unaddressed. Their reunion is the better for these changes, and their relationship provides a grounding to the show and to Lizzie herself.

Lydia Bennet

The development of Lydia has been the most dramatic (and often controversial) reinvention. Lydia’s actions provide the impetus for the entire final section of the novel, but usually we are only told that Lydia is the bad guy, shaming her family and being a general nuisance. We haven’t see the reasoning behind Lydia’s decisions, the hurt she feels after being left out by her older sisters, or the real attraction she has to Wickham – not until now.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has not diminished Lydia. Instead, through some spectacular acting by Mary Kate Wiles, we see her slowly falling for Wickham and becoming alienated from her family. So can we blame her for her actions? In past adaptations (and the novel) the audience has been just as judgemental of Lydia as Elizabeth is. How refreshing to see an adaptation that makes Lydia’s journey just as important as Lizzie’s.

Caroline Lee

Caroline was an unlikely candidate for development, given her relative unimportance in the grand scheme of Pride and Prejudice. But suddenly in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, we understand the way in which Caroline subtly manipulates everyone around her, as shown wonderfully by Jessica Jade Andres. The decision to make Caroline and Lizzie friends has allowed Caroline to be a more powerful personality, using Lizzie’s own prejudices against her.

Making Caroline aware of the videos (while Bing and Darcy remained in the dark) gave her the trump card. Her faux friendship with Lizzie allowed Caroline to push her own agenda (spoiler: she wants Darcy), by being sneaky, pushy, overbearing and underhand. And she was surprisingly effective. Interestingly, one of the best episodes to date was “C vs. C”, which featured two generally ignored supporting characters – Charlotte and Caroline.

George Wickham

How do you approach a character who an audience is destined to dislike? After all, if fans weren’t aware that he would be the downfall of poor Lydia, it’s unlikely that his portrayal on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries would have been met with such vitriol. We know we aren’t supposed to like him, and we know (or we think we know) how his story will end up, so why bother with the pretence of innocence? He’s the bad guy, after all. Well – not quite.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (and spin-off The Lydia Bennet) have gone to great lengths to demonstrate that there are two sides to each story, even to Wickham and Darcy’s. Wickham may be manipulating Lydia to some extent, but do we know that he does not care about her? The fact that we are even prompted to have these conversations is a testament to the work by the LBD writing team, and some superb acting by Wes Aderhold.

And everyone else

These four may have received the largest rewrites, but we believe that every character has benefited greatly from the close attention of the production team. Every character is treated empathetically, becoming much more than simply the props in Lizzie and Darcy’s drama.

Fitz Williams (Craig Frank) has become an unashamed ‘Dizzie’ shipper. Jane (Laura Spencer) has become a measure of self-awareness for the other characters. Gigi Darcy (Allison Paige) is not just the sidekick to Wickham’s story, but a wonderful character in her own right who is still being developed (now with her own spinoff on the Pemberley Digital channel).

Charlotte’s little sister Maria (Janice Lee) was instrumental in bringing Charlotte and Lizzie back together. Ricky Collins (Maxwell Glick) isn’t ridiculous, he is merely passionate about his work. Mary (Briana Cuoco) becomes a cousin who refuses to be Lydia’s last resort. And finally, while we haven’t yet seen a huge amount of Bing Lee (Christopher Sean), but we have big hopes that the closing arch of the novel will focus on his development as well.

And what about the big two? The developments made in the characterisations of Darcy and Lizzie warrant their own article, but it is safe to say that neither have suffered from the empathy shown to their surrounding cast. In a show that has taken pains to help us understand even the most minor of characters, Lizzie and Darcy both appear in the most accurate representations of Austen’s original characters that we have ever seen.

So thank you Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for reminding us why we love Pride and Prejudice so much. You have breathed new life into a story which didn’t need it, but has benefited greatly from it all the same.

Who is your favourite ‘Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ supporting character?

Quiz: Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

9:02 am EDT, September 29, 2016

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

Read full article

Ever wondered if you’re more of a Cady or a Regina? Today is your lucky day!

To celebrate Mean Girls Day (October 3rd), Episode, the world’s largest mobile network for interactive stories and creators of Mean Girls: Senior Year, has made a quiz to determine which Mean Girls character you are.

Once you’ve found your Mean Girls spirit animal, continue the fun by downloading both seasons of the Mean Girls story on Episode for iOS and Android. Rejoin all of your favorite characters as you navigate everything from new crushes to sorority pledging. You choose how the story plays out.

You go, Glen Coco!

Let’s play! Which ‘Mean Girls’ character are you?

Play Mean Girls in the Episode app today!

Note: This quiz was sponsored by the advertiser.

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, and on a recent episode of Live! with Kelly, the actor shared many interesting details about the new show.

Anyone who’s looking forward to the book to film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s wonderful series will no doubt be thrilled to hear what Harris had to say while updating Kelly Ripa on what he’s been up to.

Perhaps most notably, NPH revealed how A Series of Unfortunate Events is being cut up into episodes. So far, the first four books are two episodes each:

Read full article

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will star Neil Patrick Harris in the role of Count Olaf, and on a recent episode of Live! with Kelly, the actor shared many interesting details about the new show.

Anyone who’s looking forward to the book to film adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s wonderful series will no doubt be thrilled to hear what Harris had to say while updating Kelly Ripa on what he’s been up to.

Perhaps most notably, NPH revealed how A Series of Unfortunate Events is being cut up into episodes. So far, the first four books are two episodes each:

Netflix’s ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ episode count

neil-patrick-harris-series-unfortunate-events-netflix

“They truncated all of the books into a two hour movie,” Harris said of the Unfortunate Events movie starring Jim Carrey, noting that it just wasn’t a great adaptation. “And there’s thirteen books in the series. So [Netflix’s take] is more spread out. Each book is going to be two episodes. We did the first four books, the first eight episodes of the show.”

