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The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a YouTube series that offers a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice through personal vlogs and tweets from the characters. Though the series is scheduled to be completed on March 28th, 2013, the creators launched a Kickstarter campaign that month to fund not only a DVD set of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but the creation of two additional series, one of which is also based on Austen’s work.
The series was conceived by Hank Green of Vlogbrothers and Streamy Award-winning video writer Bernie Su, who wanted to tell a story through multiple social media outlets. The first video introducing Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet (shown below) was uploaded to YouTube on April 9th, 2012, and has since accrued more than 976,000 views.
While viewers can solely watch the episodes on YouTube, the story unfolds through a number of social media accounts belonging to the characters on Google Plus, Twitter (shown below, left), Facebook (shown below, right), Tumblr and Pinterest where the characters interact with each other as well as with fans. As of March 2013, the main YouTube channel for the story has 99 videos, 183,000 subscribers, 28.2 million video views and averages approximately 81,000 views per day. The series is set to conclude on March 28th, 2013, when the 100th video will be uploaded.
Outside of the game, a homepage exists with profiles on the cast and crew, as well as pages chronicling all the pieces of the story and an FAQ section. There is also a Tumblr blog, Twitter account and Facebook fan page for the series itself that have gained tens of thousands of fans each.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has been positively reviewed by a number of internet culture and literature blogs including Wired, the Daily Dot, Nerd Machine, The A.V. Club, The Guardian, the School Library Journal, Jane Austen blog Austenprose and The Awl. The series has also earned a score of 9.1 out of 10 on IMDb and was named one of the top 10 most influential YouTube accounts in 2012 by the Daily Dot that December. In February 2012, the series was nominated for seven Streamy Awards, taking home Best Interactive Program and Best Writing: Comedy for Bernie Su.
Fans of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries congregate on Reddit and Tumblr via tags including “the Lizzie Bennet diaries”, lbd and “Lizzie Bennet.” Additionally, Tumblr hosts a number of single topic blogs for fans including Eff Yeah The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Lizzie Bennet Diaries Confessions. There are more than 800 combined fan fiction stories about the series on Fanfiction.net and Archive Of Our Own, as well as nearly 800 additional fan works tagged “Lizzie Bennet” on deviantART.
In December 2012, a fan group known as the LBD Seahorses launched after Tumblr user mamaleh6994 posted a photoshopped image (shown below) featuring actor Daniel Vincent Gordh, who plays William Darcy, on to the head of a seahorse as part of an inside joke among a group of fans. The image led to the creation of Tumblr and Twitter accounts for the group who organize virtual meetups, fandom projects and Q&A sessions with the cast and crew.
On March 22nd, 2013, Pemberley Digital, a real company owned by Hank Green and Bernie Su which takes its name from William Darcy’s production company in the series, launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of raising $60,000 to fund a DVD box set of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. In addition to the DVD, they were looking to allot some of the proceeds towards beginning a second short series entitled Welcome to Sanditon, based on an unfinished Austen novel from 1817.
Within three hours, the campaign met its goal, receiving more than $269,000 in pledges within 48 hours. As of March 25th, the campaign is averaging $69,474 in pledges per day with an average pledge of $66.
The Daily Dot – The top 10 most influential people on YouTube in 2012