I discovered a fun miniseries this week that Jane Austen fans might enjoy: Lost in Austen. It’s a British series from a little more than ten years ago about a modern woman who ends up in the world of Pride and Prejudice. Amanda retreats into her favorite book whenever life gets to be too much for her, but then one day she discovers Lizzie Bennet in her bathroom. It seems that there’s a doorway from the attic in Longbourn that opens as the utility panel hatch in her bathroom. She can’t resist going through to at least get a look at that world — but then she can’t open the door to get back. It seems Lizzie doesn’t want to leave the modern world, so the door won’t open for Amanda. There’s just a note that gets slid under the door, from Lizzie to her father. Amanda passes herself off as a friend of Lizzie’s, saying Lizzie’s staying at her place to work on a book in solitude, and she’s come to stay with Lizzie’s family to help them out in Lizzie’s absence. It turns out that she’s arrived just at the beginning of the Pride and Prejudice story, but her being there in place of Lizzie starts to change things — like when Mr. Bingley comes to call, he’s fascinated by the stranger and doesn’t even notice Jane. Amanda has to try to keep the story playing out the way it’s supposed to so her favorite book won’t be forever ruined.
There’s a fair amount of spoofing going on, gently mocking some of the tropes and how a modern person would really react to these people and these situations. Amanda does have some advantage from knowing things about these characters that they haven’t revealed, but it turns out there are other things about them that don’t show up in the book. We get to see some of the “offstage” scenes from the story that put things in a new perspective. It’s probably a lot more entertaining if you’re really familiar with Pride and Prejudice because, although there’s some explanation about what’s supposed to happen, it’s more fun if you recognize where things are going wrong and know enough to anticipate potential problems.
The funny thing is, the cast is impressive enough that they’d have made for a pretty good serious production of Pride and Prejudice, and they all seem to be having a blast with their roles. There are a lot of familiar faces, like Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey as Mr. Bennet, Alex Kingston from Doctor Who as Mrs. Bennet, and Tom Mison from Sleepy Hollow almost unrecognizable as Mr. Bingley. I have to admit that I’m not super impressed with their Darcy, but he does grow on me.
It’s only four hour-long episodes, so it’s an easy binge. I found it streaming for free with ads on the Tubi Roku channel, but I think you can rent/purchase it from Amazon, as well.