Thursday, September 5, 2013

Reader Question #17: Jane Austen Spin-offs?

This week's Reader Question comes from Miss Jane Bennet from Classic Ramblings. Jane asks:

I was wondering what your thoughts are on sequels/adaptations of Jane Austen's work. Do you like/dislike them? Are there any particularly good ones?
Jane also commented that this could also include spin-offs of Jane Austen's works.
Lizzie Bennet in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (am I the only one that thinks it
should be spelled Lizzy?)
Now, I'll make a little confession here: I have only seen one spin-off of any Jane Austen work. That spin-off was the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but even that I've only seen parts of. My mom did also buy a copy of Lost in Austen a couple of years ago that I have yet to watch. And as for sequels, I haven't read or seen any. Though I do have some experience with spin-offs, a lot of my answer will be founded on my impressions of spin-offs and sequels and not so much off of personal experience with them.

Nevertheless, I shall answer this question.

I'm not much of a fan of spin-offs or sequels (and especially any modern retellings) of Jane Austen's work for a couple of reasons. For one thing, they are not from the original author, so (to me at least) all they are are speculations of how the story might have gone on. It would have been one thing if Jane Austen made a sequel to Pride and Prejudice since that would have been an official continuation of the story: Jane Austen knew her characters and knew how they would act or respond to certain situations. With sequels not from the original author, there is that chance that I might think, "Oh! Lizzy would have never done that!" or "C'mon! Wickham isn't that kind-hearted!"

Screenshot from Lost in Austen
Now, another reason why I'm not a fan of spin-offs. This part is mainly my personal preference. The way I see it, if I want to watch something based off of a work of literature, I would rather watch an adaptation of that work of literature as the author intended it rather than someone's artsy, modern interpretation of what the author could have meant if he/she was writing today (Okay, that would apply mainly to modern interpretations). But either way, I just prefer the original story and the way the story ends. And with Jane Austen, she ties up everything very nicely that a sequel isn't really needed. I'm happy that Mr. Darcy and Lizzy got married. I'm happy that Marianne got more sense and married Colonel Brandon. I don't need to know anymore: it's already there.

Now, does this mean that I will never, ever read/watch a spin-off or sequel of a Jane Austen work? Not necessarily. After all, I have stated that I have seen some of The Lizzie Bennet diaries and that we own a copy of Lost in Austen. But if I watch a spin-off or a sequel, I would probably be more critical of it than if I was watching a faithful adaptation of a Jane Austen work.

What are your opinions on spin-offs and sequels? Are there any that you would recommend?

Thank you, Miss Jane Bennet, for sending in your question. If you have a question you would like to submit for me to do a post on, leave a comment. Just follow these guidelines. It can be about anything related to this blog: period dramas, blogging, reviews, etc.  

 God Bless,
God Bless, Miss Elizabeth Bennet


  1. Thanks for answering that! I pretty much agree with you- I've read a few JA sequels/adaptations and haven't enjoyed any of them very much. JA was just fine as she was. :)

  2. I agree, the Lizzie Bennet diaries should be spelled Lizzy! But from the tiny little bit I've seen of them, that small detail is the least of the deviations. ;)

    I do NOT recommend Lost in Austen. I watched it, and I regret it, and it was sort of torturous. I'm usually a stickler for the authentic stories, but I thought in this case it might be fun, though a little silly, but it was pretty dreadful.

    I absolutely HATE the idea of sequels. Yes, I wish that Jane Austen had written more novels, but I don't think any of the stories need continuation, and I'm certainly not interested in reading a continuing story written by someone who thinks they can write like Austen! ;)

    1. Aw, sorry you didn't like 'Lost in Austen,' Lizzie. I thought it was pretty cute albeit NOT for a young audience.

  3. Thumbs down to Lost in Austen. Until these modernized sequels can be made in the same style as (for instance) Pride and Prejudice of 1995, it will always be a disappointment to view them.

  4. I do love a good Jane Austen sequel, prequel, modern retelling or, as we might group them; Austenesque literature. For some reason I have a weakness for modernized adaptations of Jane Austen's works. I really loved The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and am looking forward with great interest to Emma Approved, the adaptation by the same team which should start soon.

    Another modernized adaptation (of sorts) that I liked very much was Bride and Prejudice, the Bollywood version of P&P. Somehow the story of P&P fits very well with Indian culture. It's just a really happy, funny movie and I really liked the Darcy character in there.

  5. I agree about Lost in Austen. I have heard that it is not a very suitable adaption of Pride & Prejudice.

    Btw, Miss Elizabeth, I have tagged you in a delightful tag/giveaway!

  6. I've adored nearly all of the Austen re-tellings I've seen - including the "Lizzie Bennet" diaries which were quite cute. :)


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