Back in 1813 when author Jane Austen penned the classic romance novel Pride and Prejudice, there was absolutely no way she could have seen what the future held in store for her story about heroine Elizabeth Bennet. How could she have, sans a Magic 8 Ball? With the advent nearly one hundred years later of the motion picture, Hollywood took a particular fascination with this timeless tale of the dangers of classism, bestowing upon Austen’s characters multitudes of adaptations and quirky spins on its solid bedrock of a plot: The ball got rolling with the first adaptation in 1938 before properly hitting its stride in 1940 with a version that featured no less of a distinguished cadre of talent ranging from Sir Laurence Olivier to Greer Garson. Other takes on the story soon followed, including a celebrated turn by director Ang Lee in 1995 (featuring the more than capable services of a young Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant) and a 2005 rendition that top-lined such talent as Keira Knightley, Donald Sutherland and Rosamund Pike. And those intriguing twists and turns different iterations of the story took that I casually mentioned a few lines ago? Brothers and Sisters, you don’t know about twisty; dig these titles to clue in to what I mean: Bride and Prejudice, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (because hey, why not?) and Austenland are but a few of the curios knocking around out there in the cinematic wasteland. Heck, even Oscar winning actress Renee Zellweger got in on the action with a modern look at this great old story in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary. To say that Ms. Austen left behind fertile creative ground for other creative types to ply their collective wares in may just be the understatement of this ever-lovin’ century. And now – WAIT FOR IT! – prepare yourself for an ongoing dating show based off of Pride and Prejudice, according to our Bridgerton (an Austen knockoff if ever there were one) aficionados over at the stately manor known as The Hollywood Reporter.
The PBS of its day – streaming behemoth Peacock – is intent on doing its most apt Masterpiece Theater knockoff in the form of dating show entitled Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance. Feeling at all swoony yet, Dear and Constant Reader? Dig these salient points about the new series: Brandied about as a Regency-like dating show, the concept by the Brain Trust at Peacock is to bring back to the land of the living traditional romantic gestures that will be inspired by Ms. Austen’s perennial novel. Of course, this talented 19th Century wordsmith did not have to contend with such vexing items as cellular telephones (seriously, good luck to the producers in getting any self-respecting Millennial or Generation Z’er to part with that particular lifeline; ain’t happening, more’s the pity) or any of the ironically titled social media devices that have sprung up like so much crab grass at a rundown tenement building.
Here’s the official description, but word of warning: Perhaps you might be better off digging out a copy of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; nothing can beat the real deal…
“A group of eligible hopeful suitors will have to win the heart of our heroine, and her court. Housed in a castle on the countryside, set on a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills, the heroine and suitors will experience that with which dreams are made of. From carriage rides and boat rides on the lake to archery and handwritten letters to communicate, they will be immersed in a time-traveling quest for love. In the end, our heroine and her suitors will discover if the ultimate romantic experience will find them true love…”
If the above is your cup of tea, then be of good cheer: The series is currently casting. Click right here and best of luck, fellow Austen-ites!