If you’re one of the many fans that love literary classics retold and modernized through video series such as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved, there’s a new transmedia adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women that may be your new favorite twice weekly addiction.
The March Family Letters is a modern retelling featuring the four March sisters, all very different but with one major tie to bind them: a love for their family. In the few twitter exchanges made by the characters before the videos debuted, we learned about the first major update to the original story. Instead of the girls’ father being away at war, this story begins with the news that their mother, or Marmee, has been deployed for (at least) her second tour of duty as an officer with the Canadian Forces. The videos will act as letters updating Marmee on news from her little women.
Check out the first episode below.
In this Christmas Day video letter, it’s apparent how different the four sisters are from each other. Straight-laced Meg, bold Jo, reserved Beth, and wild child Amy have a hard time coordinating things at first but eventually get on track to let Marmee know there will be one group video as well as an extra video featuring one of them individually every week.
The reaction that second announcement from Jo garnered from each of the others was possibly the most promising moment of storytelling from this first glimpse into this series. Amy, more than a little self-involved in the book, is thrilled with the idea of starring in her own video. Meg, very focused on the loftier goals of her life, does not seem happy about this at all. Beth, never wanting to be the cause for a fuss or the center of attention, is worried about the prospect. And of course, Jo is front and center with the big plan. It’s also a nice touch to see hints at their relationships, especially to Jo. She is compassionate with Beth, knows just how to appeal to Meg to get the desired effect, and then there’s the sisterly button pushing between Jo and Amy, with Jo using her editing powers for unnecessary bleeping.
The March Family Letters premiered Christmas Day on Pemberley Digital’s YouTube channel. Though it is being distributed through Pemberley Digital, series is created entirely by Cherrydale Productions. The partnership was made to bring the adaptation to Pemberley Digital’s broader audience who are already fans of the transmedia literary adaptation model.
There’s plenty more to explore about the series at The March Family Letters official site, including a prologue, transmedia updates, character info, Twitter and Tumblr information, as well as production vlogs.
The second video will come out on Tuesday December 30 and based on the preview, may be the first of Jo’s individual videos. (Unless her sisters crash the party, of course. Maybe she can get a few pointers on preventing sister-related interruptions from Lizzie Bennet?)