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What Made 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries’ So Successful?

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Feb 18, 2014 | 2:40pm EST

The Lizzie Bennet DiariesThe Lizzie Bennet Diaries/YouTube

The creators of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are putting out a novel companion to the popular YouTube series? Whaaat? (I hope you read that in Lydia Bennet’s voice.) Even though the series concluded almost a year ago, fans of the LBD are still so infatuated with it that creator Bernie Su decided to team up with Katie Rorick and Touchstone to publish The Secret Diary Of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel in July. So what made the LBD so successful that Su and Rorick could release a novel more than a year after the series ended?

One of the biggest draws of the LBD was the modernization of a classic Jane Austen tale: Pride and Prejudice, which many teenagers were forced to endure in high school English classes. But what the LBD truly excelled at was its use of transmedia storytelling. You could watch the biweekly video installments on YouTube, and then follow Lizzie, Lydia, Charlotte Lu, and Bing Lee on Twitter to keep up with the characters outside of the videos. Additionally, fictional companies featured in the LBD like Collins & Collins or Pemberley Digital had real websites that viewers could visit.

The LBD allowed users to interact and immerse themselves in the world of the series on a level that very few big budget films or television series have achieved — let alone other web series. The creators took a story already beloved by millions of people and used the Internet to bring it to life in an entirely new way. It’s no wonder the LBD won an Emmy for Original Interactive Program at the Creative Arts.

The series continues to be successful because they are changing the way people watch and immerse themselves within their favorite works of art — which fans were already doing online with fan art, fan mixes, role-playing communities, etc. Even after a year, no other web series has come close to popularity of the LBD. Plus, in the words of Lydia, the LBD is totes awesome.

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