We receive a ton of tips every day from independent creators, unaffiliated with any major motion picture studios, television networks, new media studios, or other well-funded online video entities. The Indie Spotlight is where we’ll write about and shout out to a select few of them and bring you up to speed on the great (and sometimes not-so-great) attention-grabbing series you probably haven’t heard about until now. Read previous installments here.

Ever since The Lizzie Bennet Diaries became a smash hit, we’ve seen a number of web series that adapt classic literature into a vlog format. One of the latest entries in that categories is The Cate Morland Chronicles, and it adds a twist to the genre by turning one of Jane Austen’s characters into a pop culture geek.

The source material for Cate Morland is Northanger Abbey, which was written by Austen around 1799 and published posthumously in 1817. The protagonist of the book is Cate Morland, who has a specific affinity for Gothic novels; in the web series version (where she is portrayed by Madeline Thatcher), that trait of hers is represented as a general love for genre fiction in all its shapes and sizes.

Cate Morland‘s decision to depict its protagonist as a modern nerd is what sets it apart from other Austen-inspired vlogs. Many of those shows translate the events and plot points of classic works into analogues that are more familiar for current-day viewers, but I’ve never seen a lit character interact with 21st-century culture quite like Morland. In her most recent monologue, she responds to a pair of recent anti-genre fiction editorials with an incendiary rant.

The clever character work in play in Cate Morland should be a lesson to Austen adapters: It is all well and good to provide modern-day versions of 19th century individuals, but if you can truly put those characters in a forward-thinking context, your series will really sing. Or, in Cate‘s case, rant.

OTHER UNDER-THE-RADAR SERIES TO CHECK OUT

  • Camping. A pair of dysfunctional siblings try to improve their relationship with a backwoods trip.
  • Polterguys. After a night of heavy drinking, two buddies summon the spirit of their dead friend.
  • #BasketballDetectives. This series of hoops-related mysteries is one of the first original series distributed on Periscope.

Got a series you’d like to see featured in the Indie Spotlight? Be sure to contact us here. For best coverage, please include a full episode in your e-mail.

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