A Group of Yale Students Have Adapted “Middlemarch” as a Web Series



George Eliot’s Victorian novel “Middlemarch” has been cleverly adapted as a web series by a group of Yale students. The series was created, written, and directed by Rebecca Shoptaw, a film and media studies major who wanted to see more LGBT representation on screen. Shoptaw previously created a series of artistically shot short films with LGBT characters on her YouTube channel, which has 3,500 subscribers to date. Her latest project, Middlemarch: The Series was shot with only a one thousand dollar budget, and a one-person crew. Pretty impressive. The series is described as:

“A gender-bent, vlog-style adaptation of George Eliot’s Victorian novel Middlemarch, the series follows a group of students at Lowick College in the fictional town of Middlemarch, Connecticut, who set out to change the world and then have to figure out how to live in it.

As in shows like Carmilla and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the characters operate the camera. It all begins in the fall of Dot Brooke’s sophomore year, when she decides to make a documentary about her life and the lives of her friends. Over the course of six months, the documentary expands to include an eccentric – and gender-bent – cast of characters, who are all just beginning to figure out who they are and what they want.

These characters include Dot herself, who genuinely wants to make the world a better place, but can’t quite figure out how to. Another constant contributor to Dot’s documentary is Fred Vincy, a self-described gay disaster, who is struggling to get himself into med school and to ignore his lifelong crush on his childhood best friend, Max Garth. Fred’s sister Rosamond, meanwhile, works tirelessly to make her life a little more like the rom-coms she loves to watch.

The series follows this awkward, ordinary cast of characters as they set out to change the world and then have to figure out how to live in it.”

You don’t have to be an avid reader of  Victorian literature to enjoy the series, but it helps to have some background information on the original novel to get a full appreciation of what’s going on. HERE is a helpful link to fill you in on George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which was published in eight installments (the Victorian version of a web series) in 1871-2.

So what would the story be like if the protagonists were gay or the opposite gender? Watch for yourself. So far, there are 36 episodes out of the 70 planned to be produced, so you’ve got a binge-worthy show here. Hey, The New Yorker seems to think it’s pretty cool. And here’s a little teaser. The leading lady, Dot Brooke, (Mia Fowler) is a bisexual character, and she gets a lesbian love interest.

To learn more about the series, check out the Middlemarch: The Series IMDb page, the official Tumblr, the Middlemarch section of the director’s website, and/or the series FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.