Darcy's Town Review: New Pride and Prejudice Gets Jane Austen All Wrong

As the Jennifer Love Hewitt-produced Pride and Prejudice remake comes together behind the scenes, some worry that the show will not stay true to the plot line while establishing a remake worthy of giving a voice to the modern woman.

Not many TV shows venture back into this era or toy with something held so dear to so many women. This is why Darcytown will be a true balancing act; there is a fine line between getting it right and being totally off the mark. However, there are still several ways to steer the show in the right direction.

1) Be relatable to millennial women.

While the show will undoubtedly be aimed at Austen-loving women across generations, there are several ways in which the show can really speak to the modern woman. With themes that still resonate today — morality, acceptance, money, education, relationships — there is opportunity for a relatable and interesting remake. Ensuring that these themes are integral to the show will thus maintain the story's relevance. The writers and creators simply need to also avoid making the story what it is not: a plain Jane love story.

2) Stay true to the book.

The rule of thumb that the book is always better than the movie (or TV show) will likely come to pass. However, it will help if the show can stay true to the book without sacrificing its modern bent. Jane Austen has supplied characters that can exist in any time period, and they are the key to a stellar television depiction. With many episodes (possibly seasons) to work with, the writers have more time to shape these timeless characters while gently steering them in new and modern directions.

3) Highlight a strong female lead.

With the name of the town itself highlighting the male protagonist, I am concerned that Elizabeth may get marginalized. The novel was progressive for the early nineteenth century, showcasing a strong female lead whose vantage point guides the action. The writers of Darcytown must not paint Elizabeth as a weepy, naïve girl who is at the mercy of Mr. Darcy but rather as a strong female lead who thinks for herself and knows what she wants. Losing the nuance of the aforementioned themes would remove Elizabeth's virtues of strength and self-assurance.

With modern literature turning into horse shit, a la 50 Shades of Grey, I think we are entering an era of digging far back into literary history. Remakes are a staple on both the big and small screen, but this one reaches deep into the bookshelves of history. 

And it’s not the only one. New television shows such as Elementary — based on the Sherlock Holmes novels — and a new Sense and Sensibility show are also on the horizon. I would not be surprised to see this trend accelerate into the future. The success of Darcytown in particular will be a telling prelude to this approaching phenomenon.

Even though the name of the show alone has me worried that it will be an unworthy commercialization of a great piece of literature, there is still hope. Darcytown has potential, and I really hope it’ll do my girl Jane proud.   

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Angela Duffy

Angela Duffy is the former program coordinator for OneVoice. She is interested in Middle East and policy issues as well as cultural anthropology, reading, travel, geology, and running. She is excited to hone her writing skills through PolicyMic.

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