Books and Literature

7 of the Best Modern Adaptations of Classic Books

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I don’t know about you, but I could never tire of watching the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice or the Gone With The Wind film. They are both fantastic adaptations of classic novels. But there’s something special about seeing an old story that has been reimagined in modern times. These kinds of adaptations take a lot of creativity and talent to be pulled off! Here’s a list of some of the best adaptations of classic books that you should check out.

1. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

book adaptations lizzie bennet diaries youtube

Image from Pemberley Digital

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries is a YouTube web series told from the perspective of Elizabeth Bennet. It is first on this list because it is a hugely successful, Emmy-winning adaptation of a beautiful classic novel. The story of Pride and Prejudice is completely modernized through the world building, which includes multiple YouTube channels, Twitter accounts for each character and websites. The ingenuity of this particular adaptation is amazing. Another thing I love about LBD is the diversity (race, sexuality, and class) that is added to the story.

2. Emma Approved (Emma by Jane Austen)

emma approved adaptations of book on youtube

Image from Emma Approved

The same creative team that brought us The Lizzie Bennet Diaries made this YouTube series. As a result, the format is very similar, but this series introduces new elements to keep things fresh. Emma’s modern life has her working as a lifestyle coach and party planner. She has genuine compassion but is sometimes mislead by her stubbornness. Emma’s journey is made so real by the platform of this series. This one is a must-see.

3. Clueless (Emma by Jane Austen)

clueless adaptations of books into movies

Image from Ticketfly

Another excellent adaptation of Emma, Clueless is sure to become a classic in its right. Most girls are growing up in the 90’s have seen (or at least heard of) this movie. It’s about 16-year-old Cher, a popular socialite who is resolved never to date high school boys. That doesn’t stop her from meddling in other people’s love lives, though. Throughout the movie, Cher learns a lot about herself and how she should treat others. This is a feel-good movie that is perfect to watch on a rainy day.

4. 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare)

10 things I hate about you shakespeare adaptations

Image from IMDB

This movie, starring young Heath Ledger, Julia Styles, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (what a baby!), is all about pursuing one’s romantic interests. It takes place in a high school that is heading into prom season. Needless to say, emotions are running high. I love that this movie has a much more feminist ending than Taming of the Shrew does. In the end, the female lead is not stifled by her new relationship, but rather is completely excited about it. There is no display of her submission to her boyfriend.

5. The Lion King (Hamlet by Shakespeare)

the lion king characters adaptations of play

Image from Disney Wikia

Almost everyone has seen Disney’s The Lion King, but did you know that it is based on of the play Hamlet? Both stories are about a royal family in which the prince’s uncle kills the king, the prince’s father. In the aftermath, the prince must struggle with growing up and avoiding his uncle’s attempts to murder him and secure the throne. Of course, The Lion King includes much less existential fodder and way better music.

6. Frankenstein, MD (Frankenstein by Mary Shelly)

book adaptations frankenstein md

Image from The Video Ink

This is another YouTube web series from the creators of LBD and Emma Approved. It is a modernized version of Frankenstein featuring a female lead! Victoria Frankenstein is a medical student just about to finish her degree and begins this web series to document her scientific endeavors. She has big ideas and an even greater personality. Although she’s ready to take on the world, she might not be ready to take on herself, or her creations. This retelling of Mary Shelly’s novel is incredibly emotional. I love that the main character is gender swapped. Plus, all of the science and technology parts are educational.

7. Sherlock (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

sherlock adaptations

Image from Network Knowledge

If you haven’t already seen BBC’s TV show Sherlock, then you are missing out. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the title character and does an excellent job. The character of Sherlock Holmes is brought to the 21st century with riveting mysteries to solve, a beautiful display of friendship, and eye-catching cinematography. Each season (there are three so far) consists of three hour-and-a-half-long episodes, all of which can be streamed on Netflix. Even though it takes for a new season to be released, the wait is worth it because of the quality of this show.


Next time you want to watch something with a great story that’s set in recent times, check out one of these! You can find the series or a trailer at this playlist on Miss Millennia’s YouTube Channel.




7 of the Best Modern Adaptations of Classic Books

  • Aishwarya

    That’s some interesting stuff! I had no idea about some of these adaptations!

    • Lexi Bollis

      Because some of these are YouTube series, they aren’t nearly as popular as other adaptations that are done. I love them, though, and that’s mainly why I wrote this article! You should definitely check them out. Thanks for reading!

  • CourtneyLynne Storms

    Omg I had no idea about the clueless adaptation! Totally going to check that out

    • Lexi Bollis

      You should, it’s a great movie to watch on a rainy day! Thanks for reading :)

  • Donna Ettinger

    The Lion King is like Hamlet….wow…never even thought about it.

    • Lexi Bollis

      Haha right? There are obvious plot differences, but it’s definitely an adaptation of Hamlet! Thanks for reading!

  • These are all good ones! :D

    • Lexi Bollis

      Thank you! :)

  • Kayleigh

    Did you know that Sons of Anarchy is also loosely based on Hamlet?

    • Lexi Bollis

      No, I had no idea, that’s so cool!

  • dinnerthendessert

    Timeless classics are such great stories that they can work in any era! Nice collection!

    • Lexi Bollis

      Thank you! I agree, if you have a great story it will stand the test of time.