It’s been more than a year since the producers of Sanditon announced that the show, a TV mini-series based on the novel Jane Austen left unfinished at her death, would end after a single season. And despite a passionate online fan base (#SanditonSisterhood), a tentative feeler from Amazon Prime Video, a rumored casting call, and a couple of works of sand art, there’s still no definitive word that anything has changed.
But those aforementioned passionate fans are not just waiting around, like some tragic heroine keeping watch for an absent sailor. No, they’re producing their own version of Season 2.
Parker Brothers Build the Boardwalk, a ten-part Zoom drama that began doling out weekly episodes in January, was written and directed by Carol Lisa O’Brien, a Sanditon fan who, like so many of the #Sisterhood, hated the series’ cliffhanger, unhappy ending. Her version, featuring a mostly non-professional cast costumed in the appropriate bonnets and cravats, runs more than ten hours (with one episode not yet posted) and has averaged one to two thousand viewers per episode.
Parker Brothers is housed on the Facebook page of the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. And in case you were wondering, the wink at the Parker Brothers board game Monopoly is entirely intentional – references to Monopoly squares (Park Place, Community Chest) and game tokens (top hat, thimble) are threaded throughout.
I didn’t much like the original TV Sanditon, which was created and partially scripted by the legendary Austen adapter Andrew Davies, and I must confess that I have watched barely a snippet of O’Brien’s sequel. But if you’re a card-carrying member of the #Sisterhood, this ambitious fanfiction sounds like required viewing.