Growing up

I’ve spent a good chunk of the last day thinking about those first four episodes of The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy. I wasn’t aware of the show as it was working its way through the Kickstarter campaign, so I didn’t really have any expectations.

I’m surprised by how much I like it. One thing I’ve enjoyed is the way it explicitly adopts the conventions of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, but extends them in interesting ways. The dual points of view, with the “Tink cam”, is a really cool way of letting the camera move, giving the characters someone to talk to, and doing away with a lot of the logical concerns that felt cumbersome at times in LBD (why is the camera on? and why is this person okay with it?)

Even in the more straightforward vlog-style episodes, the series builds on the conventions of LBD in ways that are subtle, but at least for me really noticeable. When Wendy goes into costume theater as her mother in the first part of her first video, it was impossible not to see that as a Mrs. Bennet reference. But it was:

  • really funny, in a way that LBD sometimes struggled to pull off, and
  • edgy and adult, in its depiction of a drunk parent.

The whole thing about the content being more “adult” has been really noticeable. I’m not sure it would stand out so much for someone who didn’t spend a year living within the vaguely moralistic constraints of LBD, but when a character in this show asks another if those are “magic brownies”, and the other character widens his eyes and says, “not yet!”, followed by a scene of the two of them acting high (albeit with an in-story explanation of it being Tink’s fairy dust, not THC, that has made them that way), it’s both exciting and, within the context of an LBD-inspired webseries, kind of awesome.

I’m with the Mean Fandom in the disappointment I feel about what PD has been doing lately. At least for me, LBD was at its best when it was taking itself, and its story, seriously, holding itself to a high standard of being respectful of its source material while striving to be about something in how that material was updated.

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is doing that, and doing it in a way that feels like a step forward. It feels like a more mature version of a literary-adaptation webseries, one that is actually trying to say something. The choices feel creative and interesting, rather than cartoonish and tired. I want to see what happens next. I care about what happens next.

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Tags: new peter and wendy, npaw.

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