Today I discovered a new webseries adaptation of my favorite Jane Austen novel. If you don’t know me very well, you might assume that I’m talking about a random new version of Pride and Prejudice, just because I’ve seen so many versions. Sorry, I’m actually talking about a funnier novel.
Northanger Abbey is a novel about a girl named Catherine Morland who believes that novels accurately depict reality. She goes from the country to a city, meets friends and flirtatious men, and basically learns what real life is. It sounds like a heartbreaking story about someone getting her dreams crushed, except that Catherine isn’t reading Nicholas Sparks or watching Disney. She’s reading Gothic romances, the trash novels of Austen’s day, which were known for being terrifying and sensationalist for the sake of being terrifying and sensationalist. The innocent maiden is being held by the villain in the haunted fortress, and only the dashing hero can save her.
Northanger Abbey is ultimately a reminder that real life is better than a stereotypical novel, and I love it.
Before I continue, I should say that another webseries adaptation of Northanger Abbey already existed before this week. Northbound already came and went. From what I could tell, it was well-loved in the Literary Webseries fandom. For me, I watched an episode and couldn’t get into it because I had imagined a different kind of adaptation.
Someone in Utah seems to love Northanger Abbey for the same reasons I do, because The Cate Morland Chronicles is like a better executed version of what exists as a “Hey this would be a cool webseries!” paragraph and folder on my Google Drive.
This adaptation speaks to me in the same way that Austenland and Classic Alice did, and I think it’s because Cate is so clearly a fangirl. I hadn’t realized it before, but in the book, Catherine is a rabid fangirl of these adventures that happened in dark castles. Here, Cate reads Harry Potter and writes about her favorite tv shows on her blog. She loves a good story, and she wants to write her own.
Lin-Manuel Miranda explains the “I Want” song in the footnotes of his book that’s dubbed #Hamiltome on Twitter (I honestly don’t know any other name for it). It’s the driving force and the realization that starts the Hero’s Journey in literature or another work of art. This first video is Cate’s I Want video. She wants an adventure, and she’s determined to make it happen.
I’ve only seen the first video, and this is already my dream Northanger Abbey webseries. I can’t wait to see the next episode.