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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Party like. . .

Five years ago, in a blog post headlined “Party like it’s 1995,” I heralded a forthcoming spate of filmed Jane Austen adaptations – a bumper crop that, I speculated, might recall the happy days of 1995-6, when six good-to-superb Austen adaptations hit screens large and small.

I spoke too soon, since the 2016 bumper crop eventually included one pretty good movie (Whit Stillman’s Love and Friendship, an adaptation of Lady Susan), two excruciatingly lousy movies (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Unleashing Mr. Darcy), and one movie that never got made (the big-screen version of Sanditon). Nineteen-ninety-five it wasn’t.

So consider yourself forewarned as I note that . . . it’s beginning to feel a bit like 1995 again. Because here’s what’s in the Jane Austen pipeline:

* According to Deadline, Gloria Calderón Kellett, the producer who recently rebooted the classic ‘70s sitcom One Day at a Time, now has a deal with Amazon Studios to make Glowing Up, “a half-hour adult animation musical series based on the graphic novel Mismatched, a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma.”

I’ve never read the source material, but Deadline says the new show will center on Evan Horowitz -- shades of Clueless, there! – “an out and proud Latino/Jew amateur matchmaker and wannabe makeup influencer” who “dedicates himself to getting true love to trend at his high school in Queens — through singing, dancing, and contoured cheekbones.”

Needless to say, I’m in.

* Not to be outdone, Netflix has its own Austen update on the way – this time, a Pride and Prejudice movie titled The Netherfield Girls in which the Lizzie Bennet character will be played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, the nineteen-year-old star of Mindy Kaling’s series Never Have I Ever.

The Variety report offers few details on this one, beyond the usual vows that it will be “fresh and contemporary” – just once, could they promise something stale and old-fashioned? -- and no explanation of why a P&P adaptation isn’t called The Longbourn Girls. Perhaps this one is really about the Bingley sisters? Time will tell.

* Meanwhile, the previously announced small-screen Persuasion, starring Dakota Johnson as Our Anne, seems to be clicking along, with yet more cast members announced and filming reportedly underway in the UK.

* A project which is not to be confused with the previously announced big-screen Persuasion, starring Sarah Snook as Our Anne. Not much word on that front lately, but IMDB still claims the film is in pre-production. Still always possible it could turn into another Sanditon fizzle, though.

* Also still "in development," as they say in the biz, is the CW's proposed series of modernized Austen adaptations, currently going by the on-the-nose title of Modern Austen. No word on when we might see the results. * Even less word about the HBO adaptation of Ibi Zoboi's 2018 young-adult novel Pride, which updated P&P to gentrifying Brooklyn. That project doesn't even seem to have progressed far enough to get an IMDB listing.

* Of course, all of this comes on the heels of last year’s mixed bag of Austen adaptations: the love-it-or-hate-it TV Sanditon, the Oscar-nominated big-screen Emma., and the pallid small-screen Modern Persuasion.

So 1995 Redux? Still in play. . .

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Jun 10, 2021

I wish you whatever joy there may be in viewing these, but I'm going to sit them out. I developed adaptation fatigue after the Romola Garai Emma on PBS and took a vow of "no mas," making a single exception for Love and Friendship (and then only because friends invited me along to the cinema and wouldn't take no for an answer).

And to show that I'm an equal-opportunity boycotter, I haven't watched the 2011 film of Jane Eyre or any of the recent Wuthering Heights versions, either.

Deborah Yaffe
Deborah Yaffe
Jun 11, 2021
Replying to

I understand your fatigue -- Modern Persuasion was a slog, I must admit -- but I am eternally, not to say blindly, optimistic that I will discover the next Clueless or the next Ang Lee/Emma Thompson Sense and Sensibility. Hey, it could happen! :-)

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