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Classic novels ingrained in Western culture have been adapted in many ways over years – plays, musicals, miniseries, films, modern teen novels, even text posts (no, really). In recent years, with the success of Game of Thrones, we’re seeing more and more books and series adapted to television format.

But one of my favorite methods of adaptation is one rarely discussed outside of internet culture: the literary web series.

These modern retellings of public domain works turn classic protagonists into Youtube vloggers, who let their story unfold before an audience. Literary web series have to be particularly inventive in bringing classic stories to modern day, organically integrating racial & gender diversity and modern sensibilities to works made over a hundred years ago.

Breaking down the structure of these series, there are five components to an effective adaptation:


  1. Initial conceit (or, why does this character have a blog?)
  2. Audience acknowledgement & interaction
  3. How are other perspectives integrated?
  4. Inventiveness (with camera stuff, settings, etc.)
  5. Quality of Adaptation (modernization of problematic elements, captured the spirit of the original)
Let’s look at some examples to see how this breaks down.