This is hardly going to be a credible review of ITV’s 2007 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, because not only have I never seen an adaptation of it before… I’ve also never read the novel itself. Hmmm.
Northanger Abbey never gets as much attention as the rest of Austen’s other work, perhaps because as a mock Gothic novel it is just so different from the others. Which is probably also why I’ve never bothered reading it. I always assumed it would be a bit of a drag like Mansfield Park just because it was also named after a place, unlike her other novels. That’s Hafsah Logic for you.
After watching this, I was pleasantly surprised: it was really quite entertaining. OK, yeah, even I know without having read it that Austen probably turned over multiple times in her grave over this adaptation: the 2D-ish characters, the sexual overtones, the sexual references to the Gothic novels, especially The Monk, were clearly not Austenian. I think the problem is that Northanger Abbey never sparks enough interest for anyone to want a good adaptation of it – in fact, I think there’s only been one other attempt at adapting it before this?
Personally, I think it makes for good, light entertainment – often period dramas, especially Austenian ones, stretch depressingly on forever (which, by the way, I love when I’m being my usual masochistic self) and sometimes you wish they were just a little bit more fun. Which Northanger Abbey certainly is.