WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Windmills in the Head

I’m sure they were told it couldn’t – or shouldn’t – be done (hence the tongue-in-check Word of the Week) . . . and look at them now. As a writer, I can totally identify and empathize. I hear contradictory advice all the time (“write what you know,” then “write your dreams and fantastical thoughts;” “don’t edit as you go,” then “don’t let your mistakes get too out of hand as you write,” etc., etc.).

This week, as we X more squares on our calendars of confinement, might I suggest a dive into the world of YouTube Jane Austen web series? None of them are new. It’s likely you’ve seen many, if not all of them. But just in case you haven’t, for your delectation, in no particular order . . .

You’re welcome.

Windmills in the Head

Foolish projects.

Pride and Prejudice

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

“My year long video diary of my sisters, my best friend Charlotte, and eventually a guy named Darcy.”


“Jane Austen’s Emma Woodhouse is reimagined as a young lifestyle coach and matchmaking entrepreneur.”


Sense and Sensibility

Project Dashwood

“Teen vlogger Margaret Dashwood documents a year in the life of her family.”


Elinor and Marianne Take Barton

“Updating the action to a modern-day university, ‘Elinor and Marianne Take Barton’ explores the highs and lows of being young, (relatively) independent and dealing with friends, family and boys. As well as the video diary of Marianne Dashwood, the series follows the other characters through social media and Tumblr blogs.”


Mansfield Park

From Mansfield With Love

“From Mansfield With Love follows the life of Frankie Price as she posts a series of vlog letters detailing the ups and downs of life at Mansfield Park.”


Northanger Abbey


“Join Catherine Morland as she chronicles the perils of young adulthood and her many (mis)adventures through her vlogs on YouTube.”


The Cate Morland Chronicles

“Cate Morland, a recent journalism graduate who is obsessed with fan culture, particularly of the short-lived cult series The Mysteries of Udolpho, finds her new job at an LA entertainment magazine puts her in contact with many different people in the pop culture sphere, but none more exciting than Henry Tilney, the former star of The Mysteries of Udolpho himself…”



Welcome to Sanditon

“Welcome to Sanditon relocates the action from the English seaside to a California beach town, and replaces the novel’s protagonist with LBD’s [Lizzie Bennet Diaries} Gigi Darcy. Gigi has come to Sanditon, CA to run a beta demo of the Pemberley Digital Domino application. The residents of Sanditon have all been invited to join in the test, and discover how this “life-revealing” app performs.”


All-Purpose Jane Austen

The Jane Games

“A web series in which Jane Austen and her characters abandon pride and good sense to compete on a modern day reality show.”


Persuasion did have two web series that I watched, albeit a couple of years ago, that have since disappeared entirely. Just in case my search skills failed me, their titles were The Elliots and Anne Elliot (although this last one petered out after four episodes; I kept hoping the actress would do more because it was a promising series).


Bonus Entry

I am no fan of anything bearing the name Brontë, so it took me by surprise that I really enjoyed the web series based on Jane Eyre. Maybe it was far enough removed from the source material, and true aficionados will not be so approving.

The Autobiography of Jane Eyre


Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

The best Mansfield Park adaptation you’ve not seen

The best Mansfield Park adaptation you’ve not seen

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Janeite in possession of a free afternoon must be in want of an Austen adaptation.

jane austen gives women unrealistic expectations

My least favorite Austen story is Mansfield Park. I’m just lukewarm to Fanny and Edmund. After an entire novel’s worth of watching and wishing by Fanny, and chummy brotherliness by Edmund, their ending seems less happily ever after as just – well – ever after. The argument could be made that two such meh people deserve are perfect for each other, and that love doesn’t always have to be passionate or tempestuous, but….pfft. I’ve always wished instead for Henry and Fanny to be transformed by love for each other. I wanted his liveliness to balance out her solemnity. I wanted her maturity to bring out responsibility in him. Together, he’d no longer be mercurial and she’d throw off the garb of milquetoast.

Sure, the story features Mary Crawford, Maria Betram Rushworth, and Aunt Norris – the original mean girls trifecta – blissfully selfish and possessed of doctorates in passive aggression. But secondary characters can’t carry or redeem an otherwise staid novel. I tolerate like them for the spice they add to the story, but I really only hope they get what they deserve. I have more sympathy and interest in the futures of Rushworth and Tom Bertram than I honestly do in Fanny and Edmund.

When YouTube suggested I might like a little webseries based on my sixth favorite Austen novel, I was in between television addictions (post Outlander, pre-Downton Abbey), and vulnerably bored. By the third “webisode,” I was pleasantly diverted. By the tenth, I was subscribed. I know it’s neither TV nor HBO, but it’s good. Really good.

mansfield with love horizontal

From Mansfield With Love, adapted and performed by the  Foot in the Door Theatre, is faithful to the original, earnest in its depictions, and utterly captivating. It’s the little adaptation that could. Mansfield Park still belongs to the family Bertram, but is here a country hotel. The Crawfords are Town designers who have come to refurbish the old relic, and Fanny – renamed Frankie – is in housekeeping. She vlogs to her Royal Navy brother Will, tangentially documenting the goings-on in everyone’s lives.

Henry Crawford (Peter Jennison), Mary Crawford (Aloña Walsh), Frankie Price (Holly Truslove), and Ed Bertram (Wesley Buckeridge).

The actors and writers of From Mansfield With Love have managed to make me sympathize with and adore Fanny/Frankie. They’ve also made me do what the book could not: completely ship Franny/Frankie and Henry, then loathe the thought of them together after the big betrayal. Ed Bertram, the congenial lifelong friend and new school teacher, could still do with a kick or two in his posterior. This portrayal, however, fully illustrates how Ed was comfortably complacent until something new shook him up, how his eyes were ultimately opened to what he had when the new spoiled, and how he could lose what he never knew he needed most. When the climax arrives and we see the true Mary, we finally see the true Edmund, thank the good Lord.

And the Rushworths – dear Lord, the Rushworths must be experienced!

The series began nine months ago with an engaging introductory episode. This week is episode 83 and Franny/Frankie is “Running on Empty” now that Henry’s done something again, Tom has been in a horrible accident, and Ed and Mary are having a tiff.  Big things are afoot! Might I suggest it’s a terrific time to binge-watch and catch up for what will undoubtedly be a big ol’ slice of satisfying ending?

PS – The troupe actually made a mini-movie of Lovers’ Vows. You really should watch the lead-up episodes for the squabbling, scheming, lusting, and Tom Bertram tantrums, but if you’ve always wanted to see a black-and-white, art nouveau version of the play, here you go:

PPS – Mary vlogs, too. At first they’re innocuous, just like Mary. They grow increasingly more Mary-ish. So delicious.