The first week of new web series Emma Approved has just wrapped. What do you think of the newest modernisation of Austen’s heroine?

Brought to you from the teams behind The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (now Emmy approved) and Welcome to Sanditon, Emma Approved is the newest Austen adaptation to hit out screens.

The first two episodes of the series premiered this week, and between them have already reached over 120,000 views.

We saw the introduction not only of protagonist Emma Woodhouse (Joanna Sotomura), but also of Alex Knightley (Brent Bailey), Annie Taylor (Alexis Boozer), and Ryan Weston (Gabriel Voss). Voss is the only member of the cast yet to be featured in person, but we enjoyed the inclusion of the photos all the same.

The characters of Emma and Alex have been positively received by fans – and even those who may not be familiar with Austen’s novel can see where the series is going.


Emma is opinionated, intelligent and arrogant, a wonderful update of Austen’s character. As in the original, Emma can initially be difficult to like, although Sotomura does her best to make even Emma’s most obstinate moments seem, well, charming.

It is a great choice of casting, and fans are even more pleased to see a protagonist played by a multi-racial actor. We hope to see similar diversity of casting as more actors are added to the show.

Bailey’s Alex is the perfect foil to Sotomura’s Emma, and we appreciate that the creative team have chosen to include him so early on in the series. It would have been easy to build up the Knightley reveal in Emma Approved in a similar manner to Darcy Day in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – but it would not have made sense for this story.

Emma and Alex’s friendship is critical to Emma, and we look forward to seeing it develop on screen. The twp actors are fantastic together, so we have no complaints on that front either.

Only a week into the series, it is difficult to make a judgement. The show has a high production value, the writing is clever, and Bailey and Sotomura have great chemistry.

Our only criticism would be that at times, the show seems too highly produced – but admittedly that would fit into Emma’s characterisation. Showrunner Bernie Su has addressed the multiple camera angles, and his answer can be summarised as, “Because she is Emma Woodhouse”.

Aside from the jarring multiple angles, if Emma Approved continues on the path that has been established, we can’t wait for the rest of the series.

Emma Approved is a web series adaptation of Emma by Jane Austen. New episodes of the series premiere on the Pemberley Digital YouTube channel on Mondays and Thursdays at 12pm ET.

What do you think of ‘Emma Approved’?

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