Culture

It's Lit!

It’s Lit! is a series of smart, funny video essays from PBS Digital Studios about our favorite books and why we love to read. Hosted by Lindsay Ellis, the series delves into topics like the evolution of YA, how science fiction mirrors our own anxieties, and why the book is sometimes just a _bit_ better than the movie.

The It’s Lit! Musical Episode

13m 56s

Some say that theater is dead, and that’s probably because most playhouses the world over are closed at the moment owing to a worldwide pandemic. And yet the musical lives on… on Disney plus -- as the nation has been rapt with a filmed version of the Broadway smash hit, Hamilton. This had us come to the realization that a lot of the bread and butter of musical theater is built off of books!

Episodes

  • Are Graphic Novels... Novels?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Are Graphic Novels... Novels?

    S2 E11 - 10m 10s

    In the past few decades, literature has expanded to not only mean the “novel” but “graphic novels” as well. Today we are gonna break down how the graphic novel went from the comic book store to the classroom.

  • The (Stephen) King of Horror: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The (Stephen) King of Horror

    S2 E10 - 9m

    Few writers have had the sheer staying power, popularity, and prolific output as Stephen King. From insatiably flesh-hungry clowns and sentient cars to telekinetic teenagers and mystical gunslingers. But it’s not just his monsters that have lasting power—it’s also the very human and very psychological elements in his work that linger.

  • The Fiery History of Banned Books: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Fiery History of Banned Books

    S2 E9 - 14m 2s

    When we talk about book bannings today, we are usually discussing a specific choice made by individual schools, school districts, and libraries made in response to the moralistic outrage of some group. This is still nothing in comparison to the ways books have been removed, censored, and destroyed in the past. Let's explore how the seemingly innocuous book has survived centuries of the ban hammer.

  • The It’s Lit! Musical Episode: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The It’s Lit! Musical Episode

    S2 E8 - 13m 56s

    Some say that theater is dead, and that’s probably because most playhouses the world over are closed at the moment owing to a worldwide pandemic. And yet the musical lives on… on Disney plus -- as the nation has been rapt with a filmed version of the Broadway smash hit, Hamilton. This had us come to the realization that a lot of the bread and butter of musical theater is built off of books!

  • War and Peace and Everything Else: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    War and Peace and Everything Else

    S2 E7 - 12m 31s

    According to Tolstoy himself, War and Peace was "not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle." And in this day and age of publishing, where word count, “readability”, and topical relevance are the lifeline of getting a novel to print, we look at books like War & Peace as something of a relic.

  • The Constructed Languages of JRR Tolkien: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Constructed Languages of JRR Tolkien

    S2 E6 - 14m 17s

    Tolkien is widely regarded as the most influential author on the fantasy genre...period. A less-discussed aspect of Tolkien is the way he used constructed language. Nowadays authors are constantly making up words and languages for the worlds they build, but Tolkien was unique in that he constructed languages first, and then created worlds so his fictional languages would have somewhere to live.

  • The Byronic Hero: Isn’t it Byronic?: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Byronic Hero: Isn’t it Byronic?

    S2 E5 - 14m 48s

    Edward Cullen. Han Solo. Killmonger. Lestat. What do all these characters have in common besides being heartthrobs? They share a common ancestor: the Byronic Hero. Brooding, sensual, violent, intelligent, and single-minded, the Byronic hero has been a staple in literature dating back to the 19th century, but the archetype is all over film, TV and even video games.

  • Why We Still Love Little Women, 150 Years Later: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Why We Still Love Little Women, 150 Years Later

    S2 E4 - 9m 37s

    Before women were asking “Am I a Carrie or a Samantha?”, they were asking “Am I a Jo or an Amy?” Before there was Edward vs Jacob, there was Laurie vs Professor Bhaer. And over the more than 150 years since Little Women was originally published, there have been (deep breath) dozens of adaptations, feature films, television adaptations, plays, ballets, operas and at least two animes based on it.

  • How Fictional Pandemics Reflect the Real Thing: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    How Fictional Pandemics Reflect the Real Thing

    S2 E3 - 12m 2s

    Although we are currently living through a pandemic that has disrupted our lives and will shape the course of humanity, pandemics have been around since the dawn of civilization, as have stories about fictional pandemics. So now seems like as good a time as any to explore how fictional pandemics have evolved over time, and what they say about their own time.

  • Afrofuturism: From Books to Blockbusters: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    Afrofuturism: From Books to Blockbusters

    S2 E2 - 9m 33s

    With the success of Black Panther, the term Afro-Futurism got pushed into the mainstream. But what is Afro-Futurism and what is its place in Black storytelling? In this episode we give you the starter pack on answering that question.

  • The Case for Fan Fiction: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    The Case for Fan Fiction

    S2 E1 - 11m 19s

    For years writers of fan fiction were shamed, the butt of jokes, and even subject to copyright litigation. However, in the past few years, with the fan fiction writers of today becoming the published mainstream authors of today the past time is a celebrated benchmark of one’s climb to publication.

Extras + Features

  • It’s Lit! | Trailer | PBS Digital Studios: asset-mezzanine-16x9

    It’s Lit! | Trailer | PBS Digital Studios

    18s

    It’s Lit! is a series of smart, funny video essays from PBS Digital Studios about our favorite books and why we love to read. Hosted by Lindsay Ellis, the series delves into topics like the evolution of YA, how science fiction mirrors our own anxieties, and why the book is sometimes just a _bit_ better than the movie.

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