If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember my gushing about Pemberley Digital’s previous web series, “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and “Emma Approved” (which is still running, but I think it will be wrapping up soon). Now they’ve come out with another project, and this time it’s based on a book by a different 19th-century female author. The web series is called “Frankenstein, MD,” based on — you guessed it — the 1818 novel by Mary Shelley. The first three episodes are already available to watch:
The most obvious deviation from the original book is Frankenstein’s gender: in this adaptation, the main character is Victoria Frankenstein, a bright young almost-doctor who is determined to achieve the impossible through science. Even from the first three episodes, it’s obvious that her singleminded pursuit of her goals will cause tension in her friendships, as well as with her university’s ethics committee!
So far, I’m liking the show a lot more than I thought I would (Frankenstein is fine, but it’s no Jane Austen!), for several reasons. First, I think they nailed the character of Victoria. Right off the bat I’m horrified by her, but I also somehow like her! The series as a whole seems more confident, with a better pace than Pemberley’s previous work. I assume part of that is due to their greater experience, while the rest is probably because of their partnership with PBS (which gives them more money to achieve their vision).
Finally, I’m curious to see what elements of the book they’ll change for the adaptation. Surely Victoria won’t actually assemble a monstrous creature from the body parts of dead people and bring it to life…will she? (Frankly, I wouldn’t put it past her!) And will the outcome be the same as the book’s, or will Pemberley Digital actually be able to pull off a happy ending that doesn’t totally disrespect the source material? Part of me is very skeptical…but on the other hand, they actually changed P&P quite a bit too by redeeming Lydia.
So the short version of all this is that I’ll be watching “Frankenstein, MD” with great interest, and if you like the book (or the idea of a web series focused on a female scientist), you should be too!