- Series title: The Misselthwaite Archives
- Created by: Pencil Ink Productions
- Starring: Sophie Giberson
- Elevator pitch: Mary Lennox is sent to live in the forever-raining Oregon after her parents’ death and starts uncovering the secrets that her extended family has had buried for years, surviving the transition on pure snark alone.
- Features: Strong female protagonists, female friendships, gender flipped character, training montage, multiple filming styles, a CAT, excellent modern adaptation, well-written ensemble, closed-captioned
Rather than broadcasting her life publicly on the Internet, Mary Lennox opts to send video diaries to her old therapist Dr. Burnett in order to cope with moving in with an uncle she hasn’t seen in over a decade and being forced to attend public school for her senior year. When Mary isn’t directly speaking to Dr. B, the perspective flips to videos she’s filming with her tutor Phoebe Martha Sower for speech class, the stray cat she names Robin, and the more traditional outsider approach. Since understanding Mary’s character is dependent on seeing how she behaves alone versus around other people, the multiple filming styles create greater depth for the audience. As Mary stumbles upon the secrets of her family’s past, including her reclusive cousin Callie, she learns that burying pain can be the worst and least productive way of healing.
Mary is a delightful balance of gloom, sarcasm, and drama. The writing is fantastic, showing the contrasts between Mary, optimistic Phoebe, absent Uncle Art, strict Medlock, introvertive Declan, and doleful Callie. There’s also a multimedia layer to the story, including letters, emails, and home videos. The connections between characters feel genuine and real, and they actually learn from each other. The production as a whole is gorgeous, and it is no wonder that TMA has been nominated and won awards in the Oregon Actor Awards, the Portland Indie Short Film Awards, and the Literary-Inspired Webseries Awards. The Misselthwaite Archives is truly captivating, and it leaves you with the nostalgia of things you can’t change and hope for the future that you can.