My fellow Janeites, I have exciting news! The creators of last year's internet phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, are back with a new web series called "Emma Approved," which debuted online yesterday! I've already seen the first episode, and I'm happy to report that it exceeded my expectations for awesomeness! I really can't say enough good things about how clever the writers of these Austen updates are. They have been able to reimagine Jane's characters in the most fun and interesting ways. For instance, our new Emma Woodhouse is an entrepreneur who runs the "Matchmaking & Lifestyle Division" of Highbury Partners' Lifestyle Group. Her motto is "I Make Your Life Better, and I Never Fail."
I should mention that in the first ep we, also, get to met Emma's business partner, Alex Knightley, who's in charge of "Boring Stuff" at Highbury. I was delighted and relieved to see Knightley on the scene so early. Anyone who's watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries knows that Darcy didn't show up until about six months into the series. I can't imagine how torturous the wait must have been for people who were watching the eps in real time (I didn't discover LBD until the series was almost finished, but I was still wondering where the heck Darcy was as I binge-watched the episodes.) I'm already loving the playful relationship between strait-laced Alex and the vivacious Emma, and I can't wait to see where they go with it. I mean, I know where the two of them will end up, but the fun part is in seeing how they get there.
P.S. The actor playing Knightley is Brent Bailey, and he is Tracie Approved. <wink>
One of the best parts of watching these modernizations of Austen classics is guessing how the writers will reenvision the characters. Darcy's cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, became his best friend, Fitz, in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and Fitz was African-American, hilarious, and gay. My very insightful friend, blogger/author Laura Chapman, is already predicting that Emma's soon-to-be-hired assistant, who was referenced in Episode 1 of Emma Approved, will turn out to be Harriet, which is nothing short of brilliant! Harriet was taken under Emma's wing in the book, so it makes perfect sense that Emma would be her boss/mentor in the 21st century. This got me to thinking about what the new versions of other Emma characters will be like. We already know that Emma Approved's Mr. Weston is a 35 year-old CEO, which means that Frank Churchill can't be his son as he was in the book. As they have different last names, I'm thinking that Frank could be Weston's younger step or half-brother. Maybe Weston tries to bring Frank into the fold at his company, Cuddly Cupcakes? What about Mr. Elton? He was looking for the right woman to marry in Emma, so I could see him being a client of Emma, the matchmaker. That still leaves Jane Fairfax and the Bates ladies. Will they be included in Emma Approved? If so, how?
And now I give you the first episode in what is sure to be another very entertaining series from Bernie Su & Co. Watch it, because I said so, and I'm bossy like Emma. I haven't steered you wrong yet, have I? Looks like new eps of Emma Approved will debut on You Tube on Mondays and Thursdays at 9AM P.S.T. If you want the full Emma Approved experience, be sure to check out her blog, where she posts pieces about fashion, romance, and how amazing she is. She's, also, got a Twitter account.