As for the tone of the show? Great news: “It’s super dark,” he said. “It’s a much darker on the take on the material than has been seen before.”

When Kelly asked Harris if her kids could watch it, the actor dropped some interesting information about Neflix’s plans:

“I hope so!” he replied. “It’s not Rated-R dark. It’s the most expensive show that they’ve ever done. It’s the first one they call a four quadrant show, so they’re try to get four different quadrants to like it. So in addition to being for adults and for 20-somethings and teenagers, they want it to be for kids as well.”

Dark, appealing to all ages, and two episodes per book? We are so down.

Netflix has yet to share a premiere date for A Series of Unfortunate Events, but we’ll keep you posted.

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Read full article

Jessica Jones introduced us to Marvel’s live-action Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who has his own show debuting on Friday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of time.

The mythology of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rich and complicated. Not only do you have to remember what’s happened from episode to episode and season to season, it’s also important to keep in mind what’s happened in other shows and movies.

But that’s why we’re here. Looking forward to Luke Cage premiering on September 30? Us too. Having a little trouble remembering what happened in Jessica Jones and not feeling up to rewatching the show from start to finish? No problem.

Everything you need to know about ‘Luke Cage’

The man

luke cage premiere date

We first met Luke in the series premiere of Jessica Jones and he was in the majority of the episodes for the season. He owned a bar in Hell’s Kitchen and made it a priority to stay away from complications. Too bad Jessica Jones is the definition of complicated. Sweet Christmas.

With chemistry pretty much off the charts, it didn’t take long for Luke and Jessica to start hooking up. Unfortunately, between Kilgrave’s manipulations and Jessica’s lies, the situation came to a head and Luke found out it was Jessica who was responsible for his wife’s death way back when Kilgrave was livin’ large with Jessica at his side.

Luke left after that, but not before he ran into Kilgrave with the intention of killing the man. Instead, Kilgrave used his power of mind control to plant Luke back into Jessica’s life and keep an eye on her until it was time for Kilgrave to use his trump card. He even forced Luke to blow up his own bar.

In a final confrontation, where Kilgrave once again played with Jessica’s emotions, Luke said he didn’t forgive her for killing his wife and, under Kilgrave’s power, attacked her until she was forced to put a shotgun to his head and pull the trigger.

Thanks to Luke’s powers, he survived, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t some damage. Luke was unconscious, and Jessica was forced to bring him to the hospital where Claire used her position as a nurse to sneak him back to Jessica’s apartment and keep an eye on him.

By the end of the series, once Kilgrave was killed and Jessica was arrested, Luke recovered from his injuries and left Jessica’s apartment when Claire wasn’t looking.

The myth

luke cage mike colter

Luke Cage’s powers are not unlike Jessica’s, though where they both share a similar level of strength, Luke has the added benefit of unbreakable skin. The experiments he was subjected to didn’t make him completely impervious to injury, as seen when the shotgun blast rattled his brain so much it did some internal damage. Areas like his eyes are also open to injury, if Claire sticking that needle through the socket is any indication.

Luke is also just, you know, a big guy. Is intimidation a supernatural ability? Because if so, this guy has got it in spades. He’s a good fighter and obviously used to dealing with the seedier side of the city, so even without his powers, he’d be good to have in a fight.

Luke Cage from the comics isn’t much different, though his interactions with other superheroes have given him an additional leg up. For instance, Iron Fist has taught Luke Cage additional fighting techniques, but we haven’t seen that in the MCU since Iron Fist has yet to debut on Netflix and it’s uncertain what their interactions will be like.

Apparently Luke also has a sweet jacket that’s as impervious as his skin. Given all the clothes we see him go through in the trailers for the upcoming season, perhaps we’ll see him gain a useful item like this in the upcoming freshman run.

The legend

luke cage clip

Luke Cage is already making a name for himself by the end of Jessica Jones, and it’s clear that season 1 of his own show is only going to further his story as a legendary hero. If you want to avoid spoilers at all costs, skip this section. If you’d like to get familiar with some of the show’s upcoming new characters, read on.

In Luke Cage season 1, it’s clear that Cornell Stokes/Cottonmouth will be to Luke as Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin was to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil. This is the guy who wears the crown around Harlem (where Luke has recently moved following his interactions with Jessica), and it’s pretty clear Stokes took no time in pissing off Luke.

Mariah Dillard will be an enemy of a different variety, as she’s a powerful local politician who also happens to be Stokes’ cousin. From the trailers it looks like the two are in business together, but the relationship is contentious at best. Alvarez/Shades, an associate of Cottonmouth, is also going to cause some problems for Luke.

On the other side of the line you have Misty Knight, a police detective who has Luke Cage on her radar. She might also be causing some problems for our hero, but she’s definitely one of the good guys. Her partner is Rafael Scarfe.

Claire will also be returning, this time in a starring role, so the hope is we’ll be seeing plenty of the nurse who is heroic in her own way. She might not have supernatural abilities, but she heals who she can, despite their various complications. She’s also there to light a fire up under the asses of heroes who might be losing their way — and she’s very good at her job.

Everyone’s favorite crook, Turk, will also be showing up in Luke Cage, as will Claire’s mother, Soledad. You can also expect Willis Stryker/Diamondback to play a part this season. He’s tied up with Cottonmouth and Shades and definitely has something against Luke. In the comics, they go way back, and Stryker even had a thing for Luke’s wife, Reva.

Here’s the latest trailer for ‘Luke Cage’ season 1

‘Luke Cage’ season 1 will be exclusively available to stream on Netflix come September 30