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Web Series Review: ‘The Misselthwaite Archives’

Always on the look out for new web series to get excited about, we’ve stumbled across the very cool The Misselthwaite Archives on YouTube and have immediately fallen in love with its sharp dialogue, snarky characters, and intriguing plot. The coolest thing about it? It’s a web series adaptation of The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved and classic children’s tome.

It’s a fairly modern adaptation of the book which trades in heroine Mary’s spunkiness for spiky teenage rebellion, whether it’s sneaking cigarettes at her aunt’s house, adopting a cat that seems to lead her into more trouble than she ever cared for, or dropping enough f-bombs and curse words to make an HBO character blush, all the while sending video diaries and memos to her former therapist, the only person Mary seemingly cares about.

While this might not seem in line with the beloved children’s book, it’s rooted in a solid, engaging lead performance in newcomer Sophie Gibberson, who makes Mary funny and kind underneath her many layers of sullen snark and apathetic attitude. The supporting cast is just as solid — Jack Wells and Kelsey Tucker in particular shine in their roles of Mary’s tutor, the effervescent Phoebe Sower, and of Mary’s guardian, flawed and protective Sarah Medlock.

It might not ring true for diehard fans of the book — after all, it might be hard to hear their beloved heroine swear like a sailor and act like a brat — but for those uninitiated to the mythos, and for those wishing to fill the Lizzie Bennet Diaries shaped void in their lives with a slightly darker, edgier heroine, The Misselthwaite Archives is an intriguing and funny series that deserves every piece of praise it receives.

Watch The Misselthwaite Archives on YouTube and check out the official website.